Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a small enveloped DNA virus of the Hepadnaviridae family associated with infection of the liver, and a major public health problem globally. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in apparently healthy individuals attending Federal Medical Centre, Owo and Don Bosco Medical Diagnostic Hospital, Akure, Nigeria. Socio-demographic status of the individuals such as sex, age, occupation and other risk factors including injection drug use, previous knowledge of the infection and number of sex partners were considered. The HBsAg one-step test strip was used for screening blood samples collected from the individuals between January to March, 2017(n = 407). Result showed that 109 individuals (26.6%) consisting of 61 males (31.4%) and 48 females (22.5%) were positive for HBsAg. The age groups 29-36 and 56-65 years exhibited 38% and 33% frequency for HBsAg, respectively. Among individuals with multiple sex partners, 31 males and16 females representing 94% and 80% were positive for HBsAg. A 100% prevalence of HBsAg was recorded among individuals aged 29-36years for injection drug use. Those who had previous knowledge of the infection have the least frequency of 18% and 6% for males and females, respectively. In the occupation category, civil servants (44%), students (40%), traders (45%) and artisans (50%) were positive for HBsAg. The findings of this study demonstrated high prevalence of hepatitis B among artisans, traders, civil servants and young adults, especially those aged 29-36years in the study area. There is, therefore, the need for appropriate awareness campaign, mass immunization and creation of hepatitis B virus clinics in all government hospitals and other medical facilities in southwest Nigeria.
Keywords: Hepatitis B Virus, frequency, apparently healthy individuals, Socio-demographic, chromatography immunoassay.