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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

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Abstract

RAMOS, José María Hernández; SILVA, Ágabo Macêdo Costa e; MARTINS, Regina Maria Bringel  and  SOUTO, Francisco José Dutra. Prevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infection among leprosy patients in a leprosy-endemic region of central Brazil. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz [online]. 2011, vol.106, n.5, pp. 632-634. ISSN 0074-0276.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0074-02762011000500019.

Leprosy and hepatitis B virus (HBV) are highly endemic in some regions of the state of Mato Grosso, in central Brazil. The association of leprosy with HBV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) was assessed using a seroprevalence study and 191 leprosy outpatients were included. Demographic data and the clinical classification of leprosy were recorded. Evidence of previous HBV infection was present in 53 patients (27.7%, 95% confidence interval: 21.9-34.5) and two (1%) were HBsAg positive. Five (2.6%) had antibodies to HCV. The prevalence of previous exposure to HBV was higher than expected for an adult population in central Brazil. In contrast, the prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies was not much higher regarding the age range of participants. HBV markers were associated with a higher number of sex partners and the use of injections without proper sterilisation of the syringes. The number of HBV carriers was small, suggesting that there was no increased likelihood of chronification among these patients.

Keywords : leprosy; epidemiology; prevalence; hepatitis C; hepatitis B; viral hepatitis.

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