Infection control measures have been responsible for a decline in the prevalence
of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in
hemodialysis patients. In Brazil, these measures have been in place since 1996.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the current HBV and HCV epidemiology among
hemodialysis patients in the State of Tocantins comparing them with those found
14 years ago. There was a significant decline in hepatitis B surface antigen
(HBsAg) and anti-HCV prevalence from 4% and 13% in 2001 to 0.8% and 2.8% in
2014-2015, respectively (p < 0.05). Variables related to hemodialysis
environment such as working shift and length of time on hemodialysis treatment
were no longer associated to HCV and HBV exposure in 2014-2015. A high
prevalence of self-reported hepatitis B vaccination was observed in both
periods, but only 30% of the individuals showed serological profile of effective
previous immunization, suggesting a low compliance with surveillance of
hepatitis B immunization in hemodialysis centers. The significant decline in
viral hepatitis B and C prevalence in hemodialysis patients in Tocantins
underscores the importance of infection control measures, but the low frequency
of protective serological profile after immunization against hepatitis B points
to the need for greater vigilance of the patients’ vaccination.
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