Mother-to-child (vertical) transmission of hepatitis B virus in Dar es Salaam

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University of Dar es Salaam
A cohort study was conducted in four government hospitals in Dar es Salaam between April and December 1995. The main objective of the study was to determine the mother-to-child (vertical) transmission rate of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in Dar es Salaam. The study population comprised of pregnant mothers in labour wards of the four hospitals who consented for the study and their infants. 1540 pregnant mothers were recruited for the study and 1540 maternal and 1557 cord blood samples were collected simultaneously at the time of delivery. HBsAg was analysed by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique. 54 (3.5%) mothers were HBsAg positive and 2 cord blood samples of babies born from HBsAg positive mothers were also HBsAg positive. Further analysis was based on 51 infants as 3 infants were lost for follow-up. At 3 months follow-up, 4 other infants were HBsAg positive. There were no further seroconversions at 6 months follow-up. Hence vertical transmission of HBsAg had occurred in 6 (11.8%) out of 51 infants and of these 33.3% were HBsAg positive at birth and 66.7% at 3 months. HBsAg was found to be more common in young mothers. Women with a history of frequent injections in the past were at significantly increased risk of having HBV infection. History of jaundice and blood transfusion in the past had no association with HBsAg seropositivity. In conclusion, Dar es Salaam is an area with intermediate prevalence of HBV infection and that vertical transmission of HBV infection is not uncommon. In order to decrease the HBV infected pool in the community, it is recommended that all pregnant women be screened for HBsAg and the newborns of those found positive be vaccinated against HBV infection. The community should be educated on the possible role of use of unsterile syringes and needles in the transmission of HBV infection and should be advised to use disposable needles and syringes.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF QR201.H46K52)
Hepatitis B. Virus, Dar es Salaam region, Tanzania, Hepatitis associated antigen
Kibassa, C G (1996) Mother-to-child (vertical) transmission of hepatitis B virus in Dar es Salaam, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam