Original Research

The prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection in HIV-positive and HIV-negative infants: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Nokukhanya Mdlalose, Raveen Parboosing, Pravi Moodley
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 5, No 1 | a283 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v5i1.283 | © 2016 Nokukhanya Mdlalose, Raveen Parboosing, Pravi Moodley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 November 2014 | Published: 31 March 2016

About the author(s)

Nokukhanya Mdlalose, Department of Virology, National Health Laboratory Service, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Raveen Parboosing, Department of Virology, National Health Laboratory Service, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Pravi Moodley, Department of Virology, National Health Laboratory Service, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) amongst South African infants and children has been reported in the pre-HIV era. Despite the reported high prevalence of HIV in the general population of South Africa, the rate of HIV/HBV co-infection amongst infants and children remains poorly reported.

Objectives: We describe the prevalence of HBV infection amongst HIV-positive and HIV-negative infants by molecular methods of diagnosis using dried blood spot samples.

Methods: This retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted between July 2011 and December 2011 in an academic referral laboratory offering viral diagnostic services to the entire KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. A total of 322 study samples were collected from discarded residual dried blood spot samples following routine infant diagnosis of HIV. Equal proportions of HIV-positive and HIV-negative infant specimens were studied. Statistical differences in the prevalence of HBV between the HIV-positive and HIV-negative samples were calculated using the Pearson chi-square test, and a p-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Further testing for HBV DNA using a nested polymerase chain reaction method was performed.

Results: The overall prevalence of HBV was 10%. In the HIV-positive group, 21 of 161 infants tested positive for HBV compared with 12 of 161 HIV-negative infants who tested positive for HBV. The proportion of infants infected with HBV was marginally higher amongst HIV positiveinfants (13.0%; 95% CI 6.8–19.9) compared with HIV-negative infants (7.5%; 95% C I2.5–13.7; P = 0.098), though not statistically significant.

Conclusion: The finding of a 10% HBV prevalence in this infant cohort is clinically significant. The non-statistically significant difference in HBV prevalence between the HIV-positive and HIV-negative infants suggests that high prevalence of HBV infection in children may be a problem independent of HIV.


Keywords

Hepatitis B virus; Infants; South Africa

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