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Background: Transmission of HBV infection has been documented from hepatitis B surface antigen negative blood donors.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of serological markers of hepatitis B virus infectivity among hepatitis B surface antigen negative blood donors at the University College Hospital Ibadan.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out among 490 blood donors who were negative for HBsAg. Anti-HBc and other viral markers such as anti-HBs, HBeAg and anti-HBe were tested using ELISA kits by DIAPRO Diagnostic Bioprobes Milano, Italy.
Results: The mean age of participants was 32.5 years (±9.5), majority were males, 462 (94.3%). Eighty-three (16.9%) were positive for anti-HBc, out of which 35 (7.1%) had anti-HBc alone, 30 (6.1%) had both anti-HBc and anti-HBs while 18 (3.7%) were positive for anti-HBc, anti-HBs and anti-HBe. Antibody to HBsAg (anti-HBs) was detected in 54 (11%) donor samples, of which 6(1.2%) were positive for anti-HBs alone. The number of donors positive for anti-HBeAg was 18 (3.7%). However, no subject was positive for HBeAg.
Conclusion: This study has showed that some blood units containing other markers of HBV are being transfused to recipients even after screening for HBsAg is negative. These blood units are potentially infectious and can cause post-transfusion hepatitis in the recipients. There is need to consider introduction of testing for other markers of HBV infection in our blood banks.