Background: Hepatitis B is a disease of public health importance in Iran. We conducted this study to determine the epidemiology, clinical presentations of hepatitis B infection in Khuzestan province, Southwest of Iran.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on hepatitis B virus (HBV) positive individuals referred to the Ahwaz Jondishapour University Hospitals (AJSUH) and Hepatitis Clinic from February 2002 to May 2007. Based on a specially-designed protocol, standard commercially-available tests and physical examinations were performed. All subjects were evaluated using a face-to-face questionnaire about demographic aspects. The analysis included data on past medical history, physical examination and periodic evaluation clinically and serologically.
Results: 1264 patients infected with hepatitis B virus participated in the study. The patients consisted of 874 male and 390 female patients with the age range of 8-72 years. The most frequent age group was 20-40 years (56.4%). Anti-delta antibodies were observed in 4.7% of the carriers (59⁄1264), anti hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) antibodies in 0.9% (12⁄1095) and anti human immunodeficiency virus (anti-HIV) antibodies in 0.1% (1⁄1095) of active carriers, respectively. Of 1264 patients infected with hepatitis B virus, 71 (5.6%) were also hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positive, no difference in female to male ratio was observed between HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative patients with chronic hepatitis B.
Conclusions: The family history of hepatitis, dental procedures and a history of transfusion are important risk factors for HBV infection in our area. More careful screening and preventive measures, strict attention to asepsis, evaluation of risk factors, and improvements in certain lifestyle patterns and customs in this area may be essential to prevent transmission of the infection.
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