AIMS: To validate the sensitivity of universal antenatal screening for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) by testing pools of 10 sera, and to review 10 years' experience using this method. METHODS: 66,945 antenatal patients were tested between 1986 and 1996 using the pooled method. All sera from 1996 (n = 6050) were retrieved and retrospectively tested individually. An in vitro determination of the effect of pooling on sensitivity was performed by checkerboard neutralisation assay. RESULTS: 26 HBsAg positive women were detected by universal screening over 10 years; 12 had non-European surnames and five had known risk factors for hepatitis B infection. High titre anti-HBs sera in the pool reduced the sensitivity of the HBsAg assay, though the effect was only significant at low levels of HBsAg carriage. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of hepatitis B is extremely low in the antenatal population served by Plymouth PHL. Pooling is unlikely to reduce sensitivity enough to lead to significant preventable vertical transmission, and is a cost-effective and valid strategy in areas of low seroprevalence.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.