Epidemiology of Hepatitis B in the Gezira Region of Sudan

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  • U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Omdurman Municipal Hospital, Central Public Health Laboratory, American Embassy, Cairo, Egypt

To determine the prevalence of and risk factors for hepatitis B infection in rural Sudan, 2 villages in the Gezira were surveyed. There were 851 subjects (age 1–89 years; mean age 24.6 years) of equal sex distribution, 408 from Khalawaat and 443 from Saleim. HBsAg was found in 18.7%, and seropositivity for any hepatitis marker (HBsAg, anti-HBs, or anti-HBc) was found in 63.9%. The prevalence of HBsAg was highest in subjects <5 years of age (32.3%). Seropositivity for any hepatitis marker increased from 48.4% in subjects <5 years to 88.5% in persons ≥50 years of age. HBeAg was present in 70% of HBsAg-positive women of childbearing age. Residence in Khalawaat and parenteral therapy for malaria were found to be independent risk factors for HBsAg-positivity. Age, residence in Khalawaat, crowding, and having had a tattoo were predictive of seropositivity for any hepatitis marker. The reason for increased markers of hepatitis B in Khalawaat compared to Saleim was not apparent.