Hepatitis B Virus Infection and Active Liver Disease
by DENNIS ADU-GYASI & DR. W K B A OWIREDU
Prevalence of Hepatitis B Virus Infection and Active Liver Disease among Students of the College of Health Sciences - KNUST
Obviously, one of the ills plaguing the human race in a very devastating manner aside Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Malaria (Specifically to the tropics) and Tuberculosis (TB) is Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver). Among the organisms responsible for causing hepatitis, viral hepatitis remains enormous, easily transmittable and very difficult to treat.
There are approximately 350 million people suffering from chronic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection worldwide (Kew et al, 1987). The HBV poses a serious threat to health personnel owing to the increased exposure to human body fluids of patients (Beutels et al, 2003) and also to patients from health personnel who may have the active or chronic infection of the HBV.
This study was therefore undertaken to estimate the proportion of students of the College of Health Sciences (CHS) in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana, who are presenting with HBV infection and have the potential probability of infecting patients during their future practice. Blood samples were drawn from 200 consenting students of the College.
The following tests were done on the blood samples; ALT, AST level estimation and HBsAg determination. These were done to help estimate the prevalence of HBV infection and active liver disease among students of the CHS. The prevalence established for these students was found to be 7.5% (with a range of 3.85% to 11.20% at 95% Confidence Interval) with 1% of the samples’ population presenting with acute HBV infection.
Since the prevalence of HBV infection was established with only HBsAg determination, it is possible that the prevalence could be higher using other HBV markers. With such a lower prevalence of HBV infection among the students of the College of the Health Sciences, it is necessary that uninfected students are vaccinated to prevent lose of health personnel and possible transmission of hepatitis B virus to patients from infected health care workers.