Background: Worldwide, viral hepatitis is the commonest cause of hepatitis dysfunction in pregnancy. During pregnancy, viral hepatitis is associated with high risk of maternal complications and has become a leading cause of foetal death.
Aim: This review was done to assess the status of hepatitis B and hepatitis C viral infection among pregnant women in some Nigerian major cities.
Methodology: The information used for this review was from published works in Nigeria and elsewhere. The information was extracted over the period of two years from November 2015 to October 2017.
Results: In Nigeria, the prevalence of hepatitis B and Hepatitis C viral infection is on the increase and the nation has been classified among the group of countries endemic for the infection with about 18 million of the populace infected. The prevalence of hepatitis B viral infection among pregnant women in many parts of the country has been reported; with Port Harcourt having the prevalence of (4.9%), Yenagoa (5.3%), Benin (12.5%) Jos (10.3%, 15.1% and 23.9%), Ibadan (21.3%) and Kano (7.3%). Anti- HCV antibody prevalence among pregnant women has also been reported in various parts of Nigeria; with Benin having the prevalence of (3.6%), Yenagoa (0.5%), Osogbo (9.2%), Enugu (14.9%), Jos (5.2%), Kaduna (11.9%), and Zaria (18.2%). In Nigeria, the transmission of hepatitis B and Hepatitis C viral infections occur mainly during childhood as a result of maternal-neonatal transmission and by other risk factors like blood transfusion, sexual promiscuity, history of sharing of toothbrush, sharp objects such as razor blades, nail cutters and scissors and instruments for pedicure and manicure. Other modes of the viral infection common in the country include high risk groups such as health care workers, poor socioeconomic status. Thus, all the risk factors implicated elsewhere in the spread of the viral infections in the general population also play role in Nigeria.
Conclusion: The prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) among pregnant women in Nigeria is endemic. Therefore, there is the need to institute public health measures such as routine screening of all pregnant women’s blood and blood products for hepatitis, personal and environmental sanitation, and the discouragement of unsupervised injections to reduce disease burden and transmission in the population.