The burden of Hepatitis B and C virus infections in patients with sickle cell anaemia in Jos – Nigeria
Background: Sickle cell anaemia (SCA) is an important public health problem in Nigeria associated with frequent blood transfusion. Patients with this disease are at increased risk of contracting hepatitis B and C virus through blood transfusions.
Objective: The study aimed at determining the burden of hepatitis B and C virus infections in patients with sickle cell anaemia and the role of blood transfusion in these infections acquisition in Jos.
Materials and methods: This was an observational cross-sectional study conducted on patients with SCA attending the Haematology Out-patient Clinic of Jos University Teaching Hospital,between November 2014 and August 2015.Consenting patients with SCA had their blood screened for anti- HBV and HCV antibodies using fourth generation Elisa techniques after completing a questionnaire.
Results: One hundred and eleven patients with SCA participated. Antibodies to Hepatitis B virus (HBV) was detected in 21 (18.9%) while that to Hepatitis C virus (HCV) was found in 16 (14.7%). Seventy six (68.5%) of the participants had history of blood transfusion while 35 (31.5%) were never transfused. 22.4% and 15.8% of those transfused were positive for HBV and HCV antibodies respectively. There was no significant difference in the proportion of those positive for anti HBV or HCV with respect to their transfusion status (p=0.24 and 0.81 respectively).
Conclusion: The proportion of our patients with SCA that were anti HBV and anti-HCV positive was high. Blood transfusion did not significantly influence their positive status. Strategies aimed at controlling these viral infections in these patients and the general population should be enforced after public awareness campaigns and advocacy are instituted.
Keywords: Sickle Cell Anaemia, burden, Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis CVirus, infection, Blood Transfusion