Hepatitis B virus (HBV) represents an important health problem in the Maghreb countries, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, but no detailed synthesis of its epidemiology is available. In this review, we systematically searched for data about HBV in the Maghreb in peer-reviewed databases and included in our analysis works written in English and French, as well as institutional reports and regional conference meeting abstracts. We estimated national and regional prevalence of chronic HBV infection. In addition, we discuss molecular features of the viral strains circulating in the region.
Data analysis suggests that in the Maghreb region HBs antigen carriage concerns 1.8–4.9% of the population for an estimated number of 2.7 million persons. Genotype D, subtype D7, is predominant and mutations in the precore region of HBV genome are highly prevalent.
This epidemiological situation requires obviously widespread active interventions for prevention and control. In addition, anti-hepatitis B vaccination programme should be applied with the utmost discipline in the five countries considered in this present review. This systematic review will, hopefully, increase knowledge at disposal of Public Health authorities, enabling better resource allocation and healthcare delivery. The present synthesis intends to stimulate policies aiming at preventing the spread of HBV, keeping in mind that eradication of the virus from Maghrebi populations should be the ultimate objective of Public Health authorities.