Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Prevalence and risk factors of hepatitis B and C virus infections among the general population and blood donors in Morocco

Warda Baha12, Abderrahim Foullous1, Noureddine Dersi1, Thierry Paluku They-they34, Khadija El alaoui3, Nadia Nourichafi3, Bouchra Oukkache4, Fatiha Lazar1, Soumaya Benjelloun1, My Mustapha Ennaji2, Abdelouhad Elmalki1, Hassan Mifdal3 and Abdelouaheb Bennani1*

Author affiliations

1 Molecular Biology Laboratory, Department of Medical Biology, Pasteur Institute of Morocco, 1, Place Louis Pasteur, Casablanca, 20360, Morocco

2 Virology, Hygien & Microbiology Laboratory, Faculty of Science and Technology, 146, route de Rabat, Mohammedia, 20650, Morocco

3 Regional Blood Transfusion Center, 1, rue Faidouzi Mohamed, Casablanca, 20360, Morocco

4 Hematology Laboratory, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Ibn Rochd, 1, Rue des Hôpitaux, Casablanca, Morocco

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:50  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-50

Published: 18 January 2013



Viral hepatitis is a serious public health problem affecting billions of people globally. Limited information is available on this issue in Morocco. This cross-sectional study was undertaken with the aim of determining the seroprevalence and risk factors of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among the general population and among blood donors.


Blood samples from volunteers, have been screened with ELISA tests for detecting the hepatitis-B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-HCV. Within the seroreactive patients for HCV in the general population, RT-PCR was performed by the Cobas Ampliprep/Cobas Amplicor.


HCV and HBV-seropositivity was documented in 1.58% and 1.81% out of 41269 and 23578 participants respectively from the general population. Two patients were found to be co-infected. HCV-RNA was detected by PCR in 70.9% of the 195 anti-HCV positive subjects. The anti-HCV prevalence was not different among males and females (P = 0.3). It increased with age; the highest prevalence was observed among subjects with >50 years old (3.12%). Various risk factors for acquiring HCV infection were identified; age, dental treatment, use of glass syringes and surgical history. In addition to these factors, gender and sexual risk behaviors were found to be associated with higher prevalence of hepatitis B. The HBV positivity was significantly higher among males than females participants in all age groups (P < 0.01). The peak was noticed among males aged 30–49 years (2.4%). None of the 152 persons younger than 20 years had HBsAg or anti-HCV. The prevalence of anti-HCV and HBsAg among 169605 blood donors was 0.62% and 0.96% respectively.


Our study provided much important information concerning hepatitis B and C prevalence and risk factors; it confirmed the intermediate endemicity for HCV infection and pointed to a decreasing trend of HBV incidence, which might reclassify Morocco in low HBV endemicity area. This could be attributed primarily to the universal HBV vaccination among infants and healthcare workers over the past 13 years. HCV and HBV infections in the present survey were mainly associated with nosocomial exposures. Prevention and control of HBV infection are needed to reduce HBV transmission between adults.

Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Prevalence; General population; Risk factors; Blood donors; Morocco