Studies on Hepatitis B Surface Antigen and Antibody in Nauru

II. Distribution Amongst Gilbert and Ellice (Tuvalu) Islanders

I. D. GustVirus Laboratory, Fairfield Hospital for Communicable Diseases, Department of Metabolic Medicine and Epidemiology, Southern Memorial Hospital, Nauru Phosphate Commission Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria 3078, Australia

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M. DimitrakakisVirus Laboratory, Fairfield Hospital for Communicable Diseases, Department of Metabolic Medicine and Epidemiology, Southern Memorial Hospital, Nauru Phosphate Commission Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria 3078, Australia

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F. BottVirus Laboratory, Fairfield Hospital for Communicable Diseases, Department of Metabolic Medicine and Epidemiology, Southern Memorial Hospital, Nauru Phosphate Commission Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria 3078, Australia

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P. ZimmetVirus Laboratory, Fairfield Hospital for Communicable Diseases, Department of Metabolic Medicine and Epidemiology, Southern Memorial Hospital, Nauru Phosphate Commission Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria 3078, Australia

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The age-specific prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibody was studied in a random sample of Gilbert and Ellice islanders over the age of 10 years living in Nauru. While approximately 82% of each group showed evidence of past infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) the carriage rate of HBsAg was significantly lower in the Polynesian Ellice islanders (7.5%) than in the Micronesian Gilbertese (26.3%) and indigenous Nauruans (14.7%). These findings suggest that Micronesian and Polynesian populations may differ in the response to infection with HBV.

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