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Shamsuddin K, Marmuji LZ
Correspondence: Dr Khadijah Shamsuddin, email@example.com
Introduction Several strategies have been developed to reduce hepatitis B infections. These include antenatal screening, universal immunisation of newborns andimmunoglobulintherapy for babies who are at risk. Antenatal screening for hepatitis B is not routinely performed, but all newborns in Malaysia are immunised against hepatitis B. We assessed the prevalence of hepatitis B and the factors associated with it among antenatal mothers in Ipoh. This information is useful in decision-making for future hepatitis B screening programmes for antenatal mothers, allowing for immunoglobulin therapies for newborns if their mother’s hepatitis B virus (HBV) status is known.
Methods A cross-sectional study of 1,105 antenatal mothers who attended government health clinics in Ipoh was conducted between July 2008 and October 2008. The participants were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire, and their hepatitis B surface antigen status was ascertained.
Results A total of 7,172 registered births and 97 HBV carriers were included in the weighted analysis. It revealed that none of the high-risk behaviours explored was significantly associated with HBV infection. Multivariate analysis showed age 35 years and above, multigravida (having two or more pregnancies), a positive history of blood transfusion and a family history of HBV to be significant factors associated with HBV infections.
Conclusion The weighted prevalence of HBV infection among antenatal mothers in Ipoh was 1.35 percent. A risk-based screening programme related to past medical and family history may be useful since these two factors are associated with HBV infection.
Keywords: antenatal screening, hepatitis B, prevalence, risk factors, weighted analysis
Singapore Med J 2010; 51(10): 800-805