Hepatitis B virus infection and waste collection: Prevalence, risk factors, and infection pathway
AuthorRachiotis, G.; Papagiannis, D.; Markas, D.; Thanasias, E.; Dounias, G.; Hadjichristodoulou, C.
Background Waste collectors have a potential risk of infectious diseases. The aim of the study was to assess; the prevalence of hepatitis B (HBV), risk factors for infection and possible ways of virus transmission among municipal solid waste workers (MSWWs) in a municipality of central Greece. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted among the employees of a municipality in Central Greece. The prevalence of an HBV infection biological marker (anti-Hbc) and its association with exposure to waste, socio-demographic factors, and history of occupational injuries with sharp objects/needle sticks was examined among 208 employees. Results The prevalence of HBV infection among the municipal waste collectors was 23%. Logistic regression analysis showed that exposure to waste (OR?=?4.05;95%CI?=?1.2313.33) and age (OR?=?5.22;95% CI?=?1.3520.1) were independently associated with the anti-Hbc positivity. Moreover, waste collectors who reported occupational injuries with needle sticks were at higher risk of HBV infection (RR?=?2.64; 95% CI?=?1.016.96). Conclusions Occupational exposure to waste is a possible risk factor for HBV infection. Occupational injury with sharp instruments could be a means of hepatitis B virus transmission. Immunization of MSWWs and adoption of more safe ways for waste collection could be considered in order to control the risk of HBV infection. Am. J. Ind. Med. 55:650655, 2012. (c) 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.