An estimated 75% of Nigerians are at risk of hepatitis B virus (HBV) exposure. In an attempt to reduce the menace, the assessment of risk factors associated with HBV infection and general perception of infected individuals is a step in that direction.
This study, therefore, identified exposure to risk factors and general perceptions associated with HBV infection in infected individuals in Zaria, Nigeria.
Four milliliters of blood were collected in ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid container from each of 165 HBV surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive participants recruited purposively from the gastroenterology clinic of ABUTH Zaria from May to August 2017. Plasma was separated and used to screen for HBsAg with Fastep® rapid strip. Epi Info® questionnaire database was used to collate data on sociodemographics, risk factors, and perception indices. GraphPad Prism 6 was used for statistical analysis.
The median interquartile range age of the participants was 31.0 (25.5-39.0) years with 107 (64.8%) male participants. Sharing hair clippers, commercial pedicure, and body piercing among others were some of the risks that the study participants reported to be exposed to. One-quarter of health workers involved in the study had needlestick injury. Less than half of the study participants (47.7%) knew of hepatitis B before testing HBsAg seropositive. Knowledge of the HBV vaccine before testing and adherence was generally poor (38.6% and 44.6%, respectively). There was a significant linear relationship between the level of education and knowledge of hepatitis B.
Considering the myriads of already established risks of HBV seen in Zaria, massive enlightenment campaigns need to be embarked on continuously through all available media, including social media.