Hepatitis B seroprevalence in Latin America.
Silveira TR., da Fonseca JC., Rivera L., Fay OH., Tapia R., Santos JI., Urdeneta E., Clemens SA.
The seroprevalence of hepatitis B was investigated in over 12,000 subjects in six countries of Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Venezuela. Each study population was stratified according to age, gender, and socioeconomic status. Antibodies against hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) were measured in order to determine hepatitis B infection. The highest overall seroprevalence was found in the Dominican Republic (21.4%), followed by Brazil (7.9%), Venezuela (3.2%), Argentina (2.1%), Mexico (1.4%), and Chile (0.6%). In all the countries an increase in seroprevalence was found among persons 16 years old and older, suggesting sexual transmission as the major route of infection. In addition, comparatively high seroprevalence levels were seen at an early age in the Dominican Republic and Brazil, implicating a vertical route of transmission.