AMB Volume 34, Issue 2, June 2018 / Pages 100-105

Seroprevalence of Hepatitis B and Tetanus among Ezidian (Yazidi) Women Fleeing War

Özcan, N., Bulut, Z. K., Evinç, E., Yiğitalp, G., Özekinci, T., Ceylan, A.

Women suffer much from wars and forced migrations. In 2014, Ezidians (Yazidis) living in Iraq migrated to Syria and then to Turkey due to civil war. Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani spores getting into the body. Hepatitis B is an infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. Both hepatitis B and tetanus are vaccine-preventable diseases. We aimed to evaluate the seroprevalence of tetanus and hepatitis B among Yazidi women who had fled to our country and have been living in a tent city.

This study was conducted in Diyarbakır province, located in Southeastern Turkey, between July 2015 and February 2016. A total of 245 Yazidi women aged between 15 and 49 years, living in a tent city, were included. HBsAg, anti-HBs and anti-HBcIgG were studied by ELISA method with Cobas e 601 (Roche Diagnostics, Switzerland) system autoanalyzer. Antibodies to tetanus toxin were tested by ELISA method with the Virotech ELISA tetanus (Virotech, Germany).

Of the 245 women, 38 (15.5%) had vaccine-induced immunity, while 11 (4.5%) had antibodies against hepatitis B due to previous exposure. Two women (0.8%) had isolated anti-HBcIgG positivity. Among 245 women, 96 (39.2%) had anti- tetanus antibodies.

This population was notably susceptible to both tetanus and hepatitis B. Vaccination of this sensitive population was important for the well-being of the women, their spouses and children to be born.

Keywords: Yazidi women, tetanus, hepatitis B, seroprevalence

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