Prevalence of hepatitis B in !Kung (San) children from Bushmanland, Namibia

S. Aspinall*, J. J. Joubert, A. C. Evans, S. Joseph, A. D. Steele, G. Lecatsas

*Corresponding author for this work

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Serum samples from 248 predominantly !Kung children (aged 5-19 years) attending various bush schools and a clinic in Bushmanland, northern Namibia were examined for the presence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) markers by radioimmunoassay. HBsAg was detected in 18 (7.3%) children while 117 (47.6%) showed one or more markers of HBV infection. These prevalence rates are lower than those of the closely situated territory of Kavango to the north and East Caprivi to the north-east. No significant difference in HBs antigenaemia between !Kung boys and girls was found (p > 0.05). However, HBs antigenaemia was found to vary between children in different bush schools. A significantly higher number of children attending the Omatako bush school were positive for HBsAg than the number attending the Luhebu bush school (p < 0.0167). These local variations could assist in the initial targeting of HBV vaccine to high-risk areas. In situ investigations of hyperendemic foci in Bushmanland, Namibia should help to elucidate the variation in HBs antigenaemia and the factors responsible for transmission of HBV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-167
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Tropical Paediatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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