Hepatitis B treatment eligibility in West Africa: Uncertainties and need for prospective cohort studies

2017 Liver International 37;8 (1116-1121)

BACKGROUND & AIMS: While universal screening of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is recommended in high burden countries, little is known about the proportion of HBV-infected persons in need of antiviral therapy in these settings. METHODS: Prisoners in Senegal and Togo as well as female sex workers and men who have sex with men in Cote d'Ivoire were screened for HBV infection. All HBsAg-positive participants underwent transient elastography, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and HBV viral load (VL) quantification. Individuals with cirrhosis or those aged >30 years with an HBV replication >/=20 000 IU/mL and elevated ALT were considered eligible for antiviral therapy. RESULTS: Of 1256 participants, 110 (8.8%) were HBsAg positive; their median age was 30 years [interquartile range: 25-33] and 96 (86.5%) were men. Three individuals (2.7%) had cirrhosis, while 28 (29.5%) of 94 participants with available measurements had an HBV VL >/=20 000 IU/mL. Overall, 11 (10.0%) subjects were considered eligible for immediate antiviral treatment (2.1% of participants in Dakar, 7.7% in Abidjan and 21.6% in Lome, P=.001) and 59 (53.4%) for close monitoring due to the presence of significant liver fibrosis, elevated ALT or significant HBV replication. CONCLUSIONS: Among vulnerable populations in West Africa, a minority of HBV-infected individuals were eligible for immediate antiviral therapy. Prospective cohort studies are necessary to evaluate anti-HBV treatment eligibility facing the significant proportion of individuals with active chronic HBV infection.

Pubmed : 28561454