There have been studies regarding the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-hepatitis C antibody (HCVAb) in Iran. However, the majority of these have reported a variety of rates, depending on their study population, which limits the generalizability of their results to the general population. On the other hand, cultural diversity in the different provinces of Iran also necessitates the performing separate population-based studies in the various regions.
To evaluate the population-based prevalence of HBsAg and HCVAb and their correlates in Zahedan City, Iran.
Patients and Methods
Included in this study were 2587 individuals, using a random and cluster sampling approach. The participants were drawn from the Family Registry of the public health centers in Zahedan City, Iran, from 2008 to 2009. Following data collection from the interviews, subjects were assessed for seropositivity of HBsAg and HCVAb. We then calculated the prevalence of HBsAg and HCVAb, and evaluated these viral markers for an association with; age, sex and potential risk factors.
Weighted seroprevalence of HBsAg and HCVAb was 2.5% (CI 95% : 1.9 to 3.3 %) and 0.5% (CI 95% : 0.27 to 0.9 %), respectively. Prevalence of HBsAg increased significantly with age (P value < 0.001), but this was not true for HCVAb (P value: 0.67). We observed no sex dominance in the prevalence of HBsAg (3.2% and 2.2% for males and females, respectively, P value: 0.15) or HCVAb (0.4% and 0.7% for males and females, respectively, P value: 0.27). In a multivariate regression analysis, every additional year in age resulted in a 2% increment in the odds of HBsAg seropositivity. HBsAg was also three times more prevalent among married, than single subjects (with a P value reaching toward significance: 0.065) in multivariate analysis. Prevalence of HCVAb did not differ with respect to any of the potential risk factors.
This is the first population-based study on the prevalence of HCVAb and one of the few population based studies on HBsAg in Zahedan City. We detected lower prevalence rates of HBsAg and HCVAb than in previous studies conducted in Zahedan City. In addition to improvements in social awareness and general health elements, we think that the observed low prevalence rates have been achieved due to the efficiency of mass vaccination projects, implemented against HBV infection in Iran.