Researchers in Morocco published a study on Friday that shows a decreasing trend of hepatitis B virus incidence, which could be the result of a successful vaccination campaign.
The scientists took blood samples from volunteers to detect the hepatitis-B surface antigen and the antigen for hepatitis C. The study found HBV seropositivity in 1.81 percent of 23,578 participants and HCV seropositivity in 1.58 percent of 41,269 participants from the general population.
Viral hepatitis affects billions of people globally, but there is limited information available on the issue in Morocco. The cross-sectional study helped to provide researchers with data related to the seroprevalence and risk factors of HBV and HCV among blood donors and the general population.
The study found that risk factors related to HCV infection included age, dental treatment, surgical history and use of glass syringes. The highest prevalence of HCV was among subjects 50 years and up with 3.12 percent of the participants tested.
HBV positivity had the same risk factors as HCV, in addition to gender and sexual risk behaviors. HBV positivity was significantly higher among males than female participants in all age groups. The highest incidence was found among males 30 to 49 years of age.
The researchers determined intermediate endemicity for HCV infection and found a decreasing trend of HBV incidence. The decreasing trend could be the result of a universal HBV vaccination campaign among healthcare workers and infants in the last 13 years.