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.