International Blood Research & Reviews,
Aim: Co-infection of hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E viruses may lead to severe morbidity and mortality. This study was conducted to determine prevalence of co-infection of HBV and HEV among animal and non-animal handlers in Osun State, Nigeria.
Study Design: Cross-sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Nigeria, between June 2015 and July 2019.
Methods: A total of 180 blood samples were obtained and screened for Hepatitis B and E virus from cohorts of 90 animal handlers and 90 non-animal handlers. Questionnaires on HBV and HEV were administered to obtain a demographic characteristic of the participants. HBsAg and anti-HEV antibodies were screened using HBsAg and HEV ELISA kits.
Results: Results showed the overall prevalence of HBV and HEV Co-infection to be 12.2 %. There was variation in the HBV/HEV co-infections rates among the studied population, with a co-infection rates of 15.9%, 14.3% and 7.8% for butchers, pig handlers and non-animal handlers, respectively. Sources of drinking water was the predisposition factor for HBV/HEV coinfections (P=0.02). The results revealed that subjects who used tap and river as a drinking water source had the highest prevalence followed by well and sachet and then all water source. Although results portray no statistically significant association with, frequent washing of hands after, rearing of animal, type of toilet, eating of pork, consumption of grilled meat and cow skin (P> 0.05).
Conclusion: This study reported a high prevalence of HBV/HEV coinfections among animal and non-animal handlers in Osun State, Nigeria. There is, therefore, the need to increase health promotion efforts such as immunization, health education, campaign, provision of adequate blood screening equipment and proper hygiene is recommended for further reduction in HBV/HEV transmission. Since the consumption of contaminated water is the main transmission route of HEV, improving the level of public health sanitation in the area should be considered a priority by policymakers.