Open Access Open Badges Research article

Hepatitis B virus infection in Haemodialysis Centres from Santa Catarina State, Southern Brazil. Predictive risk factors for infection and molecular epidemiology

Flair J Carrilho1*, Cleusa R Moraes1, João RR Pinho2, Isabel MVGC Mello2, Dennis A Bertolini2, Marcílio F Lemos2, Regina C Moreira2, Leda C Bassit3, Rita A Cardoso1, Gabriela Ribeiro-dos-Santos4 and Luiz C Da Silva1

Author Affiliations

1 Hepatology Branch, Department of Gastroenterology, University of São Paulo School of Medicine, São Paulo, Brazil

2 Virology Branch, Adolfo Lutz Institute, São Paulo, Brazil

3 Blood Centre "Fundação Pró-Sangue/Hemocentro de São Paulo", Brazil

4 Biosciences Institute, University of São Paulo, Brazil

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BMC Public Health 2004, 4:13  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-4-13

Published: 27 April 2004



Patients under haemodialysis are considered at high risk to acquire hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Since few data are reported from Brazil, our aim was to assess the frequency and risk factors for HBV infection in haemodialysis patients from 22 Dialysis Centres from Santa Catarina State, south of Brazil.


This study includes 813 patients, 149 haemodialysis workers and 772 healthy controls matched by sex and age. Serum samples were assayed for HBV markers and viraemia was detected by nested PCR. HBV was genotyped by partial S gene sequencing. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses with stepwise logistic regression analysis were carried out to analyse the relationship between HBV infection and the characteristics of patients and their Dialysis Units.


Frequency of HBV infection was 10.0%, 2.7% and 2.7% among patients, haemodialysis workers and controls, respectively. Amidst patients, the most frequent HBV genotypes were A (30.6%), D (57.1%) and F (12.2%). Univariate analysis showed association between HBV infection and total time in haemodialysis, type of dialysis equipment, hygiene and sterilization of equipment, number of times reusing the dialysis lines and filters, number of patients per care-worker and current HCV infection. The logistic regression model showed that total time in haemodialysis, number of times of reusing the dialysis lines and filters, and number of patients per worker were significantly related to HBV infection.


Frequency of HBV infection among haemodialysis patients at Santa Catarina state is very high. The most frequent HBV genotypes were A, D and F. The risk for a patient to become HBV positive increase 1.47 times each month of haemodialysis; 1.96 times if the dialysis unit reuses the lines and filters ≥ 10 times compared with haemodialysis units which reuse < 10 times; 3.42 times if the number of patients per worker is more than five. Sequence similarity among the HBV S gene from isolates of different patients pointed out to nosocomial transmission.