280 students, between 6 and 14 years old, residents in the Iguape county, southern coast of the State of São Paulo, were studied in order to identify the existence of a possible association between the prevalence of specific antibodies to the hepatitis B virus and the exposure to haematophagous mosquitoes, evaluated indirectly through the prevalence of antibodies to 17 arboviruses isolated in Brazil. The children were from 4 areas with different topographical characteristics: 89 of the children were from the urban zone of the town of Iguape, 89 were from the periurban zone, 30 were from the rural area with extensive banana plantations, and 72 were from the jungle zone. Previous studies had shown significantly higher prevalence of antibodies to different arboviruses in the cultivated zone and the jungle zone, when compared to the urban and periurban zones of Iguape. The detection of antibodies to the HBV surface antigen (HBs Ag) was done through the radioimmunoassay (Ausab, Abbott Laboratory). The cases considered positive were confirmed through the presence of anti-core HBV antibodies (anti-HBc-EIA Roche). A significantly higher prevalence of anti-HBV antibodies was observed in children from the jungle zone (26/72 = 36,1% ) when compared to those from the urban zone (5/89 = 5,6%), peri-urban (6/89 = 6,7%) or from the cultivated zone (0/30 = 0%). The result suggest the existence of a common factor in the dissemination of the arboviruses and the hepatitis B virus, supporting the hypothesis that mosquitoes may play an important role in the HBV transmission in tropical forested region.
Hepatitis B transmission; Hepatitis B seroepidemiology; Arbovirus and Hepatitis B