Oti BV, Pennap GR, Ngari HR
Background: Hepatitis B and C viral infections during pregnancy are associated with high risk of maternal complications and mortality. There is high prevalence of vertical transmission causing fetal and neonatal hepatitis which can have serious effects on the neonate, leading to impaired physical and mental health later in life. This study was aimed at evaluating HBsAg and Anti-HCV prevalence of these viruses among pregnant women accessing antenatal care in Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Nigeria.
Materials and methods: This prospective cross sectional study took place between May-July 2016. A total of 200 blood samples were collected from pregnant women after informed consent and self-administered questionnaires were completed. Blood samples were analyzed using HBsAg and anti-HCV immunochromatographic screening kits (Fastep Polymed Therapeutics Inc, USA). Chi square test (Smith’s Statistical Package Version 2.80, California, USA) was used for assessing the association of risk factors with the infections.
Results: The overall level of positivity for both viruses in the study population was 14.0%. The prevalence of HBsAg was 8.0% while Anti-HCV was 6.0% and no woman was coinfected with the 2 viruses. The infection rate was highest among those aged 21-30 years old and 31-40 years old for HBV and HCV respectively (p>0.05). There was a statistically significant association between the viral infections and history of blood transfusion (p<0.05). Surgical/ dental procedure was also a predictor for HCV infection (p<0.05) and was not a predictor for HBV infection (p>0.05) in this study. However, educational status, stage of pregnancy, type of marriage, parity and scarification marks did not show any statistically significant association with HBV and HCV infections (p>0.05), although there were arithmetic differences among the studied risk factors (p>0.05).
Conclusion: The study confirms a high prevalence of HBsAg and Anti-HCV among pregnant women in Central Nigeria which is a serious public health problem that cannot be downplayed. Therefore, there is need for establishment of public health measures in order to reduce disease burden and vertical transmission, including routine screening of all pregnant women for these viruses.
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