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8.8% of chronic hepatitis B virus carriers in Bangui

Young girl in Central Africa Republic ©Institut Pasteur de Bangui

Hepatitis B and delta remain a serious public health problem in the Central African capital

In the mid-1980s, an outbreak of fulminant hepatitis delta killed 88% of the 124 patients hospitalized in Bangui, Central African Republic. In 2010, 25 years after this epidemic, a study by the Institut Pasteur in Bangui revealed that the hepatitis B/delta virus is still actively circulating among asymptomatic young adults.

The Institut Pasteur de Bangui (IPB) studied the evolution of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis delta virus (HDV) infections twenty-five years after the outbreak of fulminant HBV/HDV hepatitis in the 1980s. Read the article...

Currently in Bangui, at least 8% of the population of young people and pregnant women are carriers of HBsAg, a control of active HBV infection. 5.4% of young people and 18.8% of pregnant women infected with HBV are also infected with the hepatitis delta virus. The results of this study indicate that HBV and HDV infections are still active and remain a major health problem in the Central African Republic.

Old studies have also shown that 90% of newborns infected at birth become HBV carriers. Immunotherapy, the best way to block mother-to-child transmission of the virus, is not currently used in Central Africa. Vaccination against HBV infection, the only means of prevention, has become mandatory for children aged 0-11 months in the Central African Republic only since 2008. Neonatal vaccination coverage is very low due to political and military unrest.

Hepatitis delta is not well known and is often poorly treated. The VHD can only co-infect or superinfect a subject previously infected with HBV. HDV is only a satellite virus of HBV. Its prevention should be easier thanks to vaccination. Raising awareness of HBV vaccination among health authorities and the general public would help reduce HBV and HDV infections.

This text has been written and published by the Institut Pasteur de Bangui. Translation in English by Afriscitech.com.

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