Horizontal hepatitis B virus transmission through non-sexual close contact in Turkish chronic hepatitis B patients living outside of Turkey

O. M. Koc*, G. Robaeys, B. Yildirim, D. Posthouwer, N. Hens, G. H. Koek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Web of Science)


Background & Aims : Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a global threat and with the growing cultural diversity in Western Europe, knowledge on routes of infection in order to decrease HBV spreading is essential. This study assessed the risk of horizontal transmission through non-sexual close contact in the chronic hepatitis B (CHB) population in Maastricht (the Netherlands) and Genk (Belgium), with a main focus on the differences between ethnic groups.

Methods : In this multicenter retrospective study, 166 CHB patients, who were still under follow-up between December 2009 to December 2014, were recruited from the Hepatology Outpatient Departments of two hospitals, one in Maastricht and one in Genk. Ethnicity (defined as country of origin (COO)) and routes of transmission were collected from all patients.

Results: The CHB population in Maastricht and Genk consisted of 98 and 68 patients, respectively. In Maastricht, 31% were of Dutch and 16% of Chinese origin. In Genk, mainly Belgian (15%) and Turkish (50%) patients were included. The percentage of horizontal transmission in the total study cohort was 9%. Moreover, the COO groups Dutch/Belgian (n=40). Turkish (n=38) and Chinese (n=18) differed in the number of cases infected by horizontal transmission (4%, 30% and 6%, p=0.030).

Conclusions: Although the prevalence of horizontal transmission In the total study cohort is low, non-sexual close contact may play a role in the migrant population, particularly the Turkish. This should be an important public health target with respect to the prevention of HBV spreading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-508
Number of pages6
JournalActa gastro-Enterologica belgica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Ethnicity
  • hepatitis B
  • Horizontal transmission
  • Turkish
  • Migrant

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