Seroprevalence and risk factors for hepatitis B and hepatitis C in three large regions of Kazakhstan

Alexander Nersesov, Arnur Gusmanov, Byron Crape, Gulnara Junusbekova, Salim Berkinbayev, Almagul Jumabayeva, Jamilya Kaibullayeva, Saltanat Madenova, Mariya Novitskaya, Margarita Nazarova, Abduzhappar Gaipov, Aiymkul Ashimkhanova, Kainar Kadyrzhanuly, Kuralay Atageldiyeva, Sandro Vento, Alpamys Issanov

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BACKGROUND & AIMS: Kazakhstan has implemented comprehensive programs to reduce the incidence of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. This study aims to assess seroprevalence and risk factors for HBsAg and anti-HCV positivity in three large regions of Kazakhstan.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in three regions geographically remote from each other. Participants were randomly selected using a two-stage stratified cluster sampling and were surveyed by a questionnaire based on the WHO STEP survey instrument. Blood samples were collected for HBsAg and anti-HCV testing.

RESULTS: A total of 4,620 participants were enrolled. The seroprevalence was 5.5% (95%CI: 3.6%-8.4%) for HBsAg and 5.1% (95%CI: 3.5%-7.5%) for anti-HCV antibodies. Both were more prevalent in the western and northern regions than in the southern. A history of blood transfusion was significantly associated with anti-HCV presence, with odds ratios (ORs) of 2.10 (95%CI: 1.37-3.21) and was borderline associated with HBsAg 1.39 (95%CI: 0.92-2.10), respectively. Having a family member with viral hepatitis was also borderline associated (2.09 (95%CI: 0.97-4.50)) with anti-HCV positivity.

CONCLUSIONS: This study found a high-intermediate level of endemicity for HBsAg and a high level of endemicity for anti-HCV antibodies in three large regions of Kazakhstan. We found that history of surgery was not associated with HbsAg neither with anti-HCV seropositivity rates. Blood transfusion was associated with anti-HCV seropositivity, however, to investigate effectiveness of the introduced comprehensive preventive measures in health care settings, there is a need to conduct further epidemiological studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0261155
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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