Hepatitis B and C virus infections among pregnant women in Arab and African countries
Introduction: The epidemiology of viral hepatitis during pregnancy is of paramount importance for health planners and program managers. Data on viral hepatitis during pregnancy are not readily available in many African and Arab countries. Both regions have their own unique geography, and comprise over 59 states with crossover and interaction of different cultures.
Methodology: A systematic electronic search of the published literature was conducted and data on epidemiology and risk factors of maternal hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and hepatitis C (HCV) infection in Arab and African countries were extracted from relevant studies.
Results: The serology of hepatitis viruses varies greatly among these countries, with different viral genotype patterns. Such a variation in prevalence could be explained by the different risk factors involved. Sexual contact, perinatal infection, blood and its derivatives, hemodialysis, intravenous and percutaneous drug use, and occupational, habitual, and social behavior have been identified as risk factors for hepatitis transmission in various settings in these countries.
Conclusions: Infection from hepatitis B and C viruses imposes major socioeconomic and even political burdens on such young and dynamic societies. Thus strategies and clear policies of intervention are required to combat the consequences of hepatitis B and C at both the regional and national levels.
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