PREVALENCE AND POTENTIAL RISK FACTORS OF HEPATITIS B VIRUS IN A SAMPLE OF CHILDREN IN TWO SELECTED AREAS IN YEMEN
The global epidemic of hepatitis B is a significant public health problem. The endemicity of HBV infection used to be believed high in Yemen. Data for the prevalence of HBsAg among children in rural and urban areas in Yemen is scarce and incompetent. The study was made to determine prevalence of HB surface antigen among children in 2 selected areas in Yemen. Eight hundred forty and 212 children were randomly chosen from Sana'a city and Shabowah governorate, respectively. Sera were tested for HBs antigen by ELISA technique, and HB genome was tested for positive HB surface antigen specimens to confirm positivity using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) -based test. Each's data collected in a pre-designed questionnaire including sex, age, and risk factors of HBV and prior vaccine of HBV. The prevalence of HB surface antigen among children in Sana'a city was only 1.8%, and in Shabowah governorate was 3.8%. There was a significant association of non-vaccinated children, birth by cesarean, and with a history of parental exposure with contracting HBV infection. Evidence from these studies in Yemen suggests that there is a steady increase in exposure to HBV over a lifetime. Hospital-acquired HBV infection is common in Yemen, and high vaccination coverage rate should be achieved, particularly in rural areas, in parallel with health education.