Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a hepatotropic and partially double stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) virus that causes the immune-mediated killing of infected liver cells. It is a public health conundrum due to its considerable morbidity and mortality. Cheka is a cereal and vegetable-based fermented beverage that is consumed as a key dietary component in the southwestern parts of Ethiopia. This study was aimed to assess the seroprevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and associated risk factors among cheka consumers in the Konso community, southwest of Ethiopia.
A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in a total of 633 cheka consumers between October 01, 2018, and May 31, 2019. The socio-demographic characteristics and associated factors were collected using a pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire. HBV infection was screened using immune-chromatographic strip tests and positive results were further confirmed with ELISA.
The prevalence of HBV was found to be 18.2% (95% CI, 15.1-21.5). Gender (male) (AOR = 1.757:95% CI, 1.009-3.059), age (35-44 yrs), (AOR = 4.123:95% CI, 1.718-9.892), nature of the job (daily laborer) (AOR = 4.551:95% CI, 1.115-18.57), awareness about the transmission of the disease (AOR = 2.056:95% CI, 1.074-3.934) and previous history of contacts with patients having liver diseases (AOR = 2.496:95% CI, 1.187-5.248) were identified as factors which are being significantly associated with the HBV infection.
Very high endemic levels of HBV infection are identified in the study. Male participants of age between 35 and 44 years, who are daily laborers and are aware of HBV transmission, with a previous history of contacts with patients having liver diseases were even at higher risk of HBV infection. The need for more research to find the links between cheka consumption and other mechanisms of HBV cross-infection in these communities is indicated.

© 2020 The Author(s).