Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa with a range of 8 to 20% prevalence of chronic carriers. Most HBV infections occur early in life by perinatal transmission from the mother to her newborn baby, and horizontal transmission from child to child resulting from blood contact. This study was therefore carried out to assess the prevalence of Hepatitis B virus surface antigenemia (HBsAg) in children born in Ilesha, Osun State, Southwestern Nigeria. A total of 144 children at age range 21 days to 13 years were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in Ilesha using Bio-Rad Monolisa HBsAg Ultra kit [enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), ELISA method]. Twenty (13.9%) children were seropositive for HBsAg. The age bracket 1-5 years had the highest number of children and the highest number of HBsAg positive cases (15.8%). Female children had a higher HBsAg antigenemia of 15.4% compared to 12.7% for the male children. High prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen was found among the children. Focus should be re-intensified on childhood vaccination and information dissemination on the risk and mode of transmission of HBV. Women especially, should be educated on HBV to prevent Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of the infection.
Key words: Children, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Hepatitis B virus surface antigenemia (HBsAg), Nigeria.
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