Prevalence of hepatitis B virus among immunocompromised individuals attending Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Anambra State
Hepatitis B is an infectious inflammatory illness of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) which is transmitted to a large population through blood transfusion or by exposure to other body fluids. HBV is a member of the family Hepadnaviridae and also a DNA virus. In this study, the prevalence of hepatitis B infection among immunocompromised individuals attending Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria was determined. Blood samples were collected from 100 subjects (50 males and 50 females). 30 of these subjects were undergoing dialysis for kidney failure and 70 were positive for Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The samples were analyzed using in vitro diagnostic strip designed for the qualitative determination of Hepatitis B Surface Antigen (HBsAg) in human serum. Twelve out of the 100 subjects investigated (12 %) were positive for hepatitis B infection while 88(88%) were negative. Out of the 70 HIV positive subjects tested, 9 (12.9%) were positive for HBV and of the 30 undergoing dialysis for kidney failure, 3 (10%) were positive. The distribution of HBV infection among the subjects revealed that the males had a higher rate of infection (16%) than the females (8%). The prevalence of hepatitis B virus was significantly higher among subjects aged 20-29 years (22.9%) compared to those aged 50-59 years (0%), 40-49 years (5.6%) and 30-39 years (9.4%). This high HBV infection rate among the immunocompromised individuals could be related to their low CD4 cell count, which is associated with an impaired response to vaccination among the subjects. The study therefore highlights the need for an intervention through increased awareness, provision of drugs and immunization in the studied area.
Keywords: hepatitis B virus, infection, immunocompromise, prevalence