Bulletin of the World Health Organization
versão impressa ISSN 0042-9686
AL-OWAIS, A. et al. Use of existing data for public health planning: a study of the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen and core antibody in Al Ain Medical District, United Arab Emirates. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2000, vol.78, n.11, pp. 1324-1329. ISSN 0042-9686. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0042-96862000001100007.
INTRODUCTION: Hepatitis B is of major public health importance. Accurate information on its occurrence, with particular reference to the prevalence of immunity and chronic infection (marked by the presence of hepatitis B core antibody and surface antigen, respectively, in serum), is essential for planning public health programmes for the control of the disease. The generation of marker prevalence data through serological surveys is costly and time-consuming. The present study in Al Ain Medical District, United Arab Emirates, investigated the possibility of obtaining sufficiently accurate marker prevalence estimates from existing data to plan public health programmes. METHODS: Two antenatal screening databases, one student serological survey database, one immunization programme database and one pre-marriage screening database containing information on marker prevalence were identified. Epidemiological data were abstracted from these databases and analysed. RESULTS: The data showed that the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen and the prevalence of core antibody in young citizens in 1998 were approximately 2% and 14% respectively, that any immunization campaign aimed at citizens of the United Arab Emirates should target teenagers as they had the highest risk of acquiring the disease, and that pre-immunization screening of young adults would be wasteful. However, the data did not yield information on the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen and core antibody in other population subgroups of public health significance. DISCUSSION: While data generated by the study are sufficient to support a hepatitis B immunization programme targeted at teenaged citizens, more accurate data, generated by a well-designed serological survey, would be essential for optimal public health planning.
Palavras-chave : hepatitis B [prevention and control]; databases [factual]; health planning [methods]; hepatitis B surface antigens; hepatitis B core antigens; prevalence; adolescence; United Arab Emirates.