Hepatitis B and C: An assessment of risk exposure and prevalence among preclinical medical students in northwestern Nigeria
Background: The risk of transmission of hepatitis B and C (HBV and HCV) infection is of particular concern among medical students training in high endemic regions. In this study,we investigated the risk and prevalence of hepatitis B and C viruses among preclinical medical students in a government-owned medical school in northwestern Nigeria.
Methods: We employed a cross-sectional studytargeting the whole population of preclinical medical students of Kaduna State University, Kaduna State northwestern Nigeria. Data were collected usinga self-administered, semi-structured questionnaire and blood testing for HBsAg and HCV antibodies using rapid screening kits.Data were analyzed using SPSS version 22.
Results: A total of 133 students participated, and 79.7% of them had a previous risk exposure to injuries by sharps. The seroprevalence for HBV and HCV was 0.8% for both infections. Complete HBV vaccination uptake (3 doses)before enrolment in medical school was 18.8%. The knowledge that HBV infection is preventable was a significant determinant for the previous testing for hepatitis B and C.
Conclusion: Risk exposure to injuries by sharps was high in preclinical students. But their seroprevalence for both hepatitis B and C were low.
Keywords: Hepatitis B and C viruses;prevalence; medical students;sharp injuries