Prevalence and Characterization of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Infection among Blood Donors in Erbil

  • Goran N. Saleh Department of Basic Science, Microbiology Unit, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
  • Chato A. Taher Department of Basic Science, Microbiology Unit, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
Keywords: Blood donors, Hepatitis B surface antigen, Hepatitis B surface antibody, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C


Blood transmitting infectious disease still remains a considerable global health problem. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are two of the most commonly transmitted infectious agents. This prospective cross-sectional study was conducted between December, 2017, and February, 2018, at the Directorate of Blood Bank in Erbil Province, Northern Iraq. During that period, a total of 6173 blood donors donated blood; all blood donors were asked a series of questions through a structured questionnaire designed for such purpose. These patients were serologically examined for HBV and HCV. Positive blood samples were further analyzed serologically and confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Among 6173 blood donors who were investigated for HBV, 7 (0.11%) and 98 (1.6%) were positive for hepatitis B urface antigen (HBs-Ag) and hepatitis B core Antibody (HBc-Ab), respectively, whereas during screening for HCV, 4 (0.06%) were positive for HCV-Ab. Coinfection (dual infection (HBV and HCV) was positive in 1 patient (0.01%). Among 98 reactive samples, 75.5% were positive for HBs antibody (HBs-Ab), the remaining 24 samples (24.5%) were regarded as occult hepatitis B infection (OBI), since they were positive for HBc-Ab, whereas negative both for HBs-Ag and HBs-Ab. The diagnosis of OBI could be confirmed by RT-PCR in 8 samples, 33% of samples. The overall incidence of HBV and HCV among examined blood donors was 0.5 %, and 0.06%, respectively. Amidst that incidence, 0.39 % were diagnosed as OBI. To prevent viral transmission through blood transfusion is needed to combine a different and sensitive method for HBV detection as well as volve tests that have high sensitivity and specificity for serological markers. Moreover, a molecular tool that is sensitive enough to detect very low copies of viral DNA must also be developed.


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How to Cite
Saleh G, Taher C. Prevalence and Characterization of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Infection among Blood Donors in Erbil. cuesj [Internet]. 17Jan.2020 [cited 30Nov.2020];4(1):45-1. Available from:
Research Article