Skip to main content

Factors associated with seroprevalence of hepatitis C among dentists at a large Brazilian city



The aim of the present study was to investigate the seroprevalence and sociodemographic data, health-related and occupational factors and other correlates of sero-posivity among dentists in the city of Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.


A cross-sectional survey was carried out with 1302 dentists in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. All dentists were tested for anti-HCV using a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Individuals positive for anti-HCV were recalled for further evaluation. The presence of HCV RNA in anti-HCV-positive samples was assessed using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Data on demographic, behavioural and occupational exposure aspects were collected through questionnaires.


The seroprevalence of anti-HCV was 0.9% (95% IC 0.5-1.7%). The factors associated to the prevalence of hepatitis C were history of blood transfusion (p = 0.002) and having undergone a test for hepatitis C (p = 0.015).


The seroprevalence of anti-HCV among dentists is low. Moreover, no occupational exposure was associated to the seroprevalence of hepatitis C.


Healthcare-associated infection is an important public health problem worldwide, with ever-increasing interest on the part of politicians, patients and healthcare workers [1, 2]. Healthcare providers are at risk of infection from blood-borne pathogens, including hepatitis B (HBV), human deficiency (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) [36]. The transmission of blood-borne viruses in dental offices is a potential hazard to patients and dental staff, particularly to oral and maxillofacial surgeons [7, 8]. Chronic hepatitis C is the leading cause of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and liver transplants in Europe and the United States [911]. As HCV is transmitted primarily by contaminated blood, it represents a higher risk of nosocomial transmission to patients and healthcare workers [1012].

Chronic HCV infection is asymptomatic in the majority of infected patients and is not identified unless specific diagnostic tests are performed. Most infected individuals are diagnosed at a later date or when abnormal blood or liver function tests are found in routine examinations for other reasons [12, 13].

The current antiviral treatment for chronic HCV infection (pegylated interferon plus ribavirin) provides virus clearance in about 55% of patients with genotype 1 and in 80% of those with genotypes 2 or 3 [1417]. Hence, the diagnosis of patients infected with chronic HCV is mandatory, since the antiviral treatment might halt or slow the progression of hepatitis to cirrhosis or the development of HCC [1318].

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) [9], serological HCV tests are strongly recommended for intravenous drug users, people who received plasma-derived products or solid organ transplants before 1992, patients with kidney failure patients on dialysis and children born from women positive for HCV women [19, 20] as well as part of the investigation of any liver disease [19, 21].

HCV testing is also routinely recommended for healthcare professionals, especially for medical and nursing staffs, following needle stick injuries or mucosal exposure to HCV-positive blood. Dentists appear particularly prone to blood-borne infections, as their routine practice includes the use of sharp instruments in an environment contaminated with saliva and blood. Although virus transmission via saliva may be possible, the major occupational risk is accidental needle stick injuries [22].

Few reports on the prevalence of HCV prevalence in Brazil have been published, with findings ranging from 1.42% in the general population of the city of São Paulo [23] to 1.7% in an Amerindian population in the Brazilian Amazon region [24]. Other studies have been carried out involving specific groups, such as blood donors (0.9%) [25], intravenous drug users (69.0%) [26], dialysis patients (23.8%-52.0%) [2729], HIV patients (17.7%) [30], prisoners (16.0%) [31] and ex-soccer players (7.5%), who are considered to be at high risk of HCV infection associated with the intravenous injections of vitamins and the use of stimulants before games [32]. As there is no vaccine against HCV, the identification of infected individuals is mandatory for preventing the increasing prevalence of the disease [9, 20].

Although the WHO states that dentists are at greater risk of HCV, a number of studies have shown that the prevalence of HCV infection in this group is similar (1.2%) [33] or even lower (0.0%) [34] than that of the general population [9]. The possibility of becoming infected by HCV is most commonly related to age and work experience [35]. Two studies carried out in mid-sized cities throughout Brazil describe a prevalence of 0.7% [35] and 0.4% [36] among dentists. However, there are no studies on the prevalence of HCV among dentists in large urban centres in Brazil.

Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate the seroprevalence and sociodemographic data, health-related and occupational factors and other correlates of sero-posivity among dentists in the city of Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.


Sample/Population description

Belo Horizonte is the capital of the state of Minas Gerais (Brazil). It is an industrialized city with about 2.4 million inhabitants and considerable social, economic and cultural disparities. There are 2766 dentists registered at the Minas Gerais Dental Council and working regularly in Belo Horizonte [37]. These dentists were first contacted, enrolled and invited to take part in this study in November 2004 when all dentists registered at the Minas Gerais Dental Council were required to elect the administrative board of the council. A day was scheduled at a clinical analysis laboratory at the Medical School of the Federal University of Minas Gerais for the dentists who chose to take part in the study. We also published notes on the risks of hepatitis C in dental practice and the importance of undergoing the test in the Dental Council newsletter, the goal of which was to invite dentists to take part in the study.

The sample size was calculated to give a 95% CI, a level of precision of 0.75% [37] and using 3% prevalence of hepatitis C [9]. The inclusion criteria were dentists, who lived and worked in the city of Belo Horizonte and registered at the Minas Gerais Dental Council. This group consists of a finite population of 2766 dentists. The minimum sample size to satisfy the requirements was estimated at 1156 dentists. Taking into account the possibility of losses of previously enrolled dentists, a correction factor of 1.2 was adopted, totalizing an expected sample size of 1387 dentists. These dentists (n = 1387) scheduled a visit at the clinical analysis laboratory at the Medical School of the Federal University of Minas Gerais. In sequence, a total sample of 1302 dentists (response rate = 93.9%) answered the questionnaire and had a blood sample collected between December 2004 and June 2006. All participants had signed a term of informed consent and data were collected on demographic, behavioural and occupational exposure aspects.


A self-administered questionnaire consisting of twenty open-ended and close-ended items was used for the data collection. The drafting of this questionnaire complied with all steps proposed by previous studies [38, 39]. Once the purpose of the study and its conceptual basis were defined, the drafting of the items was carried out by means of a broad-based review of the literature [3, 7, 33, 40]. Content validation was performed to determine the suitability of the theoretical content and functionality of the questionnaire. Item selection, adaptation and additional inclusions were then performed based on the opinion of an expert in research and marketing. Subsequently, an opinion was formulated by a commission made up of professionals from different dental institutions and specialties. The commission members and the expert were aware of the objectives and methodology of the study and were asked to express their opinions on the writing and understanding of the questions. Unanimity in the approval of the questionnaire was required for validation. Suggestions for changes were heeded when brought up repeatedly by different commission members. Response options were organized vertically. All survey items were constructed in the same format in order to avoid placing emphasis on any specific item. Space was included for participants to answer the question when the multiple choice form was not possible.

The following variables were taken into account:

1- Personal and behavioural data

Gender; sexual behaviour (unprotected homo/hetero sex with a casual partner); blood transfusions; knowledge of the results of hepatitis A and C tests; liver pain; abdominal pain; previous history of hepatitis in participant or family member; and the use of illicit injection drug. Since the latter variable is quite sensitive, this point was addressed in combination with exposure factors, such as the use of piercing and tattoos, history of any kind of transplant, dialysis, colonoscopy and chemotherapy.

2- Professional, behavioural and occupational exposure data

Work experience; workplace; field of work; compliance with Individual Protective Equipment (IPE); vaccination for hepatitis B; immunized against hepatitis B; history and number of needle stick accidents with visible bleeding; dental assistance for patients with hepatitis; and whether the dentists' clinical dental chart contains a question on a history of hepatitis.

As people may go to school at any time of their lives and the number of years of professional activity could be more important than age in representing their exposure to risk factors, the age of the participants was not inquired, but rather the duration of activity (work experience).

For the purpose of this study, the number of needle stick accidents was categorized into four groups: none; less than 5; 5 to 10; or more than 10 accidents. In order to analyze the influence of work experience, the sample was categorized into four groups: less than 10 years; 10 to 20 years; 21 to 30 years; and 30 years or more. The workplace was considered as public, private or both.

