Hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus seroprevalence in rural areas of the southwestern region of Turkey.

International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

PubMedID: 18945630

Akcam FZ, Uskun E, Avsar K, Songur Y. Hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus seroprevalence in rural areas of the southwestern region of Turkey. Int J Infect Dis. 2009;13(2):274-84.
OBJECTIVES
Most previous studies on the frequency of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) have analyzed data obtained from blood donors and risk groups. Few studies have been conducted in the field in rural and urban areas of Turkey. The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of HBV and HCV and to investigate the association with risk factors.

METHODS
Between January 2006 and March 2007, 2852 people aged 18 years and over were chosen in three districts using simple random sampling, and blood samples were drawn from them. The card test technique, which is highly sensitive, was applied to blood samples for the qualitative assessment of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), anti-hepatitis B surface antigen antibodies (anti-HBs), and anti-hepatitis C virus antibodies (anti-HCV). The ELISA technique was then applied only to positive samples for confirmation. In addition, participants answered survey questions on risk factors for infection with HBV and HCV.

RESULTS
Our results showed that 71 (2.5%) were HBsAg-positive, 462 (16.2%) were anti-HBs-positive, and 29 (1.0%) were anti-HCV-positive. Further survey results showed that seropositivity increased with some of the risk factors.

CONCLUSIONS
Studies on seropositivity that depend on field analyses reflect the true population more accurately. We conclude that such field studies and public education activities for hepatitis B and C are essential.