Prevalence and risk factors of hepatitis B virus infection in Bahrain, 2000 through 2010

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Authors: Janahi EM.

Source: PLoS One. 2014;9(2):e87599.


Hepatitis B infection is one of the world’s major infectious diseases with about 350 million chronic carriers. Because no data is published on the prevalence and risk factors of this important disease in Bahrain, this article evaluates the available data from 2000 to 2010 to estimate the prevalence of the infection and to evaluate the risk factors. Epidemiologic data on HBV cases were collected from the major hospitals and health centers in Bahrain and statistically analyzed. Over this indicated decade, 877,892 individuals were screened for HBV infection and 5055 positive cases were reported in Bahrain. The prevalence of HBV infection during that period was 0.58%. Although there was no significant difference in the prevalence over the period of 10 years, the actual number of positive cases has almost doubled in the later years especially in 2007 and 2008. The prevalence was significantly higher among males (62.3%; P<0.01). Most cases were associated with non Bahrainis and the prevalence was significantly higher among them (68.3%; P<0.01) than it was among Bahrainis (31.7%). Seventy eight percent (2877/3690) of non Bahraini cases were for citizens of six countries which are highly endemic for HBV, namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia and Ethiopia. Dental procedures and surgical operations were the main risk factors of infection as 37.2% and 35.6% of the patients were probably infected through this route. The prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection in Bahrain indicates that Bahrain had low HBV endemicity for the last 10 years (2000-2010). Our study verifies the significant role played by expatriates/immigrants in the present epidemiology of hepatitis B in Bahrain. Increasing HBV vaccination of high risk groups, active educational and media campaign, screening HBV infection during pregnancy, and surveillance of hepatitis B infected individuals will further decrease the prevalence of the disease in Bahrain.

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