Vol. 1, Issue 1 (2015)
Seroprevalence of Hepatitis B and C Virus in Blood Donors at Lewanika General Hospital, Mongu, Western Province, Zambia
Author(s): Alick Mwambungu, Nathan Siulapwa, Inambwae Mampi
Abstract: Infection with hepatitis B and C virus affects the liver and results in a broad spectrum of disease outcomes. This study was carried out to determine the prevalence of antibodies to Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and Hepatitis B surface Antigen (HBsAg) among blood donors of Lewanika General Hospital in Mongu, Western Province, Zambia in order to generate data which may be useful to the appropriate health authorities. The participants included in this study were 22,007 (11,994 males and 10,013 females; aged 16 to 55years) voluntary, first time and replacement donors. The samples were tested for the presence of Anti HCV and HBsAg is using the Architect plus i2000 automated machine which uses chemiluminescent technique. Analysis of the result showed that 1,463 (6.65%) of the donors had HBsAg. The result showed highest HBsAg prevalence of 6.74% amongst blood donors in the age range 16-35 years and males having the highest prevalence of 6.65%. Our results further showed that 544 (2.47%) of the donors had antibodies to HCV, with high prevalence in the age range of 16-35 (6.82%). HCV prevalence was higher in male than female blood donors, with male blood donors having the prevalence of 2.72% and females 2.18%. Our study and review of literature shows that the seroprevalence of Hepatitis B and C among blood donors in Zambia is high with the younger blood donors mostly affected. The high prevalence of both HCV and HBV obtained in this study is lower as compared to results obtained in studies done in other sub-Saharan countries but much higher than in Asia and Europe. There is urgent need for renewed intensification of prevention programmes aimed at changing high-risk behaviors among Zambian youths and vigilant donor selection with introduction of more sensitive tests (such as nucleic acid amplification testing [NAT] for HBV and HCV) that detect infection earlier, will further decrease risks of transfusion-transmitted viral infections.