Analyses of blood donor samples from eight provinces in Lao PDR suggest considerable variation concerning HBV exposure and carriage

PLoS One. 2021 Dec 13;16(12):e0259814. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0259814. eCollection 2021.


Introduction: Hepatitis B is endemic in Lao PDR and about 9% of the adult population is chronically infected. In this study, we investigated regional, occupational, age and sex-related differences in hepatitis B epidemiology in Lao blood donors.

Methods: 5017 voluntary blood donors from 8 different provinces were tested for hepatitis B markers by ELISA. Predictors for the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibodies against the core antigen (anti-HBc) were assessed by bivariate and multivariable analyses.

Results: In total, 41% of the participants were positive for anti-HBc; the HBsAg prevalence was estimated at 6.9% among all participants (9.2% among first-time donors and 3.9% among repeat donors). Among first-time donors, HBsAg positivity was associated independently with being male (p<0.001), being from the North (p<0.001) and being soldier (p<0.001). Participants were more likely to be anti-HBc positive when they were male (p<0.001), from the Northern provinces (p<0.001) and older than 20 years (p<0.01).

Conclusion: In conclusion, our study confirmed an overall high HBsAg and anti-HBc prevalence in Lao PDR, albeit with considerable regional variation. The identification of a sizeable number of HBsAg positives among repeat donors warrants a thorough investigation of current blood screening, record keeping, donor identification and counselling practises.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Donors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis B / pathology
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / blood
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / blood
  • Humans
  • Laos / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Luxembourg (project “Luxembourg-Laos Partnership for Research and Capacity Building in Infectious Disease Surveillance II”) and the Luxembourg Institute of Health. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.