Municipal waste collectors and hepatitis b and c virus infection: A cross-sectional study
AuthorTsovili, E.; Rachiotis, G.; Symvoulakis, E. K.; Thanasias, E.; Giannisopoulou, O.; Papagiannis, D.; Eleftheriou, A.; Hadjichristodoulou, C.
There is some evidence that municipal waste collectors are at risk of Hepatitis B virus infection (HBV). Published information on risk of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection among waste collectors is scant. We aimed to investigate the prevalence and possible risk factors of HBV and HCV infections among waste collectors in a municipality of the broader region of Attica, Greece. A cross-sectional sero-prevalence study was conducted in a municipality of the broader region of Attica, Greece. Fifty waste collectors participated in the study (response rate: 95%). The group of municipal waste collectors was compared to a convenient sample of white collar employees not exposed to waste (n=83). Waste collectors recorded a significantly higher prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection (anti-HBc positivity) in comparison to the reference group (15% vs. 2.5%, respectively; p<001). Waste collectors who reported frequent exposure to needle-stick injuries had higher risk of HBV infection (RR=8.28; 95% CI=1.076-63.79; p=0.033). Only one municipal waste collector was anti-HCV (+). Our study corroborates previous results of an increased prevalence of Hepatitis B infection among municipal waste collectors. In addition we found that needle stick injuries were associated with the risk of HBV infection. By contrast, HCV infection does not seem to represent a significant occupational hazard among waste collectors. Vaccination against HBV among municipal solid waste collectors and promotion and use of safer methods for the collection of non-hospital medical waste could represent potential measures for the prevention of Hepatitis B Virus infection among municipal waste collectors. © 2014, Le Infezioni in Medicina. All rights reserved.