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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


MASVIDAL ALIBERCH, Rosa M. et al. Indication of determination of antibodies against hepatitis C and A viruses in the protocol for the care of young immigrants. Gac Sanit [online]. 2010, vol.24, n.4, pp.288-292. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objectives: To evaluate systematic determination of antibodies against hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis A virus (HAV) within the protocols for the care of young immigrants (PCYI). Methods: We performed a descriptive, cross-sectional, multicenter study. Antibodies against HCV and HAV were determined in children aged from 6 months to 15 years from low-income countries who had immigrated to Spain less than 12 months previously. Age, sex and country of origin were registered. The cost of vaccinating all immigrant children (with the HA vaccine and HA-HB vaccine, public health price and retail price) without screening was compared with that of vaccinating non-immune children only. Results: HCV antibodies were determined in 1055 children and only one was positive [0.09% (95% CI: 0-0.53%)]. HAV antibodies were determined in 992 children and, overall, 38% were positive (95% CI: 35.0-41.1). Distribution by country of origin was as follows: Central and South America (n=352) 34.9%, Maghreb (n=246) 44.7%, and India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (n=162) 58.6%. According to the children's age, country of origin, and the price of the vaccine used, HAV antibody determination in young immigrants before HAV vaccination is efficient. Conclusions: Because of the low prevalence of HCV antibodies in the pediatric immigrant population, systematic determination is not warranted. Evaluating HAV antibodies in each immigrant child could increase the efficiency of PCYI.

Keywords : Hepatitis C; Hepatitis A; Immigrants; Children; Vaccination.

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