Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is one of the most prevalent public health problems worldwide, and causes 1 million deaths annually. In Bangladesh, information about prevalence of HBV infection is scarce, and there is no available data on HDV infection. We determined rates of HBsAg and anti-HBc seropositivity in asymptomatic, healthy children (n = 181) and adults (n = 354) presenting to referral facilities in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and tested a separate group of HBsAg-positive patients (n = 180) for prevalence of HDV. Testing of serum was also performed for signs of liver disease. Overall, seropositivity of HBsAg and anti-HBc in studied subjects was 3 per cent (16/534) and 21.1 per cent (113/534), respectively. Prevalence of HBsAg was highest in the 5- to 9-year-old (8.5 per cent, 7/82) and 10- to 14-year-old (5.9 per cent, 2/34) age groups. Unlike HBsAg, prevalence of anti-HBc was lower in children (14.9 per cent in those below the age of 15) than adults (24.4 per cent in those aged 20-34 years) (p < 0.05). Most HBsAg-positive individuals were symptomatic (n = 125, 69.4 per cent). A high rate (24.4 per cent, 44/180) of simultaneous infection with HDV was observed among HBsAg-positive subjects, with higher rates in older individuals. Anti-HDV seropositivity rate was similar among asymptomatic (21.8 per cent, 12/55) and symptomatic (25.6 per cent, 32/125) HBsAg carriers. Our data suggest that Bangladesh is of moderate endemicity for HBV infection, and has relatively high rates of co-infection with HDV. Control HBV and HDV infection in Bangladesh may be best achieved by targeting preschool children, which could fit readily within the existing EPI schedule.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Infectious Diseases