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Persistence of Immunity for Hepatitis B Virus among Heathcare Workers and Italian Medical Students 20 Years after Vaccination

1
Department of Occupational Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Viale Oxford 81, 00188 Roma, Italy
2
Department of Occupational Diseases, Toulouse University Hospital, Bâtiment Turiaf, Place du Dr Baylac, 31059, Toulouse Cedex 9, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(9), 1515; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16091515
Received: 4 March 2019 / Revised: 24 April 2019 / Accepted: 27 April 2019 / Published: 29 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Infectious Disease Epidemiology)
Background: Immunization of healthcare workers (HCWs) and medical students for the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a crucial part of the hospital infection control programs. The aim of our study was to evaluate the persistence of anti-HBV specific antibodies in HCWs vaccinated during infancy or adolescence. Methods: Medical records of 734 consecutive subjects born after 1980 (481 females, 65.5% and 253 males, 34.5%) who underwent serological testing for anti-hepatitis B surface antibodies (anti-HBs) were evaluated. Results: A non-protective titer (<10 mUI) was found in 88/734 (12.0%) subjects; 84 (47.8%) of them received a booster dose of anti-hepatitis B vaccine and the anti-HBs titer of 58 subjects was measured 1 month after administration. A protective titer (anti-HBs >10 mIU/mL) was observed in almost 90% of subjects receiving the booster dose. Conclusions: A substantial percentage of HCWs had a non-protective anti-HBs titer at the time of the first employment, especially those vaccinated at birth age. However, the response to the booster dose showed that in these subjects, an anti-HBs titer <10 mIU/mL was due to the physiological decline of antibodies over the years. Therefore, primary immunization in childhood is highly effective and provides lasting immunity against HBV infection. View Full-Text
Keywords: HBV; healthcare workers; vaccination; booster; immunological memory HBV; healthcare workers; vaccination; booster; immunological memory
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Coppeta, L.; Pompei, A.; Balbi, O.; De Zordo, L.M.; Mormone, F.; Policardo, S.; Lieto, P.; Pietroiusti, A.; Magrini, A. Persistence of Immunity for Hepatitis B Virus among Heathcare Workers and Italian Medical Students 20 Years after Vaccination. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1515.

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