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Objective: To determine the seroprevalence of carriage of Hepatitis B surface antigen among blood donors in Isangi, a rural health area in northeastern DR Congo.
Methods: This was a retrospective study conducted in the Isangi Rural Health Zone from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2017 involving 2,298 volunteer blood donors. Data were collected anonymously from blood donor records and registers taking into account the following variables: age, sex, profession, educational level, marital status and type of donor. Alere DetermineTM HBsAg test (Chiba, Japan) was used for screening donors’ serum samples.
Results: The prevalence of HBs antigen carriage was 3.2% among volunteer blood donors in Isangi. It was found higher among donor aged 20 to 29, males, jobless, low education, donors living alone and family/replacement donors. The seropositivity of the HBs antigen was significantly associated with sex and marital status.
Conclusion: The prevalence of carriage of HBs antigen is low in Isangi blood donors (3.2%). But this seroprevalence would be underestimated because of the use of the rapid diagnostic test in the biological qualification of blood donations. On the other hand, it would reflect an epidemiological difference of infectious agents between rural and urban areas. Strategies to improve blood safety in the Isangi Rural Health Zone should be geared towards abandoning family giving, promoting volunteer giving, organising club donors and keeping them loyal.