Volume 102, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



There have been various estimates of the prevalence of hepatitis B and C infections in Nigeria. Recent studies have shown the prevalence to be lower than previously reported. The different populations studied might be responsible for this. It is important to have a real population data that would inform the policies to be adopted for eradication. We set out to determine the prevalence, risk factors, and pattern of hepatitis B and C in Benue State, Central Nigeria. Four thousand and five (4,005) subjects, aged 1 year and older, were selected through a multistage random sampling to represent all parts of the state. Trained health workers administered a validated questionnaire. Rapid test kits were standardized and used in determining the prevalence of the respective viruses. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibodies to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) were found to be positive in 5% and 1%, respectively, of subjects screened. The prevalence varied from one local government area to another, with HBsAg being 8% in the highest to 2% in the lowest LGC, and anti-HCV being 3% in the highest and 0% in the lowest. Age, previous close contact with a patient, and multiple sex partners were the most important risk factors for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, whereas age and previous blood transfusion were the most important risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. HBV immunization may be having an impact in reducing the prevalence of the virus. Nigeria appears to be moving from high endemicity to the intermediate one.


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  • Received : 31 Aug 2019
  • Accepted : 13 Jan 2020
  • Published online : 10 Feb 2020
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