Hepatitis B Virus Seroprevalence and Potential Perinatal Transmission Among Pregnant Women in Abakaliki, Nigeria.

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Joseph Agboeze
Nwali Matthew Igwe
Chukwuemeka Ikechi Ukaegbe


Hepatitis B , Virus, HBsAg, Pregnancy, Nigeria


Background: Hepatitis B Virus Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection is a global public health problem. It is highly endemic in Nigeria, and it is estimated that about 9-12% of the total population of Nigeria are chronic carriers of hepatitis B surface antigen. Epidemiological data on (HBV)infection among pregnant women in Nigeria are very scarce, especially in rural areas. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and potential perinatal transmission among rural pregnant women in Abakaliki Nigeria.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among pregnant women accessing antenatal care at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki. We consecutively recruited 300 pregnant women attending antenatal consultations. A pretested questionnaire was used to collect socio-demographic data and factors associated with HBV infection. The presence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were determined using commercial test strips. A chi-square test was used for the analysis.

Results: The mean age was 31.8 (SD6.2) years. All women were married and (23.4%) were farmers while (47.0%) had secondary education. Sixteen women (5.3%) were HBsAg-positive, of whom (6.3%) were positive for HBsAg. The prevalence of HIV infection was (0.3%). Overall, (6.3%) women were co-infected with HIV and HBV. Independent correlates of HBV infection included a history of Jaundice (p = 0.046) history of sexually transmitted infections (p=0.005) and concurrent infection by HIV (p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: The prevalence of HBV infection among pregnant women in Abakaliki was intermediate. The relatively high rate of women positive to both HBsAg and HBeAg suggests that perinatal transmission of HBV might be the prevailing mode of HBV transmission in this area.

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