A study of HBV infection and its risk factors in pregnant women in Zakho city, Iraq

PLoS One. 2022 Aug 23;17(8):e0273362. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0273362. eCollection 2022.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite vaccine and antiviral treatment availability, hepatitis B virus (HBV) continues to circulate among pregnant women in Iraq. HBV spread is due to many factors. This study evaluated HBV prevalence among pregnant women and Syrian refugees residing in Zakho city, Iraq, and identified risk factors associated with infection.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Demographic data were collected from 2,054 pregnant women via a questionnaire assessing risk factors associated with HBV infection. Blood samples were collected for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and were screened using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

RESULTS: Tests revealed that 1.1% of pregnant women in Zakho and 11.3% of Syrian refugees (p = 0.001) were positive for HBsAg. The average age of HBsAg-positive patients was 31.4286 ± 6.6746 years (p = 0.002). Average rates of parity and abortion in HBV-infected subjects were 3.5 ± 2.6874 and 0.1785 ± 0.5479, respectively (p = 0.044 and 0.012, respectively). The following were identified as associated risk factors for HBV infection: nationality, (Zakho versus the city centre), tattoos, and polygamy (p = 0.001, 0.03, 0.007, and 0.001, respectively). No significant associations between HBV prevalence and blood transfusion, prior injection history, dental procedures, or surgical procedures were found.

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of HBV infection among Syrian refugees was higher than that of indigenous participants. Several risk factors were significantly associated with HBV positivity, which may facilitate effective preventive program implementation and decrease mother-to-child transmission risk. This will likely reduce infant and childhood HBV chronicity, and mortality rates.

PMID:35998191 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0273362

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