Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is endemic throughout Africa, but its prevalence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is incompletely understood. We used dried blood spot (DBS) samples from the 2013 to 2014 Demographic and Health Survey in the DRC to measure the prevalence of HBV using the Abbott ARCHITECT HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) qualitative assay. We then attempted to sequence and genotype HBsAg-positive samples. The weighted national prevalence of HBV was 3.3% (95% CI: 1.8–4.7%), with a prevalence of 2.2% (95% CI: 0.3–4.1%) among children. Hepatitis B virus cases occurred countrywide and across age strata. Genotype E predominated (60%), and we found a unique cluster of genotype A isolates (30%). In conclusion, DBS-based HBsAg testing from a nationally representative survey found that HBV is common and widely distributed among Congolese adults and children. The distribution of cases across ages suggests ongoing transmission and underscores the need for additional interventions to prevent HBV infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases