Incidence of hepatitis B and C viruses among the scavengers in Kwara State, Nigeria

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Amassoma, Bayelsa State. Nigeria.

2 Department of Environmental Health Science, Kwara State University, Malete, Nigeria

3 Department of Pure and Applied Biology, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho


Background:  Poor economic situations in developing nations had made scavenging a mean of livelihood for millions of youth and women across the globe. Lack of proper source segregation of wastes in developing countries has increased the potential for the transmission of pathogens like hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Objectives. This study aimed to assess the potential risk in waste scavenging work and seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C viruses and its relationship with wastes scavenging among wastes scavengers in Kwara State. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among the scavengers working for major scrap dealers in the three senatorial districts of Kwara State. Consequently, to accomplish the objectives, both primary and secondary data sources were used. The primary data were collected via questionnaires, interviews, blood test and field observations. Whereas the secondary data were extracted from different published and unpublished materials. Two hundred fourty (240) respondents were administered with questionnaires and undergone hepatitis surface antigen test for both hepatitis B and C in nine of the sixteen local government area in the state. The data were analyzed using statistical package for social science (SPSS version 23) for descriptive and inferential at 5% level of significance. The prevalence of an HBV and HCV infection biological markers (HBsAg and HCsAg) (hepatitis B surface antigen and anti HCV antibodies) and their associations with exposure to bio-medical waste, socio-demographic factors, and history of occupational injuries was examined.  Results. The seroprevalence of HBV and HCV infection among the scavengers were found to be 8.3% and 5% respectively indicating that scavengers are at risk of HBV and HCV infection. Conclusions. It was discovered that there are incidences of hepatitis B and C virus co-infection among scavengers. Also, awareness and compliance to the usage of  personal protective equipment (PPE) was found to be an important factor for protection scavengers against the virus. Therefore, vaccination against HBV, enforcement of usage of PPE, good hygiene practices, regular trainings on occupational safety, proper monitoring by regulatory agency and inclusion of scavengers in mandatory health insurance scheme will help to control risk of HBV and HCV infection among scavengers.


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