Routine screening for anti-HIV antibodies, hepatitis B surface antigen and anti-hepatitis C antibodies among general hospital in-patients

Original article


Abdul-fatah Zaied, Ali Elneihoum, Abdulnasser Elzouki

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Garyounis University, Benghazi, Libya

JMJ Vol. 2, No. 3 (March 2003): 37-40


Objectives and Methods: A retrospective study of routine enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) done over two years period(2000and 2001) for routine screening purpose in 7th October hospital in patients, Benghazi, to detect anti-HIV antibodies, hepatitis B surface antigen , and anti –hepatitis C virus antibodies, was carried out to determine the prevalence rates of these infections and tests estimated costs. Results: analysis of the data revealed a total of 5397 and 6264 patients admitted to the medical and surgical hospital departments in years 2000and 2001 respectively. The sum of ordered ELISA tests were 26476, with suggested estimated cost exceeding 250.000 Libyan diners, the prevalence rates were (0.3% and 0.4%), (2.6% and 2,6%) , (3% and 3%) for anti- HIV antibodies, HBsAg and anti-HCV antibodies in years(2000 and 2001), respectively. Around 15% and 13% of patients admitted in the years 2000 and 2001 respectively were not tested for any of the above mentioned viruses. Of the 4565 patients tested for the HBsAg year 2000 nearly 5% and 34% of them failed to test for anti HIV and anti- HCV antibodies respectively. Furthermore, of the 5440 patients tested for anti-HIV antibodies in 2001 nearly 13% and 18%of them failed to test for HBsAg and anti-HCV antibodies respectively. Conclusion: routine ELISA screening tests are costly and time consuming and should be restricted for patient with high degree of clinical suspicion of above viral infections. The cost of such tests can be used on improving hospital services, application of infection universal precautions and educational program on hospital hygiene and nosocomial infection control.

Keywords: ELISA screening, HBV, HCV, HIV, nosocomial infection control