Prevalence and risk factors of hepatitis B infection among mothers and children with hepatitis B infected mother in upper Dolpa, Nepal.

Journal Title: 
Publication Date: 
Oct 11, 2017

BACKGROUND: Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection is a worldwide public health problem. In Nepal, the prevalence of HBV is found to be low (0.9%), although high prevalence (≥8%) of HBV infection is depicted among subgroup/population in the mountain region by various studies. This study assessed the prevalence and the risk of HBV infection among mothers, as well as among the youngest child under 5 years old living with hepatitis B positive mothers in Dolpa, the most remote mountain district of Nepal.

METHODS: The cross sectional study survey was conducted between June and July 2014. All mothers with their youngest child under 5 years old were invited to participate in the survey and tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). The HBsAg positive mothers were further tested by 5-panel HBV test card. Children living with HBsAg positive mothers were also tested for HBsAg.

RESULTS: One hundred fifty-one mothers, comprising 37% of the total study population in the selected Village Development Committees (VDCs), were surveyed in the mobile health camps. The seroprevalence of HBsAg among mothers and their youngest child under 5 years old living with HBsAg positive mothers were 17% (95% CI, 11.01-22.99%) and 48% (95%CI, 28.42-67.58%) respectively. The majority of HBV infected mothers were indigenous (84%) followed by Dalit (4%) and other castes (12%). Among HBV infected mothers, 40% were hepatitis B envelope antigen (HBeAg) positive. The prevalence of HBsAg was higher among children living with HBeAg positive mothers as compared to HBeAg negative (60% vs 40%) and male children compared to female (60% vs 33%). Thirty-six percent of children were vaccinated with a full course of the hepatitis B vaccine. Of these vaccinated children, 56% were HBsAg sero-positive.

CONCLUSIONS: The HBV infection rate is high among mothers and children living with HBsAg positive mothers in the indigenous population of the most remote mountain community of Nepal.