Prevalence of hepatitis B and C surface antigens among students in Jos, Nigeria

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria


Background:  Globally, hepatitis B and C viral infections have been identified as some of the most common infectious diseases comprising major public health problems. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) antigens among tertiary institution and secondary school students. Methods: Two hundred and twenty-six (226) students were screened for HBV and HCV surface antigens using rapid immunochromatographic strip detection assay manufactured by LabACON (Hangzhou Biotest Biotech Company, Ltd., China) and questionnaires were used to assess demographic and risk factors to HBV and HCV among the students. Results: A total of 226 blood samples were screened for HBsAg and anti-HCV among the students, out of which 8(3.5%) were positive for HBsAg and 0(0.0%) prevalence of HCV. Of the samples screened, 113 were among students of University of Jos, where 6(5.3%) were positive for HBsAg and 0 (0.0%) for HCV infection. Similarly, 2(1.8%) and 0(0.0%) prevalence of HBsAg and HCV infection were respectively observed among students attending Government Secondary School Gwong, Jos. Students’ age group 21-30 years had the highest HBV infection of 6.8%. In a sex related assessment, males had 6.3% prevalence of HBsAg compared to 0.9% in the females. Viral infection in relation to marital status, educational level and religion were also assessed, however, there was no statistical association between the variables and viral infection. There was also no correlation between the risk factors assessed and viral hepatitis infection among the study group.  Conclusion: There is need to educate the students on the importance of Hepatitis B vaccine to reduce the incidence of hepatitis B antigen carrier rate and regular monitoring of HCV status to ensure early detection and management as it has no vaccine yet.


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