We took blood samples from 128 prostitutes visiting the outpatient venereology department of the University Hospital, Rotterdam-Dijkzigt to test for the presence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs). The prevalence of anti-HBs was found to be significantly higher in the group of prostitutes than in "normal populations", and we concluded that more of the former had been in contact with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). We recommend that the advice on vaccination of the hepatitis B committee of the Health Council of The Netherlands should be followed by screening prostitutes for the presence of HBsAg and anti-HBs in the blood, and vaccinating those who have no anti-HBs.
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