Raul Raz, MD, Ronith Koren, PhD and David Bass, MD
Background: Previous data showed that new recombinant hepatitis B virus vaccine, which contains the S-protein component of the HBV surface together with the Pre-S1 and Pre-S2, is considerably more immunogenic than a second-generation recombinant I-IBV vaccine.
Objectives:To compare the immunogenicity and safety of a novel recombinant HBV vaccine S1, Pre-S1 and Pre-S2 protein components of the hepatitis B surface antigen - BioTM
HepTM 10 לg dose, to a licensed vaccine containing only the S-protein component - Engerix-B, 20 לg dose.
Methods: A prospective randomized study included 524 adults - 260 in the Bio-Hep group and 264 in the Engerix-B group. Both vaccines were administered in a three-dose regimen given at 0, 1 and 6 months, and adverse events were recorded on a diary card 5 days after each vaccination. lmmunogenicity was tested by measuring anti-hepatitis B surface antibody.
Results: One month after the third injection, 98% of the BioHepTM subjects were found to be seroprotected vs. 85.1% of the Engerix-B group. In addition, the geometric mean titers were 2,203 mlU/ml and 326 mlU/ml in the Bio-Hep-B and Engerix-B groups respectively. An immunogenic advantage of Bio-Hep-B was suggested by the rapid onset of antibody response - 66.5% were seroconverted one month after the first injection as compared to 19.3% in the Engerix-B group. No unexpected adverse events were observed, and the recorded events were mild in both groups.
Conclusions: BioHepTM, a novel recombinant HBV vaccine containing 5, Pre-S1 and Pre-S2 protein components. at a lower dose, is safe and more immunogenic than the conventional HBV vaccine that contains only S protein.
Yuksel Cavusoglu, MD, Bulent Gorenek, MD, Bilgin Timuralp, MD, Ahmet Unalir, MD, Necmi Ata, MD and Mehmet Melek, MD
Background: Previous studies have documented that reduction in QT dispersion after thrombolytic treatment in acute myocardial infarction depends on reperfusion status as well as infarct site. Primary percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty as compared with thrombolytic therapy has been shown to result in higher patency rates of the infarct vessel.
Objectives: To evaluate whether primary PTCA has a more favorable effect on reducing QT dispersion in patients with acute MI as compared to thrombolytic treatment.
Methods: The study population included 42 consecutive patients (33 men, mean age 58 ± 11 years) with acute Ml (24 anterior wall, 18 inferior wall) who were treated with primary PTCA (group A, n 21) or thrombolytic therapy (group B, n = 21) at 3.9+2 hours after symptom onset. QT intervals were measured before and 24 hours after treatment.
Results: On the admission electrocardiogram, patients with anterior Ml had higher values of QT and QTc dispersions than patients with inferior Ml (52±9 vs. 36±9 msec, R<0.05 and 61+4 vs. 56+4 msec, P=0.002, respectively). There was a significant reduction in QT and QTc dispersions from admission to 24 hours in all patients (from 50+9 to 37+9 msec, P<0.001 and from 59+5 to 42+5 msec, P<0.001. respectively), and also in group A (from 49±8 to 32±5 msec. P<0.001 and from 58+5 to 38+3 msec, P<0.001, respectively) and in group B patients (from 51+10 to 42+10 msec. P<0.01 and from 60±4 to 46±5 msec, P<0.001, respectively). QT and QTc dispersions were found to be shorter in group A at 24 hours after treatment than in group B (32 + 5 vs. 42+10 msec, P<0.001 and 38+3 vs. 46+5 msec, P<0.001. respectively).
Conclusions: Reperfusion therapy with primary PTCA or thrombolytic agents reduces QT and QTc dispersions in acute Ml. QT and QTc dispersions after reperfusion treatment are shorter with primary PTCA than with thrombolytic therapy.
Gabriel E. Feldman, MD, MPH
Background: Hepatitis B is a major problem worldwide. Israel has intermediate endemicity for hepatitis B virus, and an annual carrier rate of 1-3%.
Objective: To evaluate both the prevalence of HBV infection among family members of HBV carriers and the competence of family practitioners in performing a comprehensive assessment.
Methods: A total of 152 HB surface antigen-positive blood donors were discovered in our subdistrict during the years 1993-97. Their family physicians were questioned regarding the patients' family members. Specific information on 85 spouses and 200 children was also obtained.
Results: Among the 85 married carriers, 5 of the spouses (5.9%) were found to be HBsAg positive. None of the 200 children was HB5Ag positive. We found that in a third (n=52) of the patients, the sexual partner had never been tested by a primary care physician. Patients were not routinely tested for HB e antigen or anti-HBe antibodies. Neither the parents nor the siblings had undergone any serological evaluation. However, most family members of the carriers had received an HBV vaccine from their family physicians.
