Occult Hepatitis B Virus in Gezira State Sudan
Background: Occult hepatitis B infection (OBI) is simply defined as serologically undetectable hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg-ve), despite the presence of circulating HBV DNA.
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of occult HBV among Screened HBsAg subjects in Gezira State, Sudan.
Materials and Methods: A total of 176 subjects including cancer patients, hospital based controls and health care workers were screened for HBsAg by ELISA, and their DNA was extracted by using polymerase chain reaction.
Results: 49/176 (27.8%) were positive for occult HBV as follows: cancer patients had 31/81 (38.2%) cases, while 18.9% were reported among hospital based controls. 11.2%, 2.2% were positive for both HBsAg and DNA respectively. Ten out of the 50 (20%) healthcare workers, who were negative for HBsAg, were found to be positive for HBV DNA, while one out of the 19, who were positive for HBsAg, was found to be positive for HBV DNA. Occult HBV among this study groups showed an approximately equal distribution among males and females 18.2% and 20.5 %, respectively.
Conclusion: This study concluded that the prevalence of OBI among healthcare workers, hospital based controls and cancer patients, is remarkably increasing compared with the prevalence of the disease. More molecular epidemiological studies are needed to delineate a link between OBI and cancer. Proper HBV screening should be carried out to avoid occult hepatitis B infection transmission.
Keywords: Hepatitis B virus, Gezira State, cancer, healthcare workers, Sudan
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