Seroprevalence of hepatitis B Surface antigen among apparently healthy primary school pupils in Batagarawa Local Government area of Katsina State, Nigeria
Introduction: Hepatitis B virus infection is a major public health problem worldwide. It is more infectious and more in Nigeria than the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It is a major risk factor for the development of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer in hyperendemic areas. This study was carried out between 8th January and 7th March, 2012, to assess the prevalence of Hepatitis B virus infection among apparently healthy primary school pupils in Batagarawa Local Government, Katsina state.
Methods: Hepatitis B surface antigen was tested for in 240 apparently healthy primary school pupils in Batagarawa Local Government, Katsina state in North- Western Nigeria using commercial recombinant enzyme-based HBsAg test strip.
Results: Of the 240 samples screened, 56 (23.3%) were seropositive. HBsAg seroprevalence was higher among children aged 7 – 9 years (7.9%), and among male (15.8%) than female (7.8%) subjects. Of the predisposing factors for HBV infection studied, traditional circumcision among the male subjects recorded the highest prevalence of 30%.
Conclusion: The high prevalence of HBV infection amongst the subjects studied strongly suggests that urgent preventive measures, particularly health education of the general public on HBV infection and provision of universal HBV vaccination should be given urgent priority.
Keywords: Children, HBsAg, Primary school, Seroprevalence