Hepatitis B Core IgM Detection in Neonates Born to HBsAg and HBeAg Positive Mothers in Maiduguri, Nigeria
Hepatitis B virus is a serious global public health problem and is endemic in Africa, including Nigeria. Infection of pregnant women during the second and third trimester poses a threat of 10 and 90% respectively for vertical transmission. A total of ninety two blood samples from consenting pregnant women were screened for HBsAg and HBeAg using ELISA kit (Cortez Diagnostic Inc, USA). Cord blood samples collected from five neonates of women positive for HBsAg and HBeAg were screened for HBcIgM using the same test kit. Questionnaire was used to collect data on demography, history of blood transfusion and presence of tribal mark from the pregnant women. Overall prevalences of 8.7% (8/92) and 5.4% (5/92) for HBsAg and HBeAg seromarkers, respectively were obtained. Mean age of the pregnant women was 25.75 with 27.2% within 20–24 years and 28.3% within 25–29 years, however this distribution was not statistically significant (p= 0.6840). Fifty percent (50%) of HBsAg positive women were within the age group of 25–29 years while 80% of HBeAg positive women were within the age group of 20 – 24 years. Blood transfusion (p= 0.002791) and tribal mark (p=0.00265) were found to be associated with acquisition of the virus. Eighty percent (80%: 4/5) of the neonates screened from HBsAg and HBeAg positive women were reactive for HBcIgM. The prevalence of surface antigen in this study suggests the endemicity of hepatitis B virus in the study area while the presence of both surface and envelope antigens in pregnant women portend infectivity. These results suggest the utmost need for establishment of a sustainable intervention measure that would protect not only pregnant women but women of childbearing age in order to mitigate spread of the virus. Screening for other hepatitis B virus seromarkers besides HBsAg before blood transfusion is also advocated.
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S. O. Oyinloye
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, University of Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria.