Seroepidemiology of infection with hepatitis B virus in Fiji

Hui Zhuang, Anthony G. Coulepis, Paul Zimmet, Richard Taylor, Parshu Ram, Saimone Banuve, Ian D. Gust

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A batch of 984 sera obtained from a stratified sample of Melanesians and Indians living in rural and urban areas of Fiji in 1981 were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibody to hepatttis B core antigen (antiHBc) by solid phase radioimmunoassay. The prevalence of hepatitis B infection (as measured by the sum of HBsAg and anti-HBc frequencies of HBsAg negative sera in the two groups) was 81.5% and 17.9% respectively. No major differences were detected between urban and rural populations. Whlle hepatttls B virus is endemic in Melanesians and Indians, the epidemiology of the infection shows certain differences. Among Melanesians, infection appears to be acquired early in life and peak prevalence of serologic markers of infection occurs during the second decade. Among the Indian population, the prevalence of markers increases steadily wtth age, presumably as a result of continuous exposure and infection throughout life. The high prevalence of infection and carriers among Melanesians is consistent with previous observations among Pacific populations. The lower prevalence of infectlon among Indians is remarkable, since they constitute almost half of the total population and live under similar conditions. Since the two populations remain largely separate in terms of housing and schooling, and intermarriage is uncommon, it is not possible to determine whether these differences merely represent different degrees of exposure to the virus or are the reflection of differences in susceptibility or response to infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-616
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1982
Externally publishedYes


  • Genetics
  • Genetics; hepatitis B; hepatitis B virus; serology
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Serology

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