Intrafamilial Clustering of Hepatitis B Infection


Abstract:Objective: To explore the prevalence and the patterns of intrafamilial transmission of HBV infection in Diyala province.Materials & methods:A ten years retrospective study based on data extracted from records of virology unit in public health laboratory for the period from 1993-2002. Third generation enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) was used routinely for detection of HBsAg. Repeatedly positive sera were confirmed using ELISA HBsAg confirmatory assay. Collected data were statistically analyzed.Results:Throughout the period of the study, a total of 402 HBsAg positive index cases were followed-up by screening their household contacts. 313 out of 2205 screened contacts were HBsAg positive distributed in 147 families (2.1 positive contacts/ family). The overall prevalence of HBsAg among household contacts was 14.2% with a mean age of 23.4±13.7 years. 67.3% of the families had 1-2 positive contacts, while 32.6% had 3-9 positive contacts beside the index case. The highest prevalence of HBsAg was found among siblings 55.9% and spouses 31.1%.Conclusion:Intrafamilial spread of HBV is an important route that may contribute for maintaining the endemicity of the disease in the region.Key words: Hepatitis B infection, Intrafamilial transmission, HBsAg