Memorias del Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Salud
versión On-line ISSN 1812-9528
Viral hepatitis is a main public health problem in the Americas. Hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) viruses are transmitted by sexual, intravenous and perinatal via. Previous studies in Ayoreo aborigine population of the eastern Paraguayan Chaco showed prevalences of 17.4% and 14.9% of HBV and HCV respectively. The objective of the present study was to determine the prevalence of HBV and HCV infection in two well differentiated ethnic groups from the western region of Paraguay: a Mennonite and an aborigine Enxet population located in the central Chaco. These two populations are from rural areas with low contact with urban society. After obtaining the previous informed consent, a total of 74 sera from Mennonite (52) and Enxet (22) individuals were analyzed with in an age range of 16 to 65 years. Detection of surface antigen of hepatitis B virus (HBsAg) and total antibodies anti-HCV was carried out using a commercial ELISA kit (Human-Germany). In none of the two populations, Mennonite and Enxet, the presence of HBsAg and anti-HCV antibodies was detected. Geographical isolation and sociocultural rules may explain the absence of the studied viral hepatitis in these populations in contrast to Ayoreo aborigine population that has different cultural patterns. When prevention programs of sexually transmitted infections are designed, these cultural patterns should be considered.
Palabras clave : Viral human hepatitis; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Enxet; Mennonite; South American Indians.