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Approximately 8% of the population in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. To decrease the burden of chronic HBV infection, a national 3-dose infant hepatitis B vaccination program was implemented starting in 1989, with a birth dose (BD) added to the schedule in 1992. To assess the impact of the hepatitis B vaccination program, we conducted a serosurvey among children born after vaccine introduction. During 2012–2013, a cross-sectional stratified four-stage cluster survey was conducted to estimate hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) prevalence among children 4–6 years of age. We collected demographic data, vaccination history, and tested children for HBsAg. Of 2,133 participants, 2,130 children had vaccination data by either card or recall: 28% received a BD; 81% received ≥ 3 vaccine doses. Of 2,109 children providing a blood sample, 60 (2.3%) tested positive for HBsAg. This is the largest, most geographically diverse survey of hepatitis B vaccination and HBsAg seroprevalence done in PNG. Progress has been made in PNG toward the Western Pacific Regional goal to reduce the prevalence of chronic HBV infection to < 1% by 2017 among 5-year-old children. Vaccination efforts should be strengthened, including increasing BD coverage and completing the 3-dose series.
Financial support: Funding for this survey was provided by the WHO and the PNG National Department of Health.
Authors' addresses: Russel Kitau, Public Health Division, School of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Papua New Guinea, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Minal K. Patel and Kathleen Wannemuehler, Global Immunization Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mails: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Siddhartha Sankar Datta, WHO Representative Office in Lao People's Democratic Republic, Ban Saphanthongtai, Sisattanak District, Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic, E-mails: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Karen Hennessey, Expanded Programme on Immunization, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, E-mail: email@example.com. Gerard Sui and William Lagani, Expanded Programme on Immunization, National Department of Health, Boroko, Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.