Hepatitis B and C seroprevalence among medicine students in Northeast Ethiopia

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The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infections among medicine and health science students in Northeast Ethiopia and to assess their knowledge and practice towards the occupational risk of viral hepatitis” Demsiss et al (2018).

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Health care professionals, especially medical students, are at greater risk of contracting hepatitis B and C virus infections due to their occupational exposure to percutaneous injuries and other body fluids. The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infections among medicine and health science students in Northeast Ethiopia and to assess their knowledge and practice towards the occupational risk of viral hepatitis.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among a total of 408 medicine and health science students during the period from March to September 2017. A pre-coded self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data on students’ socio- demographic characteristics, knowledge and practice of hepatitis B and C infections. Blood samples were collected and screened for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-HCV antibodies. SPSS version 20 statistical software was used for data analysis.

RESULTS: The seroprevalence of HBV infection was 4.2% (95% CI 2.5 to 6.1%) and 0.7% (95% CI 0.0 to 1.7%) for HCV. Older age (AOR = 15.72, 95% CI 1.57-157.3) and exposure to needlestick injury (AOR = 3.43, 95% CI 1.10-10.73) were associated with a higher risk of HBV infection. Majority of the students (80.1%) had an adequate knowledge about hepatitis B and C infection, mode of transmission and preventive measures. Only 50.0% of students had safe practice towards occupational risk of viral hepatitis infection. Almost half (49.8%) of students experienced a needlestick injury; of which, 53.2% reported the incidence, and only 39.4% had screening test result for viral hepatitis.

CONCLUSION: A high seroprevalence but poor practice of hepatitis B and C virus infection was found in the study area despite their good knowledge towards occupational risk of viral hepatitis infection.

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Reference:

Demsiss, W., Seid, A. and Fiseha, T. (2018) Hepatitis B and C: Seroprevalence, knowledge, practice and associated factors among medicine and health science students in Northeast Ethiopia. PLoS One. 13(5), p.e0196539.

doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196539.

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