Prevalence of hepatitis B infection among the primitive tribes of Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Murhekar, M. V. ; Murhekar, K. M. ; Das, D. ; Arankalle, V. A. ; Sehgal, S. C. (2000) Prevalence of hepatitis B infection among the primitive tribes of Andaman & Nicobar Islands Indian Journal of Medical Research, 111 . pp. 199-203. ISSN 0019-5340

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Andaman and Nicobar Islands, are the home of six primitive tribes. No information is available on the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection among them. Hence a study was undertaken during April 1998 to March 1999 to assess the seroprevalence of HBV infection among the four accessible tribes of these islands. A total of 1266 serum samples were collected from four tribes (Nicobarese, Shompens, Onges and Great Andamanese) and tested for the presence of HBsAg and anti-HBs. Information about different risk factors associated with HBV infection was also collected from the Nicobarese tribe. The overall seropositivity rate of HBsAg among the Nicobarese was 23.3% (95% C.I. 21.0-25.9). Hepatitis B was also found to be an important health problem among the Shompens and Onges with HBsAg positivity of 37.8 and 31.0%, respectively. The age-wise distribution of these serological markers among Nicobarese tribe indicate that the infection is very common in all the age groups. The seroprevalence was also found to be very high among children. The findings of the present study indicate that hepatitis B infection is hyperendemic among the primitive tribes of these islands. Though none of the risk factors studied in the Nicobarese was found to be significantly associated with HBV infection, the fact that almost 20% of the women in the reproductive age group were positive for HBsAg indicates the possibility of vertical transmission among the Nicobarese. Further studies are required to find out other modes of transmission.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Council of Medical Research.
ID Code:59769
Deposited On:07 Sep 2011 14:36
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