ANTENATAL SCREENING FOR HEPATITIS
B AND C VIRUS CARRIER STATE AT
A UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL
Sajida Yousfani, Firdous Mumtaz, Amna Memon, Muhammad Ali Memon and Raheel Sikandar.
OBJECTIVE: To determine hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) carrier state
among pregnant women at gynaecology and obstetrics department of Liaquat University Hospital,
DESIGN: A descriptive study.
SETTING: Maternity units of Liaquat University Hospital, Hyderabad - Sindh from January 2003
to December 2003.
METHODS: One hundred and three pregnant women with 35 to 40 weeks of pregnancy admitted
in maternity units due to obstetrical reasons were screened for hepatitis B and C seropositivity
after they gave informed consent. Immuno- chromatography and ELISA technique were used
for blood testing. Pregnant women with symptomatic liver disease were excluded from the
study. Convenient sampling approach was adopted for the data collection.
RESULTS: Among screened population, 29.1% of pregnant women were found positive for HBV
or HCV. Out of these, 16.5% women were positive for HCV where as 12.6% for HBV. All women
had history of injections and ear and nose prick where as 20% had positive history of blood
transfusions, followed by history of jaundice among them or with their partner.
CONCLUSION: In our set up, frequency of 29.1% sero-positivity for HBV and HCV among pregnant
women is alarming. These sero-positive mothers are not only at risk of having cirrhosis
and liver cancer later on, but also are a continuous threat to their offsprings and care providers.
Hence, there is a dire need to conduct more epidemiological studies on this problem and take
measures for prevention and control of the disease.
Key words: Hepatitis B Virus. Hepatitis C Virus. Antenatal Care. Screening. Prevention.