Screening for viral Hepatitis Bin theRoma community in Tirana, Albania
Aim:According to the previous studies conducted in Albania involving Roma communities and in general populations,the prevalence of HBV was 13% and 7%-9%,respectively.Due to this high prevalence of HBV and difficulties accessing adequate healthcare, a screening was performed in some areas where Roma populations live. The aim of this study was to assessthe prevalence of HBV in the Roma population in Albania in order to make evidence-based recommendations for increasing the awareness of the population about this disease and increase the access to the vaccination.Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in threerural areas and in four urban areas in Tirana districtwith known limited population movement. OpenEpi was used to calculate the sample size.The laboratory methods used consisted ofthe immune chromatographic method, Rapid Test and ELISA.Results: 27 outof 174 specimens tested positive for HBV. The prevalence of HBsAg was 15.5% (95%CI=10.8%-21.6%).The age-related positivity ofHBsAg was 10.6% for the age-group 19-24 years,19.4% for the age 25-44 years and 11.8% for the age 45-59 years.Of the positive cases, 15were females and 12 were males. The areas with the highest positivity rate for HBsAg were Tufina(24%), Health Care Center no.8 (23.1%) andSauk (15.4%).Conclusion: A higher prevalence of HBV was found among Roma population in Tirana district compared to the general population. The age-group25-44 years, males,and people residing in Tufina area showed a higher HBsAgpositivity rate.Improvement of the sentinel surveillance,increase of the awareness about the disease, promotion of vaccination and healthy behaviour, are the recommended actions that should target the Roma population
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