Journal article Open Access
Taura, D. W.; Hassan, A.; Dahiru, M.; Yayo, A. M.; Takalmawa, H.
The presence of hepatitis B envelope antigen (HBeAg) in serum indicates active viral replication in the Hepatocyte. HBeAg is thus a surrogate marker for the presence of hepatitis B virus (HBV). To determine the relationship between the positivity for HBsAg, HBeAg and development of hepatocellular diseases (HCDs). Two hundred (200) blood samples each of which were HBsAg-seropositive amongst patients attending Aminu Kano teaching hospital Kano, Nigeria, between April and November 2012, were tested for HBeAg using HBV combo kits (Cortez diagnostics). The status of HCDs was ascertained by some specific liver enzyme tests, which include alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). The results of the study involved the screening of 200 sero-positives patients to HBsAg, out of which 34 (17.0%) were sero-positive to HBeAg. The relative risk of infection was found to be higher in males 31(15.5%) than in females 3(1.5%) for the surrogate marker. The most susceptible age group for HBeAg infection (6.0%) was found to be higher in the bracket ≤20 years. The occurrence of active, ongoing liver disease, indicated by the presence of HBeAg was significantly higher among males (P≤0.05). Analysis of the liver enzymes activity showed elevated serum level of ALT in 28(44.8%) of the HBeAg infected subjects indicating ongoing liver damage with 6(5%) perhaps developed hepatocellular diseases in relation to HBeAg. The percentage prevalence rate of HBeAg was higher in males than females and there was strong association between the positivity for HBeAg and the development of HCDs.