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Techalew Shimelis 1 Article
The exposure rate to hepatitis B and C viruses among medical waste handlers in three government hospitals, southern Ethiopia
Anteneh Amsalu, Mesfin Worku, Endale Tadesse, Techalew Shimelis
Epidemiol Health. 2016;38:e2016001.   Published online January 5, 2016
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2016001
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Abstract
OBJECTIVES
The aim of this study was to assess the rate of and risk factors for exposure to hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among medical waste handlers.
METHODS
A cross-sectional study was conducted from December 2014 to January 2015. A total of 152 medical waste handlers (MWH) and 82 non-medical waste handlers (NMWH) were studied. Serum samples were collected from participants and screened for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) and anti-HCV using rapid immunochromatography assay. MWH were also screened for hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs).
RESULTS
The respective prevalence of HBsAg, anti-HBc and anti-HCV was 1.3%, 39.4%, and 0.7% in MWH, compared to 2.4%, 17.1%, and 1.2%, respectively, in NMWH. Among MWH, 58.6% were susceptible to HBV infection. There was a significant difference in the rate of lifetime exposure to HBV in MWH compared with NMWH (odds ratio [OR], 3.17; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.64 to 6.13). However, there was no significant difference between participant groups with respect to current HBV infection (OR, 0.53; 95%CI, 0.07 to 3.86) or anti-HCV (OR, 0.54; 95%CI, 0.03 to 8.69). Age older than 40 years and working in a hospital laundry were independent predictors of lifetime exposure to HBV infection. Eleven (7.2%) respondents were vaccinated against HBV.
CONCLUSIONS
Lifetime exposure to HBV infection was significantly higher in MWH than in NMWH. The majority of MWH was not vaccinated against HBV and thus remains susceptible to contracting the infection. Screening upon hire followed by vaccination of MWH is recommended to reduce the transmission of HBV.
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