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Trends in the prevalence of hepatitis B infection among women giving birth in New South Wales

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The known In NSW, HBV vaccination of infants born to women at high risk commenced in 1987, and catch-up vaccination programs for adolescents in 1999. 

The new Among women giving birth, targeted infant and school-based adolescent vaccination programs were associated with an 80% decline in HBV prevalence among Indigenous women by 2012. HBV prevalence in Indigenous women was higher in rural and remote NSW than in major cities, but among non-Indigenous and overseas-born women it was higher in cities. 

The implications HBV prevention programs for Indigenous Australians should focus on regional and remote NSW and those for migrant populations on major cities. Antenatal HBV screening can be used to monitor population HBV prevalence and the impact of vaccination programs. 

Chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause serious liver disease, and contributes worldwide to a significant burden of disease. Most chronic infections are acquired early in life, predominantly by maternal transmission.1 While its prevalence in Australia is generally considered to be low (under 2%), the prevalence of HBV infections in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (hereafter: Indigenous)