Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo
Print version ISSN 0036-4665
OLIVEIRA, Luiz Carlos Marques de and PONTES, João Paulo Jordão. Frequency of hepatitis B immunity and occupational exposures to body fluids among brazilian medical students at a public university. Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo [online]. 2010, vol.52, n.5, pp. 247-252. ISSN 0036-4665. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0036-46652010000500005.
In the present study the frequencies of immunity against hepatitis B (HB) and of potentially contaminating accidents among medical students of a Brazilian public university were evaluated. Of all the 400 students who should have been immunized, 303 (75.7%), 66.3% of whom were women, answered an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire. Serum anti-HBs were determined in 205 of them and titers > 10 UI/L were considered to be protective. A total of 86.8% of students had received three doses of HB vaccine. The frequency of immunity among women (96.4%) was higher (p = 0.04) than that among men (87.7%). Among those who did not have immunity, 12/13 (92.3%) had been vaccinated before entering medical school. Only 11% of the students with complete vaccination had previously verified serological response to the vaccine. A total of 23.6% reported having been somehow exposed to blood or secretions. Among final-year students, this frequency was 45.0%, being similar among men (47.8%) and women (43.2%). Of all these accidents, 57.7% were due to body fluids coming in contact with mucosa and 42.3% due to cut and puncture accidents. The results from this study show that: 1) the frequency of immunity against HB is high among the evaluated medical students, although verification of response to vaccination is not a concern for them; 2) anti-HBs titers should be verified after complete vaccination and on a regular basis, especially by men; and 3) the frequency of potentially contaminating accidents is high.
Keywords : Hepatitis B; Medical Students; Hepatitis B virus; Immunity; Needlestick injuries; Occupational exposures; Needlestick.