Prevalence of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C in Migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa Before Onward Dispersal Toward Europe
Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Viral hepatitis is a global health care challenge due to its worldwide distribution, chronic persistence, complications, and high prevalence with unchecked conditions in areas like sub-Saharan Africa. A high proportion of asymptomatic infections allows serious complications and poses infection risk to destination populations. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of both HBV and HCV among 3248 migrants from different parts of sub-Saharan Africa newly arrived at Kufra, Libya, a remote agricultural North African city. All these migrants were required by the Libyan authorities to undergo a complete medical check-up for different purposes such as joining new jobs, and obtaining licenses for trade and commerce. UAT sera from 3248 migrants, aged 18–53 years, attending the Al Kufra city hospital from January 01 to December 31, 2019, were screened for HBsAg and anti-HCV antibody by rapid tests and positive samples were further tested by ELISA method. The results showed that 761/3248 (23.4%) of the migrants were positive for HBV and 1014/3248 (31.2%) were positive for HCV. Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa carry high rates of HBV and HCV infection. This suggests the importance of increased attention to actions to deal with findings among positive migrants, and for awareness about risks of transmission to the local population. Study results indicate the value of routine migrant monitoring, the need for awareness in destination country health authorities, and the potential for impact on migrant destination populations.
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