Introduction and objective: Hepatitis B infection is recognized as one of the occupational hazards among Health Care Workers (HCW). The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of Hepatitis B infection among HCW in a Tertiary care Hospital.
Material and method: 500 HCWs (159 physicians, 119 nurses, 49 medical laboratory technicians, 50 sanitary staff members and 119 medical students) aged between 22 and 58 years were included in the surveillance. Serum samples were screened for presence of HBsAg, HBeAg and anti-HBc with the help of ELISA.
Results: The highest proportion of HBsAg positivity was found among laboratory technicians (4.1%), followed by nurses (1.7%). The distribution of the HBsAg was not associated with age and gender. However, the positive rates of HBsAg were the highest for the HCWs with greater than thirty years in job, with overall positivity of 2.4% (1/41) (odds ratio: 1.06, p value: 0.01), suggesting greater exposure to blood and other putative risk factors. Among the 5 HBsAg positive participants, 4 were chronic carrier and one is progressing towards the chronic infection. None of them were positive for HBeAg, which is suggesting that there is decreased risk of transmission.
Conclusion: Based on this surveillance, we can make reasonable decisions in case of occupational exposure to hepatitis B virus. Thus, in order to prevent the nosocomial infection of hepatitis, we advocate precaution and protection from sharp injuries. Health care workers should be made aware of hazards, preventive measures and post-exposure prophylaxis to needle-stick injuries. A hospital-wide hepatitis immunization programmed should also be started.
Health care workers, HBsAg, Hepatitis, Occupational hazards