Public Health and Healthcare


Occupational Burden of Hepatitis Viruses in Municipal Solid Waste Workers in Attica, Greece: A Cross-Sectional Study

Author(s): Pantazi E, Riza E, Kastania A, Triantafyllou A, Balatsoukas A, Koukaki E, Karachaliou A, Ntelis S, Chatzopoulos M, Kounatidou NE, Linos A

Background: Municipal solid waste workers (MSWW) are exposed to occupational hazards such as the infection from hepatitis A, B or C viruses (HAV, HBV or HCV). Our study aims to determine the prevalence of various types of hepatitis infection in a sample of municipal workers in Attica, Greece and to identify the risk factors associated with job exposure.
Methods: A total of 307 employees were examined in 2011 and 2012. Data retrieved from the occupational physician’s medical files: sociodemographic information, exact job position, previous working experience, education level, medical and family history, previous diseases, use of medication, smoking, use of alcohol and hepatitis testing for the presence of A,B and C types.
Results: A total of 124 workers were found positive to any of the three hepatitis viruses (A, B, or C) in 2011 and 127 in 2012. In 2011, only 25 workers (8.1 % of the total study sample) reported being immunized for HBV and 59 employees (19.2% of the total sample) in 2012. No information on immunization for HAV was available. There was a positive correlation between high risk habits and being positive for HAV and HBV and/or HCV, 40% for alcohol consumption and 50% for smoking. In the multivariate analysis high hepatitis risk occupational exposure was independently associated with increasing age, marital status, alcohol consumption and smoking.
Conclusions: The prevalence of hepatitis A, B and/or C differs between municipal workers in high risk compared to low risk exposure job positions. Immunization status for hepatitis B was very low with no information on any protective measures during work. Closer monitoring of hepatitis infection at the workplace by job exposure status as well as the enforcement of prevention practices such as obligatory immunization, monitoring of practices during work and the use of protective personal equipment are needed. Regular occupational health monitoring must be emphasized.

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