Title: Hepatitis B Virus infections and associated risk factors among medical waste handlers at the Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi Kenya
Authors: James Mburu Kangethe, James Gitau Komu, Daniel Njenga Muturi, Kenneth Kipyegon Mutai, Joseph Kamau Mwangi, Bernard Runyenje, Vincent Gitau, Vincent Mutisya, Peter Nduati Muiruri
Background: Medical waste contains a wide range of potentially harmful microorganisms among which Hepatitis B virus are the most significant pathogens. This study is aimed to determine the sero prevalence of Hepatitis B Virus infection and risk profile among medical waste handlers in Kenyatta National Hospital. A cross sectional study was conducted. A questionnaire was used to capture socio demographic data and factors associated with Hepatitis B Virus infection. Serum samples were obtained from each participant and analyzed for Hepatitis B surface Antigen using the enzyme linked immune absorbent assay. Data analysis was done using SPSS version 22.0. Prevalence was calculated as a proportion of participants who were sero reactive to Hepatitis B Surface Antigen. A total of 185 medical waste handlers were recruited. The mean age was 41.5 years (SD 10.3 years) and 53% were females. The median duration of exposure to medical waste was 15 years (IQR 7.5- 20 years). Prevalence of HBV infection was 2.7% (5 medical waste handlers). There was no significant difference between the infected and uninfected participants in relation to risk profile (p >0.05). In conclusion, the prevalence of HBV among medical waste handlers was of intermediate endemicity in this population. Efforts to eliminate HBV in this population need to focus on increasing awareness, screening, offering universal vaccination and ensure all handlers are trained on infection control.
Keywords: Hepatitis B Virus, Medical waste handlers.