Seroprevalence and clinico-epidemiological correlates of hepatitis c infection in pregnancy at a booking antenatal clinic, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa
Background: World health organization estimated that approximately 170 million people are infected with Hepatitis C virus with about 130 million being carriers, three to four million persons are newly infected in each year and more than 350,000 people estimated to die from Hepatitis C-related liver diseases in each year worldwide. The seroprevalence rates of Hepatitis C in pregnancy change as indicated by the endemicity of a given zone with high rates generally among economically constraint countries in Asia and Africa. The general objective is to determine the seroprevalence and clinicoepidemiological correlates of Hepatitis C viral antibodies in pregnancy in Yenagoa. The specific objectives are (1) To find out the seroprevalence of HCV in pregnant women that present in clinic. (2) To identify known risk factors for HCV infections in pregnant women. (3) To make evidence based recommendations on screening protocols for our obstetric population.
Methodology: This is a descriptive cross sectional study. Two hundred and twenty (220) consecutive healthy pregnant women attending the antenatal booking clinic of the hospital who met the inclusion criteria were recruited into this study after pretest counselling and obtaining consent from them. This was tested for anti HCV antibody with commercially available in vitro diagnostic kits (one step test strips). Data was collected via a structured interviewer administered questionnaire. Data entry and analysis was done using SPSS (statistical package for social sciences) 22 statistical package (SPSS Inc., Illinois, U.S.A). Univariate analysis for categorical variables was performed using chi-square. P value less than 0.05 was taken as being significant.
Results: The mean age of the pregnant women studied was 28.8 years ± 5.2 while the mean parity was 1.20 ± 1.16. 220 pregnant women who came for antenatal booking were recruited into this study. The seroprevalence of Hepatitis C viral (anti-HCV) antibodies is 2.7% (n=6).There was no significant association with respect to a history of jaundice or contact with a jaundiced patient, multiple sexual partners, female circumcision, previous blood transfusion, intravenous drug abuse or sharing of sharps, previous surgery, episiotomies or dilatation and curettage (p>0.05).
Conclusion: The seroprevalence of 2.7% of Hepatitis C virus infection may not justify universal screening. However, seropositive pregnant women could be counselled on modification of lifestyle like avoiding excessive alcohol intake and preventing further spread of the disease. Multidisciplinary management with risk based screening, antenatal surveillance and postpartum care of seropositive pregnant women is also advocated.
Keywords: Hepatitis C virus infection, anti-hepatitis C antibodies, Hepatitis in pregnancy