Prevalence of Hepatitis B and other infections among pregnant women seen in a referral centre in Brunei Darussalam.


Ohn HTWE 1, Patrick Desmond COATES 2, Mary KRASU 1, Hla TJU 1, Ni Ni SOE 1, Caroline TAN 1, Vui Heng CHONG 3

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, RIPAS Hospital, Brunei Darussalam, 2 Faculty of Sciences, University of Southern Queensland, Australia, 3 Department of Medicine, RIPAS Hospital, Brunei Darussalam



Introduction: Chronic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are common causes of chronic liver disease. In the Asia-Pacific region, mother to infant transmission (vertical transmission) is the most common mode for HBV. On the other hand, perinatal HCV transmission is relatively low. This epidemiological study assessed the prevalence of HBV and HCV among pregnant women delivering in a tertiary referral centre in Brunei Darussalam. Data also provided information on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and syphilis infection. Materials and Methods: All patients who delivered over a 12-month (January 2011 to December 2011) period were included. Patients were routinely tested for HBV, Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), HIV and Venereal Disease Reference Laboratory (VDRL). In-patients (n=125) found to be HBsAg positive, or who did not have any ante-natal care testing, were tested for Hepatitis Be Antigen (HBeAg) and Anti Hepatitis Be Antibody (Anti-HBe Ab) and anti-HCV). Results: The overall prevalence of HBsAg positive was 1.02%, significantly higher among the Chinese (2.4%), indigenous (4.0%) and expatriates (1.5%) than among the Malays (0.8%) (p<0.05 for trend). Among those with HBsAg positive, 22% were found to be positive for HBeAg. The most common identified risk factor for patients was family history of hepatitis B infection (37%). Two patients were positive for HIV (0.04%) and six for VDRL (0.11%). No patient was found to be positive for HCV. Conclusions: The HBV infection rates among our patients are lower than previously reported but the ethnic differences remain. Of those found to be positive, a fifth was positive for HBeAg. No patients were found to be positive for HCV.


Keywords: Viral hepatitis, antenatal screening, prevalence, risk factors, transmissible infections


Correspondence author: Ohn HTWE. Department of Obstetric and Gynaecology, RIPAS Hospital, Bandar Seri Begawan BA 1710, Brunei Darussalam. Tel: +673 2242424 Ext 6436, E mail:


Brunei Int Med J. 2013; 9 (4): 220-226