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Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 66(2), 2002, pp. 140–142


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We investigated the prevalence of infection with hepatitis B virus among adult Vietnamese patients hospitalized for severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Sera from patients admitted with severe malaria in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, between May 1991 and January 1996 were assayed for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) by a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. The overall prevalence of HBsAg was 23.77% (77 of 324). This was higher than reported estimates of prevalence in the general catchment population for the study hospital (mean, 9.8%; range, 9–16%). No association was found between risk of death caused by severe malaria and HBsAg. Patients admitted with cerebral malaria had a slightly greater risk of registering positive for HBsAg (relative risk, 1.28; 95% confidence interval, 1.04–1.58) relative to other manifestations of severe malaria. Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus may be a risk factor for severe malaria.