Seroprevalence and predictors of hepatitis A infection in Nigerian children
Introduction: Hepatitis A infection is prevalent in developing countries where sanitation is still a public health issue. In Nigeria, there is no epidemiological data on children for this infection. A community based study was carried out to establish the seroprevalence and predictors of this infection in children.
Methods: A community based cross sectional study was carried out in Akpabuyo local Government Area of Cross River State in southern Nigeria. Multi- staged sampling technique was used to recruit 406 children aged 1-18 years. Blood samples were analysed for anti-HAV total antibody ( IgM and IgG) using a commercial Enzyme -Linked Immunoassay Assay(ELISA) . A multivariate logistic regression was used to identify factors that independently predicted the occurrence of anti-HAV total antibody. p value of < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: Two hundred and twenty four subjects tested positive for anti-HAV total antibody giving a prevalence rate of 55.2%. The median age for those positive was 9 years and for those without evidence of HAV infection was 4 years. One hundred and one (45.1%) males and 123 (54.9%) females were positive. The study population was mainly of the low social class with 94.1%. After multivariate analysis, predictors of HAV infection were age and social class. Conclusion: HAV infection was prevalent in the study population. Educational campaign is imperative and vaccine provision is advocated to further curb the spread of this infection.