Author(s): Aziz S, Muzaffar R, Hafiz S, Abbas Z, Zafar MN,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To document the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), Hepatitis A virus (HAV), Hepatitis C virus (HCV), Hepatitis E virus (HEV) antibodies and Hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg), in the pediatric age group of low socioeconomic urban communities of Karachi and to identify risk factors associated with these infections. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey. PLACE AND DURATION OF STUDY: Three selected squatter settlements of Karachi during April 2002 to December 2004. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Three hundred and eighty children, ages 5 months to 15 years were investigated. Venous blood samples were collected and questionnaire filled on sociodemographic characteristics (family income, number of dependents in the family, area of living, number of people per room per house, and number of children sharing bed with parents and siblings). Gastrointestinal symptoms were recorded. Anti-HAV IgG (Hepatitis A virus IgG antibody), anti-HCV (Hepatitis C virus antibody), anti-HEV (Hepatitis E antibodies) and HBsAg, were analyzed by enzyme immunoassays (EIAs). Samples were also screened for anti-HIV1/2 (human immunodeficiency virus 1 and 2 antibodies by EIA. IgG antibodies against H. pylori were detected by immunochromatography. RESULTS: A correlation between increasing age and seroconversion was seen for hepatotropic viruses. At 14 years and above,100\% of the children were found to be positive for anti-HAV, 26\% for anti-HEV, and 1.4\%, for anti-HCV while HBsAg was positive in 1.9\%. H. pylori infection did not show a significant increase with age. Both anti-HAV and anti-H. pylori were present simultaneously in 30\% of the population investigated. CONCLUSION: With age, increasing number of children acquired antibodies against hepatotropic viruses and H. pylori. Occurrence of HBsAg and anti-HEV at a later age suggests horizontal, rather than vertical transmission.
This article was published in J Coll Physicians Surg Pak
and referenced in Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability