Healthcare wastes contain a wide range of microorganisms among which hepatitis B virus (HBV) are the most significant pathogens. No data about the prevalence of HBV among medical waste handlers is available in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Therefore; this study was conducted to describe the prevalence of HBV infection among medical waste handlers in Government hospitals of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
A cross sectional study was conducted among 252 medical and non-medical waste handlers working in three Government hospitals of Addis Ababa between May to July, 2010. Predesigned and tested questionnaire was used to collect soiociodemographic information. Blood sample was taken from 252 waste handlers and serum was tested for Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-Hepatitis core antigen (anti-HBcAg) using Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay.
Of the 126 Medical Waste Handlers and 126 Non Medical Waste Handler, HBsAg was detected in 8 (6.3%) and 1 (0.8%), and anti-HBcAg in 60 (47.6%) and 40 (31.7%), respectively. Significant differences were observed in the detection rates of HBsAg (OR: 8, 95% CI: 1.02, 63.02; p = 0.01), Anti-HB c Ag (OR: 1.5, 95% CI: 1.1, 2.1; p = 0.01) and either markers (OR: 1.7, 95% CI: 1.2, 2.2; p = 0.001) in medical waste handlers compared to non medical waste handlers. 19.8% were trained to handle medical waste and none was immunized against HBV.
This study shows a high prevalence of HBV infection in medical waste handlers compared to non medical waste handlers. Lack of training on how to handle medical waste among medical waste handlers was high.