Prevalence of Serologic Markers of Hepatitis B and C and Risk Factors among Dentists and Physicians in Kerman, Iran

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Pathologist, Neuroscience Research Center

2 Medical Laboratory Doctor, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

3 Medical Laboratory Doctor, Zahedan, Iran

4 Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

5 Graduate Student in Microbiology, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

Abstract

In this cross sectional anonymous study, blood samples of 285 dentists and Physicians were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBs Ag), hepatitis B envelope Ag (HBe Ag), antibodies to: hepatitis B suface (anti-HBs), hepatitis B core Ag (anti-HBc) and hepatitis B envelope Ag (anti-HBe) by ELISA-3 and antibody to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) by ELISA-3 and immunoblotting tests. The results suggested a low prevalence of HBs Ag, anti HBc and anti HCV (1.1% 5.6%, 2.1% respectirely). None of the cases was positive for HBe Ag. Prevalence of immunity (anti HBs) was 63%. The median age was 41.16 years ± 8.82 including 189 male and 96 female. All of the HBV carriers were married males, 30-39 years of age Exposure rate to HBV was significantly associated with number of years in practice, (≥10 years), infrequent or lack of use of gloves, face masks or eye shields and lack of vaccination (P<0.05). There was no significant relation between HBV exposure and other variables such as: type of practice, general and/or high risk patients load, history of surgery, blood transfusion, multiple needle stick or sharp injuries, previous disease (except hepatitis B) and drug consumption. Seropositivity of HCV was related to age ≤40 years), previous blood transfusion, geographic location and type of practice (dentists), and Iength of professional activity (<10 years) (P<0.05). We concluded that to reduce the occupational exposure of HBV and HCV, universal precautions must be rigorously adhered to when physicians and dentists carry out procedures on their patients. Annual testing of health care workers and vaccination of non immune cases is necessary with sustained commitment. Recent study exists that exclusively addresses these problems in physicians and dentists in this province of Iran.

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