Predicting Acute Viral Hepatitis Serum Markers (A and E) in Patients with Suspected Acute Viral Hepatitis Attending Primary Health Care Centers in Baghdad: A One Year Cross-Sectional Study

  •  Ahmed Al-Naaimi    
  •  Atallah Turky    
  •  Hanan Khaleel    
  •  Rasha Jalil    
  •  Olah Mekhlef    
  •  Susan Kareem    
  •  Nadia Hasan    
  •  Azhar Dhadain    


Background: Viral hepatitis is an important preventable infectious disease with various rates of occurrence in different areas of the world. The main objective of the present study was to evaluate the role of some risk factors in predicting a positive acute viral hepatitis marker among patients with suspected acute viral hepatitis in a primary health care setting in Baghdad. Besides, finding out the occurrence of jaundice, contribution of viruses A and E to the cases that have occurred in Baghdad province was also searched for. Methods: Over a period of 1 year a descriptive cross sectional study was carried out at the primary health care centers in Baghdad. A questionnaire form was used to collect data about demographic factors and the results of the investigations. Total serum bilirubin and bilirubin in urine were done at the primary health care center laboratory. The rest of the sera samples were sent to Hepatitis referral Lab at Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) to be tested for anti HAV IgM and anti HEV IgM using ELISA technique. Results: A total of 7,576,372 consultations to primary health care centers were recorded in Baghdad. Among those a total of 2,692 cases (35.5 per 100,000 consultations) were labeled as acute viral hepatitis cases. A positive hepatitis viral marker (A, B, C and E) was found in 1,332 cases (17.6 per 100,000 consultations). More than two fifths (44.8%) of cases were positive for anti-HAV antibodies and another 1.6% had positive anti-HEV antibodies. Conclusion: During 1 year period, the rate of occurrence of suspected acute viral hepatitis cases was 35.5 per 100000 of consultations to the primary health care centers in Baghdad. Of the total suspected cases, only 17.6 per 100000 of the consultations were positive for one of the viral hepatitis markers. Those who tested positive for one of the viral hepatitis markers represent 49.5% of the suspected cases. Proportion of anti HAV IgM positive tests among suspected cases was 44.8%. Factors that were able to predict positive Anti HAV IgM were (younger age group, negative history of cupping or tattooing, negative past history of jaundice). Male gender was the least important predictor of a positive case for anti HAV IgM. Proportion of Anti HEV IgM positive tests among suspected cases was 1.6%. Of the factors studied, only age was able to predict a positive Anti HEV IgM in those more than 15 years. Further studies are recommended.

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