PREVALENCE OF HEPATITIS B AND HEPATITIS C VIRUS INFECTIONS AT PREMARITAL SCREENING PROGRAM IN DUHOK, IRAQ
Background: Viral hepatitis causes increasing mortality worldwide despite all the efforts to control this health problem. Premarital screening program provides an opportunity to detect and manage hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses. Determination of a carrier status during premarital testing will create awareness between the couples and lead to the protection of the prospective spouse by early vaccination or treatment. The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus infections among premarital couples in Duhok, Iraq. Subject and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted from August 2016 to April 2017 in the clinic and laboratory of the premarital screening program within the preventive health affairs in Duhok-Iraq. The sample size was 2000 persons (1000 males and 1000 females). All persons were tested for HBs Ag, total anti-HBc, and anti-HCV. Results: The age ranged from 14 years to 75 years with a mean of 25.1 years (95% CI = 24.8-25.4 years). The prevalence of HBV infection was 1.1% (N=22), isolated anti-HBc as 3.1% (N=62) and HCV seropositivity was 0.2% (N=4).The factors associated with HBV and HCV were being a health professional (P <0.001), having a history of trauma (P =0.003) and having a family history of HBV or HCV (P<0.001). Conclusions: The prevalence of HBV infection, isolated anti-HBc, and HCV seropositivity is low among the premarital people. Including total anti-HBc in the current premarital screening program will detected anti-HBc which helps in the efforts to control and manage HBV.
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