Immunosuppressive drugs have become a mainstay of therapy for the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). These treatments expose to a risk of hepatitis B and C reactivation.
The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of hepatitis B and C viruses in Tunisian IBD patients on immunosuppressive treatments.
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease were consecutively recruited over a 2 years period (2017-2018). Prevalence of viral hepatitis B and C as well as clinical, biological and virological presentation, management and outcome were assessed. Factors associated to hepatitis B and C were also analyzed (SPSS software, p value <0.05).
Seventy four patients with IBD were included: 38 women and 36 men. Among them 62 (83.8%) had CD and (16.2%) had UC. Mean age was 43.5±14.2 years. Six patients (8.1%) had at least one positive HVB marker. Hepatitis C infection was found in 4% patients. HBs Ag was positive in only one patient (1.3%) with positive HBV DNA. Anti HBc and anti HBs antibodies were positive respectively in 6 and 4 patients. Vaccination against hepatitis B was proposed for 22% of our patients with negative anti HBc antibodies and HBs Ag. Two patients presented non-severe acute hepatitis C with sustained virological response after antiviral treatment. IBD did not relapse under antiviral treatment. A 3rd patient had chronic hepatitis C infection. She was treated with Pegylated Interferon alpha and Ribavirine. No cases of viral reactivation have been reported. Noassociated factors to hepatitis B and C viral infections were identified in our study.
The prevalence of hepatitis B infection in IBD patients under immunosuppressive therapy was similar to the general population, while the hepatitis C prevalence was higher than the national prevalence. Screening for hepatitis B and C viral infections is mandatory in inflammatory bowel disease patients. Vaccination against hepatitis B is highly recommended.