Backgroud: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) are the main causes of liver related morbidity and mortality.
Objective: To assess the epidemiologic features of HBV and HCV infections between 2004 and 2007 in the Hamadan province, Iran.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study, epidemiologic and demographic characteristics of patients infected with HBV or HCV, or both, during about four years were collected from health centers in the Hamadan province.
Results: Overall, there were 1533 infected patients (66.2% with HBV, 32.5% with HCV, and 1.3% with both). Male patients comprised 74.4% of patients. In view of marital status, 71.3% were married, 27% single, and 1.7% were widowed or divorced. The majority of patients (78.4%) inhabited urban areas while 21.6% inhabited rural areas. Patients <4 years old had the lowest rate of infection (0.26%), while the highest incidence (13.11%) was found in the 25-29-year-old age range. With respect to serologic markers, 61.4%, 33.7%, 4.4% and 0.3% of patients were HBsAg+, HCVAb+, HBsAb+ and HBeAg+, respectively. Overall, the incidence of HBV was found to be decreased from 2004 to 2007, while the incidence of HCV increased from 2004 to 2007.
Conclusion: The prevalence of HBV infection decreased during the period of study. This could be attributed to the increasing public vaccination of neonates and people at high-risk, which began about 15 years ago. However, it seems that an increasing incidence of high-risk behaviors including intravenous drug abuse with shared syringes has led to an increased incidence of HCV infection.