Sero-epidemiologic survey of Hepatitis B markers in National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) health workers in Tehran prior to mass vaccination
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Abstract: Objective: To determine the prevalence of sero-epidemiologic markers of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) in NIOC health organization personnel in Tehran, and to study the risk of exposure of medical staff (Who are more exposed to patients and/or blood products). Method: A sero-prevalence study was carried out on 600 subjects with no past history of vaccination against Hepatitis B. Of these, 377 were more prone to exposure (High-risk group), and were compared to the rest of the subjects (Comparison group) and the normal population. Results: A sample of 447 subjects were tested for all markers (HBsAg, HBsAb, and HBcAb), of which 101 (23%) were positive for at least one of the markers (CI95%: 19%-27%). Prevalence of HBsAg, HBsAb, and HBcAb were found to be 1.83% (CI95%: 0.97%-3.36%), 16.11% (CI95%: 13.3%-19.4%), and 17.86% (CI95%: 14.5%-21.8%) respectively. While no significant correlation was found with sex and years of service, significant correlation with age was found for seroprevalence of HBsAb (P<0.01) and HBcAb (P<0.05). No significant sero-prevalence of any marker was found in the high-risk group compared to the comparison group in this study and population-based survey results. Significantly increased risk of seropositivity for HBsAg was found among laboratory personnel of laboratory as compared to the comparison group (RR: 8.8, P<0.05, Cl95%: 1.4-54.6). Discussion: No significant increased risk of exposure based on serologic studies in health care personnel in communities where HBV is endemic, may be attributed to a balanced increased risk of occupational exposure. The reason might be that safe life styles and appropriate job behavior due to higher level of education and socioeconomic factors compared to general population in such communities could result in their equal risk of infection. Further studies are warranted to eliminate the role of socioeconomic status as a possible confounding factor in risk assessment studies for HBV exposure in health care workers.