Seroprevalence of Hepatitis B Virus Infection among the Tribal Population of Attapady, Kerala,India DC10-DC14
Kavitha Paul Konikkara,
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Government Medical College,
Thrissur, Kerala, India.
Introduction: Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection remains a significant global health concern that may cause acute or chronic hepatitis. Chronically infected patients are at risk for cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The disease causes a problem in the tribal communities. There are lack of studies on the prevalence of HBV among the tribal population.
Aim: To assess the seroprevalence of HBV infection among the tribal population of Attapady, Kerala.
Materials and Methods: This was a community based cross- sectional study conducted on serum samples collected from 269 subjects among the tribal population of Attapady. Serum samples were tested for quantitative antibody to HBsAg (anti-HBs), Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and Hepatitis B envelope antigen (HBeAg) Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Total hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) and IgM antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti HBc IgM), frequencies were obtained using proportion and 95% Confidence Interval CI.
Results: The seroprevalence of HBsAg was 10.4%. HBeAg was detected in 7.1% of HBsAg positive patients. 21.2% had protective anti-HBs titer. Anti-HBe was detected in five patients. Anti-HBc total and anti-HBc IgM were positive for 26.7% and 2.6%, respectively. Anti-HBc IgM alone and isolated anti-HBc were detected in 1.5% and 5.9 %, respectively. Anti-HBs and anti-HBc total both became positive in 8.6% cases.
Conclusion: HBV infection poses a huge burden on tribal health. All HBsAg positive patients should be tested further to determine the stage of the disease. There is need to explore high HBV prevalence areas with studies on associated risk factors to bring out the ongoing transmission process and focus on preventive measures. HBV vaccination, antenatal screening, and health awareness should be given priority to tackle the burden.