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 sociodemographics 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 to 22.2). Thirty truck drivers (4.7%) had only anti-HBs, suggesting that they had a previous HBV vaccination. More than 20 years in the profession, more than 15 days away from home and a history of sexual transmitted infections 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.
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Funding: Research support from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq); Fundação de Apoio a Pesquisa/UFG (FUNAPE/UFG).
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: This study was approved by the Human and Animal Research Ethics Committee of the Hospital Materno-Infantil, Goiânia, Goiás.
Contributors: MAM is a co-investigator who contributed to the project’s conceptualisation and was responsible for all fields operations; RMBM is a co-investigator who contributed to the study’s research design, conducted the laboratory analysis and assisted with write up; DDSF is a co-investigator who contributed with fields operations and assisted with data analysis; GCP is a co-investigator who contributed with fields operations and assisted with data analysis; RCF is a co-investigator who conducted laboratory analysis and assisted with the write up; MADM is a co-investigator who conducted laboratory analysis and assisted with data analysis; SMB is co-investigator who contributed with fields operations and assisted with data analysis; ALNJ is co-investigator who contributed with fields operations and write up; MASC is a co-investigator who conducted laboratory analysis and assisted with the write up; SAT is the study principal investigator responsible for all aspects of the study.