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Woodruff Bradley A. MD MPH; Moyer, Linda A. RN; O'Rourke, Kathleen M. MPH; Margolis, Harold S. MD
Journal of Occupational Medicine: October 1993

The risk of infection with bloodborne pathogens among public safety workers is not well defined. This survey assessed personal and occupational risk factors among uniformed fire department employees by a self-administered questionnaire and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection status by serologic testing. Overall, 46 (7.8%) of 592 employees had past or current hepatitis B virus infection. Employees reporting blood contact with skin had been infected more often than employees without this exposure (11% vs 5.8%, prevalence ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval, 1.1, 3.3). Prevalence of infection did not differ by age, years on the job, or job duties. The adjusted prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection among male employees (4.5%) was not significantly different than the prevalence in American men (6.8%) (P = .17). Although the overall risk of hepatitis B virus infection is not greater among fire department employees than the general population, blood contact with skin may elevate this risk.

©1993 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine