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ABSTRACT: Hepatitis B has proved to be a major health hazard in hemodialysis patients. In order to investigate the hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection profile in the hemodialysis population of Goiânia city - Central Brazil, all dialysis patients (N=282) were studied. The prevalence of any HBV marker (HBsAg, anti-HBs, and anti-HBc) was 56.7% (95% CI: 51.1-62.7), ranging from 33.3% to 77.7% depending on dialysis unit. HBV-DNA was detected in 67.6% and 88.2% of the HBsAg-positive serum samples, in 91.3% and 100% of the HBsAg/HBeAg-positive samples, and in 18.2% and 63.6% of the HBsAg/anti-HBe-reactive sera by hybridization and PCR, respectively. The length of time on hemodialysis was significantly associated with HBV seropositivity. Only 10% of the patients reported received hepatitis B vaccination. The findings of a high HBV infection prevalence in this population and the increased risk for HBV infection on long-term hemodialysis suggest the environmental transmission, emphasizing the urgent need to evaluate strategies of control and prevention followed in these units.
Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo. 01/1998;