Objectives: This study aimed to describe the demographic and virological characteristics of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in a sample of Omani patients, and indirectly assess the efficacy of hepatitis B vaccination programmes and catch-up strategies. Methods: A retrospective study was undertaken of all patients with chronic HBV infections evaluated and followed-up at the Hepatology Clinic of the Armed Forces Hospital (AFH), Muscat, Oman, between January 2009 and April 2011. Results: A total of 154 patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean age of infected patients was 33 years with 72.7% being over 27 years. Females constituted 47.7% of the patients. Half of the cohort was referred either from the AFH's Obstetric Clinic (29.2%) or its Blood Bank (22.1%). A family history of chronic HBV infection was present in 70% of patients. A total of 95% had positive hepatitis B surface antigens, while only 5% had isolated total hepatitis B core antibodies. Most patients (96%) were hepatitis B e-antigen-negative. The majority (77.9%) had low HBV dioribonucleic acid levels of <2,000 IU/ml. Radiological features of liver cirrhosis were observed in 5%. Patients requiring treatment were in the minority (9%). Conclusion: Almost 50% of the infected patients were female, the majority being of childbearing age. Medical authorities in Oman should consider enforcing a screening policy for all pregnant women using complete hepatitis B serological testing.
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