The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence of hepatitis B virus protection, infection, and recovery among internationally adopted children and to examine the need for repeat testing 6 months after arrival in the United States.
From November 1999 through October 2006, 1282 international adoptees were screened for hepatitis B virus, and results were examined with regard to age, gender, and birth country. The prevalence of hepatitis B virus protection, infection, and recovery was determined.
The prevalence of hepatitis B virus in internationally adopted children at our large international adoption center was 4%, including 1.1% with acute or chronic infection and 2.9% with resolved infection. Overall, 64% of internationally adopted children had evidence of hepatitis B virus immunization, with protective antibodies. We also report a case that highlights the need for repeat serological testing to detect hepatitis B virus infection or immunization in internationally adopted children who might have been infected or vaccinated just before adoption and thus not have serological evidence in initial testing.
These data reinforce the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations regarding hepatitis B virus screening and infection control measures for international adoptees.