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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 136  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 74-81

Prevalence of hepatitis B & hepatitis C virus infections in potential blood donors in rural Vietnam


1 Quang Tri Provincial Preventive Medicine Centre, Quang Tri Health Service, Vietnam; Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsoe, Norway
2 Quang Tri Provincial Preventive Medicine Centre, Quang Tri Health Service, Vietnam
3 Tromsoe Mine Victim Resource Centre, University Hospital North Norway, Tromsoe, Norway
4 Institute of Medical Biology, University of Tromsoe; Department of Microbiology & Infectious Control, University Hospital North Norway, Tromsoe, Norway
5 Institute of Medical Biology, University of Tromsoe; Department of Immunology & Transfusion Medicine, University Hospital North Norway, Tromsoe, Norway
6 Centre of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Tromsoe, Norway
7 Tromsoe Mine Victim Resource Centre, University Hospital North Norway, Tromsoe; Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsoe, Norway

Correspondence Address:
Hans Husum
PO Box 80, N-9038, University Hospital North Norway, Tromsoe, Norway

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Background & objectives: Safe blood and blood products should be offered to all patients in need for blood transfusion. The objectives of the present study were to establish prevalence estimates for hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus infections as a foundation for safe blood transfusion in rural Vietnam, and to check the accuracy of the laboratory analysis used for hepatitis testing of blood donors in Vietnam. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in two rural communities in Quang Tri, Vietnam. A total of 1,200 blood samples collected from potential blood donors were tested by an enzyme immunoassay technique (EIA) for detection of hepatitis surface antigen (HBsAg), antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc), and antibodies to hepatitis C antigen (anti-HCV). The EIA test outcome was validated by a chemiluminescent micro particle immunoassay technique (CMIA). Results: The prevalence of HBsAg and anti-HBc in the study population was 11.4 per cent (95% CI 9.6 - 13.2) and 51.7 per cent (95% CI 48.8 - 54.5), respectively, the prevalences being higher in males than females. The prevalence of anti-HCV was 0.17 per cent. The test agreement between the EIA and CMIA techniques was high both for HBsAg detection (κ = 0.91; 95% CI: 0.83 - 0.99) and for anti-HBc detection (κ = 0.89; 95% CI 0.81 - 0.97). Compared to CMIA results, the positive and negative predictive values of the EIA tests were found to be 94.9 per cent (95% CI 87.5 - 98.6) and 97.5 per cent (95% CI 86.8 - 99.9) for HBsAg, and 92.4 per cent (95% CI 84.2 - 97.2) and 100 per cent (95% CI 91.2 - 100) for anti-HBc. Interpretation & conclusions: The study shows that hepatitis B virus infection is endemic in rural areas of Vietnam and that almost half of the population is or has been infected. Hepatitis C infection is rare, but false negative test results cannot be ruled out. Also, the results indicate that the EIA performance in blood donor screening in Vietnam may be sub-optimal, missing 2.5 per cent of hepatitis B virus carriers and falsely excluding more than 7 per cent of blood donors. As the prevalence of hepatitis B infection is high, occult hepatitis B infection may represent a threat to safe blood transfusion. Therefore, nucleic acid amplification testing for HBV should be considered for blood donor screening in Vietnam.


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