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Seroprevalence of viral hepatitis in Tanzanian adults

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In a cross-sectional study in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, we determined the seroprevalence of markers for hepatitis A, B, C and E viruses and examined associated risk markers. Among 403 healthy adults, the seroprevalence of antibodies to hepatitis A virus was 99.0% (95% confidence interval: 97.5–99.7). Prior exposure to hepatitis C and E viruses was rare (hepatitis C: 0.7% (0.2–2.1); hepatitis E: 0.2% (< 0.1–1.4)). The prevalence of all markers of hepatitis B was 70.7% (66.0–75.1). Hepatitis B surface antigen was identified in 6.0% (3.9–8.7) of subjects. Independent predictors of hepatitis B infection identified by logistic regression included older age, male gender, Muslim religion and type of abode. Given the high prevalence of hepatitis B and the low prevalence of hepatitis C, the majority of chronic viral hepatitis is likely to be associated with hepatitis B. Control efforts should focus primarily on hepatitis B.

Keywords: Africa; Tanzania; hepatitis A; hepatitis B; hepatitis C; hepatitis E; seroprevalence; viral hepatitis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA 2: Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA 3: Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, Moshi, Tanzania 4: Department of Biology, Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC, USA 5: Experimental Biology Research, Abbott Laboratories, North Chicago, IL, USA 6: Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA

Publication date: September 1, 1998


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