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Keywords:

  • HAV;
  • HBV;
  • HCV;
  • HDV;
  • epidemiology;
  • Kosovo

Abstract

The prevalence of hepatitis infection among the Kosovarian population is largely unknown. The aim of the study was to evaluate the prevalence and risk factors of hepatitis A, B, C, and D (HAV, HBV, HCV, HDV) infection among the general population and in a group of health care workers in the Kosovo region. Overall, 1,287 participants were recruited, 460 males (36%) and 827 females (64%). Health care workers accounted for 253 individuals (20%), 301 were blood donor candidates (23%), 334 were pregnant women (26%), and 399 (31%) were subjects who had been examined in two clinics for routine laboratory testing. The prevalence of total anti-HAV was 88.6% (95% CI: 86.69–90.25). Prevalence of anti-HAV among children up to 10 years was 40.5% (95% CI: 29.6–53.15), reaching 70% (95% CI: 62.25–77.10) in the 11–20 age group. Age, living in rural areas and unemployment were factors associated with higher risk of HAV infection. HBsAg was detected in 2.4% (95% CI: 1.57–3.38%) of the study sample, with a significant age trend (P-value:0.0110). Positivity for total anti-HBc was detected in 18.4% (95% CI = 16.27–20.59) of the subjects. Ninety-three subjects (7.2%) were positive for anti-HBs alone. An association between age, HSV-2 positivity, working nurses and HBV infection has been observed. One patient was HDV positive. The prevalence for HCV was 0.5% (95% CI: 0.22–1.12%). HAV infection seems to be high-intermediate, while HBV shows an intermediate endemicity. It is necessary to highlight the importance of an immunization strategy against HAV and HBV in reducing the incidence of the infection. The prevalence for HCV was very low. J. Med. Virol. 80:833–840, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.