Prevalence of hepatitis B and C viral infections in Pakistan: findings of a national survey appealing for effective prevention and control measures
A prevalence survey on hepatitis B and C infections was carried out to obtain national estimates and assess epidemiological dynamics and underlying risk factors. Overall prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) of 2.5% and 4.8%, respectively, reflected a combined infection rate of 7.6% in the general population, consistent with an ongoing high burden of chronic liver disease (CLD). There was significant association of these viral infections with a range of risk factors led by reuse of syringes. These findings validate currently implemented strategies by the national programme for the control of hepatitis viralinfections, including universal vaccination of newborns and high-risk groups, support of auto-disable syringes, promotion of infection control and patient safety, public health education, and management of needy CLD patients as a poverty-reduction health intervention.