Serological and Molecular Prevalence of HBV and HCV and their Possible Transmission Routes in Volunteer Blood Donors of Punjab Pakistan

Research Article

Austin Virol and Retrovirology. 2014;1(2): 4.

Serological and Molecular Prevalence of HBV and HCV and their Possible Transmission Routes in Volunteer Blood Donors of Punjab Pakistan

Amna Rasheed1, Sajid Naeem1, Nasir Ali2, Suliman Qadir Afridi2, Muhammad Zubair1, Waseem Ahmad1, Muhammad Muddassir Ali2*, Abdul Moeed3, Sajjadullah1 and Furqan Awan3

1Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Govt. College University, Pakistan

2Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pakistan

3Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UVAS, Pakistan

*Corresponding author: Muhammad Muddassir Ali, Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan

Received: September 29, 2014; Accepted: November 18, 2014; Published: November 20, 2014


Introduction: Hepatitis B and C viruses are common transfusion-transmissible infectious agents and are threats to safe blood transfusion. This paper aimed to determine the sero and molecular epidemiology, risk factors and tendency of these viruses in volunteer blood donors in various districts of Punjab, Pakistan.

Methods: Total 2957 apparently healthy blood donors from different districts of Punjab were selected and subjected to screening for HBV and HCV markers and qualitative PCR was conducted. All the blood donors were interviewed and all the possible information was recorded in specifically designed data sheet.

Results: Out of 2957consecutive blood donors 2920 (98.74%) were males and 37 (1.25%) were females. The number of younger blood donors was significantly higher (p<0.0005) as compared to age group 36-45years. The overall prevalence of HBV and HCV was 1.18% (35/2957) and 4.93% (146/2957), respectively. Prevalence of anti HCV positive cases and HBsAg was found higher in Nankana and Bahawalpur. The HBsAg and anti-HCV were more common in AB+ve and B+ve blood groups respectively. History of dental treatment and beautyparlor /Barber shop were common highest risk factors. Among all donors only 4.09%(121) were vaccinated against hepatitis B.

Conclusion: From the present study it was concluded that a considerable percentage of the apparently healthy volunteer blood donors carry HCV and HBV agents. Dental procedures and beautyparlor/Barbershop were the most common risk factors. To ensure the safety of blood for recipient, comprehensive screening of donors’ blood using standard methods are highly recommended.

Keywords: Hepatitis C Virus; Hepatitis B Virus Punjab; Blood donors


In Pakistan safe blood transfusion remains a major concern due to the high prevalence of a number of circulating Transfusion- Transmissible Infections (TTIs) particularly hepatitis causing viruses in the region, inadequate blood transfusion services/ policies, infrastructure, and financial resources. Hepatitis may be caused by viruses, bacteria, drugs or excess alcohol intake. The most important causes of acute and chronic viral hepatitis are due to the six well characterized hepatotrophic viruses A,B,C,D,E,&G [1]. Differentiation of viral hepatitis agents can be made only with the help of specific serological tests [2].

All types of hepatitis viruses are endemic in Pakistan. However, their prevalence varies in different areas of the country because of the geographical distances and variability in the ethnicity of the population [3]. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) continues to be a major disease burden on the world. In 1999 the WHO estimated a worldwide prevalence of about 3% with the virus affecting 170 million people worldwide [4]. In Europe, general prevalence of HCV is about 1% but varies among different countries [5]. So, present study was designed to investigate molecular prevalence of hepatitis B and C in relation to blood groups and environmental factors by collecting large number of samples from healthy donors who visited the different blood banks Punjab, Pakistan.


Data from 2957 consecutive blood donors were included for up to 1 year and analyzed from different districts of Punjab. A Performa was filled for each donor (with age between 18-60 years and weight >50 Kg) containing information regarding name, age, sex, address, education/ awareness, blood groups, screening results, vaccination status, history of transfusion/ blood donation, injection, infection of spouse, attending hepatitis patients, profession, dental treatment, needle prick, beauty parlor/barber shop, tattooing and any others. Donors with history of hepatitis, current or recent systemic disease/ or history of drug abuse, surgery and blood or blood products transfusion with last 6 months were excluded from study. All the donors included in this study were unpaid volunteers and consent was obtained from all patients. The study was approved by the Ethical Committee Bacteriologist to Government of Punjab, Health Department.

Blood grouping of all the donors was done by the slide and tile method using commercially available reagents for blood grouping (DIAGAST inc. France) controls of known groups was run along with the screening of Hepatitis B Surface Antigen (HBsAg) and HCV were performed by using Abbot (USA) kit which uses an immunochrome autographic qualitative detection. Positive and negative sera were run as controls along with the tests. Further confirmations of the samples were done by the qualitative PCR by the method as described by the villano et al 2013.

Statistical analysis

SPSS version 14.0 for windows was employed and results were obtained in rates (%).


Demographic characteristics of volunteer blood donors are shown in Table 1. Out of total 2957 blood donors 2920 (98.74%) were males and 37 (1.25%) were females. The number of males and females young blood donors was much higher as compared to the other age groups (P-value < 0.001%).