Risk factors and seroprevalence of hepatitis B surface antigenemia in mothers and their preschool age children in Ilorin, Nigeria

Olajide O Agbede1, Juliet O Iseniyi, Matthew O Kolawole and A Ojuawo4

Background: The transmission of the hepatitis B virus is parenteral, sexual and perinatal. Fulminant hepatitis occurs in 1% of cases of symptomatic acute hepatitis, and the main problem of hepatitis B viral infection is its chronicity, as defined by hepatitis B surface antigen carriage for more than 6 months.

Objective: A descriptive seroepidemiological study of hepatitis B virus and its associated risk factors has been conducted among mothers and their child of preschool age attending the WELL CHILD Clinic of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital and the Immunization Clinic of the Children Specialist Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria.

Materials & methods: Sera of 70 mother and child pairs were subjected to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the detection of surface antigen of hepatitis B virus.

Results: Prevalence rates of 5.7 and 10% were obtained for surface antigen of hepatitis B virus in mothers and children respectively. The highest surface antigen of hepatitis B virus prevalence rate recorded was 2.9% for children who were aged 2–4 years, while the lowest prevalence rate recorded was 1.4% for those aged less than 1 year.

Conclusions: Blood transfusion and mode of delivery appeared to be the most significant risk factors contributing to the transmission of hepatitis B virus among these subjects. All four mothers who were positive for the surface antigen of hepatitis B virus had positive children for this marker.