Korean J Fam Pract. 2017; 7(3): 442-445  https://doi.org/10.21215/kjfp.2017.7.3.442
Rates of Hepatitis B Surface Antibody Formation in Young Medical Volunteers Travelling to Foreign Countries and the Need to Vaccinate
Byungkeun Choi, Doheun Chung, Yunah Song, Subin Jung, Byung-Wook Yoo*, Yong Jin Cho, Jung-Eun Oh, Choo-Yon Cho, Sung-Ho Hong, Kyung-Suk Shin
Department of Family Medicine, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Byung-Wook Yoo
Tel: +82-2-709-9158, Fax: +82-2-709-9133
E-mail: byungwookyoo@hanmail.net
Received: August 9, 2016; Revised: October 6, 2016; Accepted: October 11, 2016; Published online: June 20, 2017.
© Korean Academy of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract
Background: Hepatitis B vaccination was first introduced in Korea in 1983, and was included in the routine infant immunization schedule in 1991. To date, no data are available on the extent of hepatitis B antibody formation after vaccination. Since medical volunteers are required to receive vaccination before traveling abroad for medical service, our study evaluated the effectiveness of hepatitis B vaccination in medical service volunteers travelling to foreign countries.
Methods: We surveyed 665 volunteers who underwent a general health check-up at the Department of Family Medicine before traveling abroad. We divided volunteers into three groups based on their year of birth (group 1, 1983–1988; group 2, 1989–1991; and group 3, 1992–present). Levels of antibodies to hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAB, anti-HBs) were tested by performing chemiluminescent immunoassays.
Results: A total of 655 healthy individuals (188 males and 477 females) were screened. The percentage of participants who tested positive for anti-HBs as 28.6% in group 1, 44.5% in group 2, and 58.1% in group 3. The overall trend showed an inverse association between age and anti-HBs formation.
Conclusion: In participants born after the inclusion of hepatitis B vaccination in the routine infant immunization schedule as part of national policy, the rate of anti-HBs formation increased to 58.1%, compared to 28.6% and 44.5% in participants born before 1990 and 1987, respectively. Therefore, a screening to confirm successful formation of hepatitis B antibodies should be performed for medical volunteers travelling to foreign countries. Volunteers with no antibodies against hepatitis B should consider receiving the vaccination.
Keywords: Hepatitis B Antibody; Vaccination of Hepatitis B; Booster of Hepatitis B; Antibody Formation of Hepatitis B
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