Spread of Hepatitis A and B among Inmates of Correctional Centers: A cause for concern


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 Spread of Hepatitis A and B among Inmates of Correctional Centers: A cause for concern

Okafor, Ifeyinwa  M.,  Okoroiwu Henshaw U., Ogar Chrisopher O. and Esong, Aniekan Aniekan

1Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion Science, Faculty of Medical Laboratory Science, College of Medical Sciences University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria

2Department of Medical Laboratory Science, David Umahi Federal University of Health Sciences, Uburu, Ohaozara LGA, Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Corresponding author:  Okafor, Ifeyinwa M.   Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion Science, Faculty of Medical Lab. Science, College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria

Email address  okaforify12@gmail.com ; okaforify@unical.edu.ng 

Phone Number:  +2348080680620



Correctional centers have populations with higher rates of blood borne infections, including hepatitis B Virus, due to the concentration of impoverished and vulnerable groups of people at increased risk in these settings, such as people who inject drugs and people who exchange sex for drugs or money. Many people who are incarcerated also have risk factors for hepatitis A virus infection mainly due to the environment of closed penal institutions and socioeconomic conditions.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate HAV and HBV virus status among inmates of  a correctional center in Calabar, Cross River State Nigeria..


A total of one hundred inmates with the mean age of 35 years participated in the study. their serum samples were tested for HAV and HBsAg antibody using one step Anti-HAV and Anti-HBV test strips.


The prevalence of HAV infection among the inmates was found to be 1.00% and 10.0% for HBV. Male prison inmates had seroprevalence of 1.14% for HAV while all the females that participated in the study were non-reactive for hepatitis A virus (0.00% prevalence). The result also showed highest prevalence of 14.28% among inmates aged 40 years and above while the lowest prevalence was observed among those aged below 20years with 4.54% prevalence for HBsAg and highest prevalence was recorded between 20 to 40 years of age for hepatitis A with a prevalence of 1.56%. There was a statistically significant association (p<0.05) between duration of stay in prison, equipment sharing, sexual exposure, multiple partners and Hepatitis B virus infection. Alcoholism was also found to associate significantly with both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B virus infection.


10.0% prevalence of Hepatitis B virus infection and 1.0% Hepatitis A virus that were observed among correctional center inmates studied are high and course for concern. Attitude and behaviors by inmates such as tattooing/scarification, injection drugs use, sharing of shaving equipment, multiple sexual partners and alcohol consumption should be discouraged. There is need to promote advocacy programs especially as regards avoiding practices that enhances hepatitis A virus and hepatitis B virus infection and transmission.

Key Words: Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Correctional Center, Infectious disease, inmates

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