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Open Access Research article

Seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C viruses among medical waste handlers at Gondar town Health institutions, Northwest Ethiopia

Belay Anagaw1*, Yitayal Shiferaw1, Berhanu Anagaw3, Yeshambel Belyhun2, Woldearegay Erku5, Fantahun Biadgelegn6, Beyene Moges2, Agersew Alemu4, Feleke Moges1 and Andargachew Mulu17

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Biomedical and Laboratory Sciences, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

2 Department of Immunology and Molecular biology, School of Biomedical and Laboratory Sciences, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

3 Department of Statistics, Faculty of Natural and Computational Science, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

4 Department of Medical Parasitology, School of Biomedical and Laboratory Sciences, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

5 Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

6 Department of Medical Microbiology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

7 Institute of Virology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:55  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-55

Published: 22 January 2012

Abstract

Background

Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver due to viral infections and there are groups of viruses that affects the liver of which hepatitis B and C viruses are the causative agents of sever form of liver disease with high rate of mortality. Medical waste handlers who undergo collection, transportation, and disposal of medical wastes in the health institutions are at risk of exposure to acquire those infections which transmit mainly as a result of contaminated blood and other body fluids including injury with sharp instruments, splash to the eye or mucous membrane. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of hepatitis B and/or C viruses and associated risk factors among medical waste handlers.

Results

A cross-sectional study was conducted from April, 2011 to June, 2011 in government health institutions at Gondar town. Socio-demographic and possible risk factors data from medical waste handlers were collected using pre-tested and well structured questionnaires. Venous bloods were collected and the serums were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen and anti-hepatitis C antibody using rapid Immunochromatography assay. Data was entered and analyzed using SPSS software package (version16). Chi-square and Fisher exact tests were used to assess risk of association. A p-value of < 0.05 was considered statistical significance.

A total of 100 medical waste handlers and 100 non-clinical waste handlers were examined for HBV and HCV viruses. HBV was detected in 6 (6.0%) and 1 (1.0%) and HCV in 1 (1.0%) and 0 (0.0%) of medical waste handlers and non-clinical waste handlers, respectively. Significant differences were observed in the detection rates of HBV (OR = 6.3; X2 = 4.1; P = 0.04) and overall infection rate (HBV + HCV) (OR = 7.5; X2 = 5.2; P: 0.02) in medical waste handlers when compared with non-clinical waste handlers. It was found that none of the observed risk factors significantly associated with rate of hepatitis infection compared to others.

Conclusions

Prevalence of HBV and HCV were significantly higher in medical waste in relation to non-clinical waste handlers. There were poor waste management system which contributed for occurrence of higher degree of sharps injury and blood and body fluids splash.

Keywords:
Medical waste handlers; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis C virus; Gondar Ethiopia