Seroepidemiology Of Hepatitis B Virus Infection Diagnosed At A Teaching Hospital In Western Nepal: A Prospective Study 3100-3105
Dr. P. Ravi Shankar
KIST Medical College
P.O. Box 14142
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major problem in developing countries and a major cause of jaundice in Nepal. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) is the first serological hallmark of HBV infection. In a study of the Nepalese male population, inhabiting various districts, HBsAg was found to be positive in 4% of the population. The prevalence of HBV infection among patients attending the Manipal Teaching Hospital, a major healthcare provider in the western region of Nepal, has not been studied. Hence, the present study was carried out to determine the prevalence of HBV infection in patients attending the hospital and to assess the associated risk factors.
The study was carried out during the period from 15th March 2004 to 15th September 2005. Serum samples requisitioned for the investigation of HBsAg from the wards and the Out Patient Departments to the Department of Microbiology were included. The demographic and clinical details of the patients who tested positive for HBsAg, was obtained through a semi structured questionnaire, as well as from their medical records. The results were analyzed according to their demographic characteristics.
288 serum samples were included; 215 samples (74.6%) were from males. Inpatients accounted for 195 specimens (67.7%). Thirty-six (12.5%) samples were positive. The seroprevalence of HBsAg was higher among males, individuals from Kaski district where the hospital is located and ex-army and businessmen respondents. A majority of the positive individuals were males from Kaski district, students, ex-army men, agriculturists or housewives belonging to the 21 to 30, 41-50 or the 31-40 year age groups. High risk sexual behaviour was elicited in two individuals, intravenous drug abuse in two and a history of blood transfusion and dental manipulation in one each, while one person had shared razors with an infected person.
The frequency of seropositivity among individuals who were referred for HBsAg testing was high. Various factors could have influenced the results. Further studies are required to assess the seroprevalence among all the patients attending the hospital OPD and admitted in the wards.