Objective: To investigate the epidemiology of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and viral genotypes in long distance truck drivers in Brazil.
Methods: We interviewed 641 long distance truck drivers to gather data on socio-demographics and risk factors and collected blood samples to test for HBV markers (HBsAg, anti-HBs and anti-HBc) by ELISA. HBsAg-positive samples were submitted to HBV DNA detection and genotyped.
Results: We found a global HBV prevalence of 18.9% (95% CI: 15.9-22.2). Thirty truck drivers (4.7%) had only anti-HBs, suggesting that they had a previous HBV vaccination. Length of profession longer than 20 years, time away from home lasting more than 15 days and a history of sexual transmitted infections (STD) were independently and positivity associated with HBV markers. HBV DNA was detected in nine samples, in which genotypes A (n=5), D (n=2) and F (n=2) were found.
Conclusions: These findings confirm that truck drivers are at high risk for hepatitis B infection and highlight the importance of having a public health policy that addresses this population and is based on the characteristics of HBV acquisition and dissemination.