Prevalence of Transmissible Infections Among Breast Cancer Patients in Calabar, Nigeria

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Joseph E. Udosen, Euphoria C. Akwiwu, Utibe-Abasi Felix, David U. Akpotuzor, Josephine O. Akpotuzor

AJLHTS: Original Paper


Introduction: Transmissible infections including those of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and syphilis remain public health challenges. The co-existence of these infections with other disease conditions of medical importance can be quite challenging, particularly if there is no prior knowledge of the infection status. Apart from the direct impact on the affected patient, there is also the concern of safety for care givers as well as the risk of nosocomial transmission to other patients. This study focused on pre- operative screening of breast cancer patients to determine the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and syphilis infections

Materials and Methods: This study was conducted among breast cancer patients in Calabar, Cross River State of Nigeria. A structured questionnaire was administered by two trained interviewers to obtain biodata and socio-demographic characteristics. Screening for antibodies to HIV, HBV, HCV and Syphilis were performed by standard serological techniques

Results: General prevalence for all the screened infections was 18%. Distribution of specific infections revealed hepatitis B viral infection to be highest (8%), followed by HIV infection (6%). Hepatitis C virus infection and syphilis were the least with 2% rates each. Among participants living with these infections, 33% had previous knowledge of their status, while the remaining 67% had no prior knowledge. 

Conclusion: Hepatitis B virus had the highest prevalence while the lowest were HCV and syphilis. Greater percentage of infected subjects were not aware of their status prior to the preoperative screening

Key words: Breast cancer, transmissible infections, prevalence

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