PREVALENCE OF HEPATITIS B AND C IN HEALTHY ADULT MALES OF PARAMILITARY PERSONNEL IN PUNJAB
AbstractBackground: Global prevalence of Hepatitis B varies from high (>8%) in Africa, Asia and WesternPacific to low (<2%) in Western Europe, North America and Australia. An estimated 180 millionpeople worldwide including 4 million people in USA are infected with HCV. This cross-sectionalobservational study was carried out at Department of Pathology, Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) CentralHospital, Lahore from March to June 2010 to determine prevalence of HBV and HCV infection amongserving asymptomatic healthy adult males of paramilitary force. Methods: The healthy adult malesfrom province Punjab serving in Pakistan Rangers Punjab without previous history of known positivityfor HBV or HCV infection were included in the study. Demographic data including the district oforigin were noted. HBsAg and anti-HCV antibodies were tested by rapid immuno-chromatographicmethod while positive tests were reconfirmed by enzyme immuno-assay (EIA). Results: Out of total15,793 adults screened for Hepatitis B & C viral infections, 14,027 adults belonged to the province ofPunjab. There were 396 (2.82%) adults who were found positive for HBsAg and 511 (3.64%) positivefor anti-HCV on screening. Retesting of the positive tests by EIA showed 396 (2.82%) positive forHBsAg, and 440 (3.13%) for anti-HCV respectively. Specificity of immune chromatographic methodfor HBsAg and anti-HCV calculated taking EIA as gold standard was 100% for HBsAg and 99.5% foranti-HCV while positive predictive value of the immuno-chromatographic methods was 100% forHBsAg and 86.1% for anti-HCV. Highest of prevalence of HBsAg was seen in Rahimyar Khan(7.58%) while high prevalence of anti-HCV was seen in Chiniot (8.9%), Faisalabad (7.2%), Vehari(7.03%), Muzaffargarh (5.95%) and Sheikhupura (5.83%). Conclusion: Overall prevalence of HBsAgand anti-HCV is on the decline. The isolated pockets of very high prevalence of HCV infection in thedistricts of Chiniot, Faisalabad, Vehari, Sheikhupura, Rahimyar Khan, Muzaffargarh, and Okara pose acommunity health problem with a dire need to adopt strict preventive measures in the medical andsocial practices with effective public awareness campaigns.Keywords: HBsAg, Anti-HCV, Hepatitis
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