PREVALENCE OF HEPATITIS B VIRUS IN SOUTHERN PUNJAB, PAKISTAN USING REAL TIME PCR

Main Article Content

Ghazala Shaheen
Mudassar Mohiuddin
kinza khan
Atia Iqbal
Hafiz Muhammad Imran
Muhammad Khalid Mansoor
Rubaida Mehmood
Muhammad Yaqoob
Tayyaba Asghar

Keywords

Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Real Time PCR, Southern Punjab, Viral Load, Hepatitis B virus

Abstract

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can lead to the early onset of severe and prolonged liver infections that result in liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in infected individuals. These infections are a global concern especially for developing countries like Pakistan. This study targeted local population of densely populated city Multan, Southern Punjab, who were found seropositive for hepatic infections, viz, hepatitis B (HBV). Accordingly, 176 seropositive samples (124 male and 52 female) were confirmed via Real time PCR. The Real time PCR detected and confirmed viral DNA in 81.8% (144) samples while remaining were negative. In case of male population, 105 individuals were positive, having high viral load in 4/105, moderate viral load in 78/105 and low viral load in remaining 23 individuals. In female population, among 39 positive cases, 3 females were found having high viral load, 31 having moderate and 5 with low viral load. High viral load could be related with the emergence of serious liver disease in both genders. The prevalence of HBV was significantly higher in <25 years age-group than 26-50 years and 51-75 years age groups (P<0.05). The Southern Punjab population of Pakistan has a high prevalence rate of HBV due to lower literacy rate, lack of effective blood screening facilities, poverty, and ignorance regarding HBV risk factors. The high frequency of HBV-infection in the studied area is of concern and highlights the need for adopting proper preventative measures. It is proposed that more initiatives should be taken to educate the general population and training of health care workers regarding the adverse outcomes for HBV and how it transmits.

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