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Susceptibility of healthcare workers in Kenya to hepatitis B: new strategies for facilitating vaccination uptake

Suckling, R. M., Taegtmeyer, Miriam ORCID:, Nguku, P. M., Al-Abri, S. S., Kibaru, J., Chakaya, J. M., Tukei, P. M. and Gilks, C.F. (2006) 'Susceptibility of healthcare workers in Kenya to hepatitis B: new strategies for facilitating vaccination uptake'. Journal of Hospital Infection, Vol 64, Issue 3, pp. 271-277.

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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is preventable, yet many healthcare workers (HCWs) in resource-poor countries remain at risk. The aims of this study were to evaluate the susceptibility of HCWs in a Kenyan district to HBV infection, and the feasibility of expanding the Extended Programme of Immunization (EPI) for infants to incorporate hepatitis B vaccination of HCWs. HCWs in Thika district, Kenya were invited to complete an interviewer-administered questionnaire about their immunization status and exposure to blood or body fluids. Participants were asked to provide a blood sample to assess natural or vaccine-induced protection against HBV. All non-immune HCWs were offered hepatitis B vaccination. Thirty percent (168/554) of HCWs reported one or more needlestick injuries (NSIs) in the previous year, with an annual incidence of 0.97 NSIs/HCW/year. Only 12.8% (71/554) of HCWs had received vaccination previously and none had been screened for immunity or for hepatitis B surface antigen. In total, 407 staff provided blood samples; 41% were HBV core antibody, 4% expressed hepatitis B surface antibody from previous vaccination, and 55% were unprotected. Two hundred and twenty-two staff were eligible for vaccine delivered through the EPI infrastructure. Self-motivated uptake of a full course of vaccine was 92% in the smaller health centres and 44% in the district hospital. This study demonstrates the importance of hepatitis B vaccination of HCWs in parts of Africa where high exposure rates are combined with low levels of vaccine coverage. High rates of vaccination can be achieved using childhood immunization systems for the distribution of vaccine to HCWs. (c) 2006 The Hospital Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: hepatitis b vaccination healthcare workers kenya occupational-exposure needlestick injuries virus-infection risk-factors management markers
Subjects: QW Microbiology and Immunology > Immunotherapy and Hypersensitivity > QW 806 Vaccination
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. Other Virus Diseases > WC 536 Human viral hepatitis
WX Hospitals and Other Health Facilities > Clinical Departments and Units > WX 203 Medical personnel. Interns. Staff manuals. Ward manuals and precedent books
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > Clinical Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Martin Chapman
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2011 14:50
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2019 10:51


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