PREVALENCE OF HEPATITIS C AND ASSOCIATED RISK FACTORS IN YOUTHS BETWEEN 15 AND 30 YEARS IN BONADIKOMBO, SOUTH WEST
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Viral hepatitis is a major infectious disease of global concern. In Bonadikombo, the prevalence of viral hepatitis (HCV) is poorly understood due to problems of lack of information and underdiagnosis of HCV associated with lack of medical facilities. The availability of a highly accurate, rapid, point-of-care test for hepatitis C virus (HCV) may be useful in addressing the problem by increasing opportunities for testing outside of traditional clinical settings. The current study investigated the prevalence and risk factors of HCV infection in relation to sex, age and associated symptoms among local population of Bonadikombo, South West for a period of 14 days (2 weeks) from February 22, 2022 – March 07, 2022.
The present study was based on a stratified randomization technique for human clinical studies. The data was collected randomly from the human population aging from 15-30 years. The population was divided into 2 age groups, male and female, then each group was divided again into two, that is, young (age below 21 years) and adult (age 21 to 30 years).
A total of 68 patients attending Bonadikombo integrated health center were randomly selected and a questionnaire was provided and administered to determine the risk factors. Blood was collected and screened for anti-HCV antibodies and Hematology abnormalities in the HCV infected patients were also investigated. Anti-HCV antibody and active HCV infection were found in 4.41% of total participants.
This was made up of 6.9% in total males and 2.6% in total females The hematological abnormalities observed in the HCV infected patients included anemia, leucopenia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia. The HCV infection was significantly higher in the older population (21-30 years) and single sexually active individuals.
Associated risk factors such as excessive alcohol and smoking cigarette contributed greatly as a promoter of the infection while associated symptoms of hepatitis C for positive patients, including Fever, Loss of appetite, Stomach pain, Tiredness and vomiting were prominent with one case of an asymptomatic (carrier) patient.
Further studies to determine the factors causing the high prevalence of HCV and how to better the management of the infection in Bonadikombo, south west are recommended.
Key words: Hepatitis C, prevalence, promotive factor, age, sex, hematological abnormalities
INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW
Hepatitis is primarily caused by infection with one of at least five different viruses, each of which has a different epidemiologic pattern of transmission, a different clinical outcome and a different mean of prevention. According to Seegar, Mason and Kamal different viruses including hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and G cause viral infections of human liver. Hepatitis C virus was identified in 1989. (Phil et al., 2009). Hepatitis is an inflammation, or swelling, of the liver while viral hepatitis is the term used for any inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), but there are other possible causes of hepatitis. These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol. Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease that occurs when your body makes antibodies against your liver tissue. Excess alcohol consumption can cause liver damage and inflammation. This may also be referred to as alcoholic hepatitis. The alcohol directly injures the cells of your liver. Over time, it can cause permanent damage and lead to thickening or scarring of liver tissue (cirrhosis) and liver failure. Other toxic causes of hepatitis include misuse of medications and exposure to toxins. Autoimmune system response, In some cases, the immune system mistakes the liver as harmful and attacks it. This causes ongoing inflammation that can range from mild to severe, often hindering liver function. It’s three times more common in women than in men. The five main viral classifications of hepatitis are hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. A different virus is responsible for each type of viral hepatitis. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 354 million people currently live with chronic hepatitis B and C globally. (Healthline Hepatitis, 2001)