The Occurrence of Hepatitis B Antigen and Antibody in some Population Groups in the Southwest Pacific Region

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  • Virus Research Unit, Medical Research Council of New Zealand, Microbiology Department, University of Otago, P.O. Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand
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In a survey of 4,220 human sera from five populations in the Southwest Pacific region, hepatitis B antigen (HB Ag) was detected in 362 (8.6%) and HB antibody in 19 (0.45%). The incidence of HB Ag varied significantly between geographic regions, and it occurred more frequently in males than in females. In the two populations from which the largest samples were obtained the proportion of positive sera increased with age to reach a maximum in the 2nd decade of life, and then declined.