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Infection. 2007 Apr;35(2):94-7.

Hepatitis B virus infection in health care workers in Albania: a country still highly endemic for HBV infection.

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Viral Hepatitis Unit, Dept. of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-Mediated Disease, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161, Rome, Italy.



Health care workers (HCW) have an elevated risk of acquiring and transmitting parenteral infections. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) markers with the final goal to encourage HBV vaccination of the non-immune Albanian HCW.


Among 480 HCW enrolled, 92 were physicians, 246 were nurses/techniques, 120 were auxiliary workers and 22 were office workers.


The HBsAg, anti-HBc and anti-HCV prevalence were 8.1%, 70% and 0.6%, respectively. The highest (11.4%) HBsAg prevalence was observed in the youngest age group (20-30 years of age). High HBsAg prevalence (7.2-7.5%) was detected also in age groups above 30 years. The highest HBsAg prevalence (12.6%) was found in the auxiliaries. The anti-HBc prevalence increased significantly with age from 59% in HCWs younger than 39 years to 87% among those older than 50 years. After adjustments for different job categories, age older than 40 years remained independently associated with anti-HBc positivity (OR = 2.9; 95% CI 1.9-4.6) and inversely associated with the lack of HBV immunity or infection markers (OR = 0.4; 95% CI 0.2-0.7). Of 142 HBsAg negative and/or anti-HBc Ab negative sera, 28 (20%) tested positive for anti-HBs. The 114 remaining individuals with no HBV infection or immunity markers were vaccinated against HBV infection.


A high HBV infection rate and low HBV vaccination coverage were found in Albanian HCW. Albania is a Mediterranean country still highly endemic for HBV infection and new strategies to promote HBV vaccination are to be adopted.

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