The status of hepatitis A virus (HAV) among health care workers has not been studied yet in Iran.
This study aimed to evaluate the HAV seropositivity among the healthcare personnel in Ayatollah Rohani Hospital, Babol, Iran, according to age, number of working years, and other demographic data.
Patients and Methods
This cross sectional study was performed on all nurses, nurses' aid, and paramedical technicians at Ayatollah Rohani Hospital, Babol, from March 2011 to March 2012. Blood was obtained from all cases (466) and the sera were separated. All serum samples were tested for anti-HAV antibodies (IgG) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Data were analyzed by logistic regression analysis using SPSS software, version 18.
330 out of 466 (71%) persons were positive for anti-HAV antibodies (IgG) with no significant difference between females (71.5%) and males (70%) (P = 0.89, 95% CI. 0.533-2.083). The lowest sero-prevalence rate was observed in the 20-29 year age group (57.8%). Seropositivity for HAV significantly increased with age (P < 0.000, 95% CI. 1.626-3.262), 77.4% for 30-39 years and 85.3% for more than 40 years. The seropositivity rate also increased significantly in accordance with the number of working years (P = 0.012, 95%CI. 1.098-2.170). 110 out of 353 (31.2%) cases were seronegative among those with less than 5 years of working time. An obvious decrease of seronegative rate of HAV was seen in those with 5-10 years (27%) and more than 10 years (14.3%) of working time.
These findings indicate relatively high prevalence rate of HA infection among nurses and paramedical personnel at this hospital. Nevertheless, 30% of the health workers have been seronegative and are still at risk of HA infection development. Considering that the disease has more severe course as age increases, improvement of standard hygiene and prevention strategies are recommended. Furthermore, vaccination may play a significant role in the occupational health policy to protect the susceptible health care workers population in the future.