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Prevalence, correlates and pattern of Hepatitis B among antenatal clinic attenders in Yaounde-Cameroon: is perinatal transmission of HBV neglected in Cameroon?

Nelson J Fomulu12, Frederick LI Morfaw13*, Judith N Torimiro3, Philip Nana1, Mve V Koh4 and Takang William4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicines and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde 1, Yaounde, Cameroon

2 Centre Hospitalier et Universitaire de Yaounde (CHUY), Yaounde, Cameroon

3 Centre for the Study and Control of Communicable Disease (CSCCD), Faculty of Medicines and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde 1, Yaounde, Cameroon

4 ‘Chantal Biya’ International Reference Centre for Research on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Management (CIRCB), Yaounde, Cameroon

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2013, 13:158  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-158

Published: 8 August 2013



Few studies have evaluated the prevalence of HBV in the general Cameroonian population or among antenatal attendants. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, correlates and patterns of Hepatitis B surface antigen among pregnant women attending antenatal care in Yaounde-Cameroon.


This was a cross-sectional multicenter study carried out in a referral hospital and two secondary hospitals in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. The study lasted 15 months (March 2011 to June 2012), and recruited 959 pregnant women. Patient recruitment was consecutive. The HBsAg was tested using the Monalisa HBsAg Ultra ELISA kit. Other hepatitis B markers were equally tested.

We used the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 14.0 software to conduct a quantitative analysis of the derived data. Simple descriptive statistics such as means, standard deviations, and proportions were used to describe the data. We tested for association in categorical variables using the chi-squared (χ2) test. The odds ratio (OR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were used to summarise the strength of association between specific binary exposure and outcome variables. The level of statistical significance for the study was set at p < 0.05.


The prevalence of hepatitis B infection (HBsAg) among antenatal clinic attenders in our setting was 7.7%. Amongst these women, just 5.4% were previously aware of their HBsAg status. The rate of HBV infectivity was high, with 28% of HBsAg positive women having evidence of HBeAg in their plasma, and up to 45.8% of these women lacking antibodies against hepatitis B e antigen (anti-HBe). About 41% of the pregnant women had had previous contact with HBV as evidenced by the positive status for anti-HBc.

Just 2.7% of the pregnant women had previously been vaccinated against HBV. The mean age for HBsAg positivity in our setting was 26.9 ±4.7 years, and the most affected age group was the 25 – 29 years age group. There was no statistically significant association between age or other socio-demographic risk factors and HBsAg status. Numerous risk factors for HBV acquisition exists in our settings, but amongst these, only a history of a contact with hepatitis B infection was found to be significantly associated with HBsAg positivity (OR 1.63, 95% C.I 1.15-2.30). Finally, the coinfection rate of HBV/HIV was 0.74%.


The prevalence of hepatitis B among pregnant women in Cameroon is high, and the pattern tends towards high infectivity and therefore increased risk of perinatal HBV transmission. These highlight the need to step up preventive efforts against hepatitis B infection and perinatal HBV transmission in our community.

Hepatitis B; Pregnancy; Prevalence; Risk factors; Low resource setting