1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
is an inflammation of the liver characterized by the presence of inflammatory
cells in the tissue of the organ (Ryder & Beckingham, 2001). It may occur
with limited or no symptoms, but often leads to jaundice, anorexia (poor
appetite) and malaise. Hepatitis is acute when it lasts less than six months
and chronic when it persist longer. A group of viruses known as the hepatitis
viruses cause most cases of hepatitis worldwide, but it can also be due to
toxins (notably alcohol, certain medications and plants), other infections and
autoimmune diseases. The hepatitis virus is found in the blood and other body
fluids and is transmitted from person to person, the most common routes of
infection includes blood transfusions and blood products where there is no
screening for blood-borne viruses, medical or dental interventions in countries
where equipment is not adequately sterilized mother to infant during
childbirth, sexual transmission (in the case of hepatitis B), sharing equipment
for injecting drugs, sharing straws, notes etc. for snorting cocaine (cocaine
is particularly alkaline and corrosive), sharing razors, toothbrushes or other
household articles, tattooing and body piercing if done using unsterile
equipment (Ahmedin et al, 2004).
hepatitis B virus is spread between people through contact with the blood or
other body fluids (i.e. semen, vaginal fluid and saliva) of an infected person,
while the hepatitis C virus is spread through direct contact with infected
blood. Very rarely it can also be passed on through other body fluids (Redmond,
2007). Many people infected with hepatitis B or C rarely displays any symptom,
although they can still transmit the virus to others.
B is a major disease of serious global public health proportion. It is
preventable with safe and effective vaccines that have been available since
1982. Of the 2 billion people who have been infected with the hepatitis B virus
(HBV) globally, more than 350 million have chronic (lifelong) infections. Over
20 million people are infected annually with this virus (Mohammed et al, 2003).
Hepatitis C is a viral infection of the liver and is the most common blood-borne
(direct contact with human blood) infection. The major causes of HCV infection
worldwide are use of unscreened blood transfusions, and re-use of needles and
syringes that have not been adequately sterilized. The world health
organization (WHO) estimates that about 3% of the world populations (200
million people) have so far been infected with the Hepatitis C virus. Almost
50% of all cases become chronic carriers and are at risk of liver cirrhosis and
liver cancer (Ahmad, 1998).
hepatitis during pregnancy is associated with high risk of maternal
complications. There is a high rate of vertical transmission causing fetal and
neonatal hepatitis which can have serious effects on the neonate, leading to
impaired mental and physical health later in life. A leading cause in maternal
mortality is also said to be the most familiar cause of jaundice in pregnancy.
Peri-natal transmission of this disease occurs if the mother has had acute
Hepatitis B infection during late pregnancy, in the first postpartum or if the
mother is a chronic HBsAg carrier. Hepatitis C transmission occurs
predominantly around time of delivery and pregnancy. Using this background
information, the epidemiology of viral hepatitis during pregnancy is essential
for health planners and program managers. Thus, the current study aimed at
investigating the prevalence and the possible predisposing factors for
Hepatitis B and C viruses among pregnant women using the University of Benin
Teaching Hospital as a case study.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Viral hepatitis during pregnancy is associated
with high risk of maternal complications and has become a leading cause of
foetal death. Hepatitis one of the major and common
infectious diseases of the liver world wide is caused by a small enveloped DNA
virus, the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Nigeria is classified among the group of
countries endemic for HBV infection. Currently about 18 million Nigerians are
infected. Many of these people may not be aware of the infection and hence fail
to seek appropriate medical attention therefore progressing to chronic liver
disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Similarly when pregnant women
are involved they constitute a serious health risk not only to their unborn
child but also the society at large.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
provide an overview on hepatitis virus infection.
examine the prevalence of hepatitis virus infection among pregnant women.
identify the consequences of hepatitis virus infection on pregnant women.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
is hepatitis virus infection?
is the prevalence of hepatitis virus infection among pregnant women?
is the consequences of hepatitis virus infection on pregnant women?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
results from this study will educate the general public especially the pregnant
women on the prevalence and prognosis of hepatitis virus infection of pregnant
research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the
effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby
constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the prevalence of hepatitis
virus infection with special focus on hepatitis B and C.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the
efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature
or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire
constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with
other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for
the research work.
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