Disproportionate HBsAg seroprevalence rates among healthy blood donors in six health care facilities in Sierra Leone, 2012-2016
AbstractBackground: Viral hepatitis is a disease condition caused by five distinct types of hepatitis viruses including hepatitis B Virus (HBV). HBV causes a range of acute and chronic liver diseases that sometimes lead to death. There are about 400 million HBV infected people worldwide many of them in Asia and Africa where the infection is endemic. Methods: We collected and later analyzed anonymized laboratory results from blood banks at Connaught Hospital, PCMH, 34th Regiment Military Hospital, Aberdeen Women Hospital, Lumley Government Hospital and the Emergency Surgical Hospital of healthy blood donors. All persons whose data were used in this study were healthy blood donors between the ages of 18-55 years and had only gone to these blood bank facilities to donate blood. Results: Out of 43,163 persons screened for various blood infections, 6,564 persons were positive for HBsAg with a seroprevalence rate of 15.2% (95% CI: 14.87-15.55). There were 37,060 males tested and 6103 females tested and 5735 males (15.5%) and 829 females (13.6%) were positive for HBsAg. There was gender, yearly and health care facility difference (P<0.0001) for HBsAg seroprevalence cases recorded in this study. The highest HBsAg seroprevalence rate for the period under review was recorded in 2013. We observed disproportionate differences in HBsAg seroprevalence rates for gender, yearly and health care facility (P<0.0001) for the period under review. Conclusion: A seroprevalence of 15.2% among healthy volunteers indicate that HBV is a serious problem in Sierra Leone. There is a need for an urgent HBV vaccination coverage in Sierra Leone. A randomized population-based study with healthy volunteers is recommended for future seroprevalence studies on HBV.