Conclusions: Our findings show that horizontal transmission of HBV among spouses of HBV carriers still exists. We did not find any vertical transmission, probably due to male predominance and previous vaccination. Family physicians should be trained to perform an extensive serological evaluation of family members of patients with chronic HBV infection, including parents and siblings, and should vaccinate seronegative family members.
Gabriel E. Feldman, MD, MPH
Background: Recent genetic susceptibility findings in Jews of Eastern European descent, commonly called Ashkenazi Jews, have led to concerns that they may be stigmatized as being more cancer prone than other groups.
Objective: To examine the hypothesis that site-specific or all-cancer incidence and mortality rates are higher than expected in Ashkenazi Jews worldwide when compared with referent populations.
Methods: A MEDLINE search was performed using keywords "Jews", "cancer", "incidence" and "mortality" to identify studies directly relevant to the primary study question.
Results: Little evidence suggested that all-cancer incidence or mortality is higher in Ashkenazi Jews than in North American non-Hispanic whites. Ashkenazi Jewish men appear to have relatively low cancer rates, which may be due to lower tobacco use. Colorectal cancer was shown to disproportionately overburden Ashkenazi Jews, who may also be at increased risk for ovarian, pancreatic and stomach cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Little evidence was found supporting an elevated risk of breast cancer in Ashkenazi Jewish women. Rates of lung, cervical, penile and prostate cancers appear low in this population. Rate disparities were generally attributed to lifestyle differences, particularly diet and tobacco use, rather than to genetic predisposition.
Conclusions: Ashkenazi Jews do not appear to have a higher total cancer burden than comparable North American populations. Any cancer rate differentials in this group are more likely to be related to lifestyle and dietary factors than to genetics. However, colorectal cancer rates in Ashkenazi Jews may be the highest of any ethnic group in the world and cancer controllers should consider this when developing future screening, diagnostic and policy strategies.
Manfred S. Green, MD, PhD, Gali Aharonowitz, MD, Tamy Shohat, MD, MPH, Rachel Levine, MD, Emilia Anis, MD, MPH and Paul E. Slater, MD, MPH
Background: Between 1970 and 1979, there was an increase in the incidence of viral hepatitis in Israel with a shift of peak incidence to an older age in the Jewish population, followed by a declining trend during the early 1980s. In July 1999 universal immunization of infants against hepatitis A was introduced.
Objective: To evaluate the chan-ges in the epidemiology of viral hepatitis A in Israel during the past decade.
Methods: Viral hepatitis is a notifiable disease in Israel and cases are reported to the regional health offices, which in turn provide summary reports to the Ministry of Health's Department of Epidemiology. The data in this study were derived from the summary reports and from results of seroprevalence studies.
Results: Following the increase in the incidence of reported viral hepatitis (mainly due to type A) between 1970 and 1979, the rates then stabilized and around 1984 began to decline until 1992. Since then there has been a slight increase. Whereas until 1987 the rates were consistently higher in the Jewish population. since then they are higher in the Arab population. The shift in the peak age-specific incidence from the 1-4 to the 5-9 year age group observed in the Jewish population around 1970 occurred 20 years later in the Arab population. The previously described seasonality is no longer evident. Recent seroprevalence studies indicate that by age 18 years only about 30-40% of the Jewish population have anti-hepatitis A antibodies.
Conclusions: The decline in the incidence of hepatitis probably reflects the changing socioeconomic condition occurring at different times in the two major population groups. Since hepatitis A accounts for almost all the acute viral hepatitis in Israel, the universal vaccination of infants introduced in 1999 should substantially lower the morbidity within the next few years.
Ayelet Berg, PhD, Dan Yuval, PhD, Michal Ivancovsky, MBA, Sima Zalcberg, MSc, Avigail Dubani and Jochanan Benbassat, MD
Background: Patients who feel involved in their treatment have better outcomes than those who do not.
Objective: To identify determinants of perceived patient involvement in obstetric care.
Methods: A retrospective study was undertaken in 1,452 (83%) of 1,750 women sampled in November 1995 from maternity wards of 14 general hospitals in Israel. A postal and telephone survey using a self-administered questionnaire included the following variables: hospital (identity number), patients' age, self-reported complications, previous deliveries, education, ethnicity, and number of obstetric interventions performed and/or considered. The main outcome measured was the reported involvement in decisions for obstetric interventions.
Results: Reported full involvement varied from 72% for epidural analgesia to 13% for forceps/vacuum extraction. Factor analysis identified two dimensions of perceived involvement: one for routine” interventions (enema, monitoring, IV line and episiotomy), which are performed in Israel mostly by midwives, and another for "special" interventions (forceps/vacuum extraction, epidural or other analgesia, and cesarian section) performed by physicians. Logistic regression identified hospitals, younger age, number of interventions, and Arab ethnicity as correlates of a perceived non-involvement in decisions for "special" interventions.
Conclusions: Clinical setting, age and ethnicity affected patient perception of involvement in decisions for obstetric interventions.