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Hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) is a global public health problem with 520 million people chronically affected leading to more than one million deaths per year making viral hepatitis one of the world's greatest health threats. According to Ministry of Health Malaysia, the average fatality rate due to viral hepatitis from 1991 to 1995 was about 4.2 per 100,000 populations. To date, there are still 2.4 million hepatitis B virus carriers in Malaysia and will be the source of HBV infection to others. We suspect that the current state is mainly due to lack of awareness and knowledge by the lay public. Therefore, we have embarked in this study to determine the awareness and knowledge on HBV infection among the public in the selected area of Puchong, Malaysia.
The main objective of the study method was to assess the extent of Hepatitis B awareness and knowledge status of the participants. A cross sectional study was conducted about 400 subjects (>12 years of age) based on validated questionnaire which was distributed and completed by the respondent during the period from January 2013 to April 2013. The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software.
Reliability test (Cronbach’s alpha) was good (> 0.731) and excellent (> 0.912) for knowledge and awareness among the subjects respectively. The results show that there is a statistically significant difference in the mean knowledge and awareness of the subjects with different age ranges (P < 0.05), different ethnic groups (P < 0.005) and different education qualifications (P < 0.005). Around 400 respondents, 135 (81.8%) of them are well known about Hepatitis B.
The age, education qualification and ethnicity have an effect on the awareness and knowledge of hepatitis B among the participant. In this study all the three demographic characteristic plays a role as the predictive factor. Overall, the awareness and knowledge was found to be low and should be improved through health education and vaccination program on hepatitis B more frequently among the public especially in Puchong district.