High prevalences of hepatitis B and C virus infections among adults living in Binh Thuan province, Vietnam

Hepatol Res. 2015 Mar;45(3):259-68. doi: 10.1111/hepr.12350. Epub 2014 Jun 9.


Aim: Vietnam is one of the countries with the highest mortality from liver cancer, which is mostly attributed to hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. For planning preventive strategies against these infections, we investigated prevalences of HBV and HCV infections among adults living in Binh Thuan, Vietnam.

Methods: Our study consisted of a serological survey for HBV and HCV infections and a questionnaire survey on their risk factors. The sample size was calculated based on anticipated rate of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). Subjects were randomly sampled using a multistage method. Confirmation and family-tree surveys were conducted to examine persistent HBV infection and intrafamilial HBV transmission, respectively.

Results: A total of 509 adults, comprised of 230 men (45.2%) and 279 women (54.8%), were enrolled. Prevalences of HBsAg, hepatitis B surface antibody and hepatitis B core antibody were 15.3%, 60.3% and 71.7%, respectively. Most HBV DNA positive sera were classified as genotype B (75.3%) and C (11.7%). Of HBsAg positive subjects, 96.7% were persistently infected and one acutely HBV infected person was identified. Family-tree surveys suggested that horizontal extrafamilial HBV transmission might have been frequent. Prevalences of anti-HCV and HCV RNA were 3.3% and 1.8%, respectively. HCV genotype 6a was prominent (55.6%).

Conclusion: In Binh Thuan, prevalences of HBV and HCV infections are high, HBV genotype B and HCV genotype 6a are predominant, and horizontal HBV transmission may still occur. Therefore, raising the coverage of a universal HBV vaccination program may be an effective liver cancer control in Vietnam.

Keywords: Vietnam; general population; hepatitis B virus; hepatitis C virus; seroepidemiology.