Blood collection and laboratory tests

Blood samples were collected by peripheral venipuncture from all 1302 dentists. After centrifugation, all sera samples were frozen at -80°C until two hours prior to the test. The samples were tested for antibodies against hepatitis C (anti-HCV) using a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) (ABBOTT/MUREX™, Anti-HCV 3.0, Chicago, IL, USA). The assay was calibrated to international standards, following the manufacturer's recommendations. Specificity is greater than 99% [41, 42] and its sensibility is 97.2% [43].

So, individuals positive for anti-HCV were recalled for further evaluation at a later date. A detailed clinical examination was performed and blood samples were drawn to repeat the anti-HCV tests, serum ALT estimations, HCV RNA determinations and ultrasound liver examinations. The presence of HCV RNA in the anti-HCV-positive samples was assessed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). RT-PCR is considered gold standard, with greater sensibility than other quantitative methods and specificity of 98% to 99% [41, 42].

The Human Research Ethics Committee of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil) approved the protocol for this study. All voluntaries signed an informed consent form, where they were informed about the implications of the results of the tests. Furthermore, they were informed by the consent form about the implications of the results of the tests. Each participant received the results of the tests and information about their clinical implications.

Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS for Windows, version 17.0, SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL, USA). Bivariate analysis was the initial analytic strategies (Fisher exact test). Afterwards, we performed multivariate logistic regression. The model adjustment was verified by Hosmer & Lemeshow test. Seroprevalence of hepatitis C was dependent variable. The significance level was set at α = 0.05.


A total of 68.4% of the dentists were female. Regarding specialty or field of work, 40.1% reported being general dentists and the others were distributed among the different specialties recognized by the Brazilian Federal Council of Dentistry.

Table 1 displays the distribution of seroprevalence and determinant factors of hepatitis C among Brazilian dentists. The seroprevalence of anti-HCV was 0.9% (95% IC 0.5-1.7%). The factors associated to the prevalence of hepatitis C were a history of blood transfusion (p = 0.002) and having undergone a test for hepatitis C (p = 0.015). Among the 11 dentists who were positive for HCV, 36.4% reported a history of blood transfusion and 27.3% reported having undergone a test of hepatitis C. Among the 1235 individuals who not positive for HCV, 5.0% reported a history of blood transfusion. Among the 1137 individuals negative for HCV, 4.8% reported having undergone the test. None of the other factors studied was associated with the seroprevalence of hepatitis C (p ≥ 0.05).

Table 1 Factors and seroprevalence of hepatitis C among Brazilian dentists, Belo Horizonte, 2005

Considering that two independent variables were associated to seroprevalence, we performed multivariate logistic regression. However the model did not converge. Thus, Fisher exact test was performed to evaluate the association between these two variables ("Test for hepatitis C" and "Blood transfusion"). Results of this test (p = 0.523) showed that there was no association between these variables and indicated that both were independently associated to seroprevalence (Table 2).

Table 2 Association between having undergone test of hepatitis C and history of blood transfusion, Belo Horizonte, 2005


The prevalence of chronic HCV infection in the general population is not uniform across countries and ranges from 0.1 to 5%, with an extraordinary high prevalence reported in Egypt (20-25%) [11]. The transmission of blood-borne viruses in dental offices is a potential hazard to patients and dental staff, particularly to oral and maxillofacial surgeons [5]. Thus, the present study focused on the prevalence of anti-HCV among dentists in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The overall seroprevalence of HCV was 0.9% among a calculated sample of 1302 dentists tested. This is lower than the 1.42% prevalence of HCV reported for the general population [23] and 1.7% among Amazon Amerindian populations [24]. However, the prevalence of hepatitis C among dentists reported here is higher than the 0.0095% found in a recent similar study [43] involving 1056 Swiss dental healthcare workers (834 dentists; 222 dental hygienists and assistants). The prevalence is also higher than that identified in mid-size Brazilian cities, such as Sertãozinho [35] and Piracicaba [36]. It is important to notice that none of these Brazilian studies had a randomized sample. Despite the sample of the present study is not a randomized sample, our sample is the biggest sample among these Brazilian studies. Moreover, data provided by Minas Gerais Dental Council showed that the proportion of female dentists was of 62% among the population of dentists in Belo Horizonte. This data was very similar to our sample (68% of female dentists).

The low prevalence of HCV in dentists described in a previous report [44] and confirmed here might suggest that dentists have a lower risk of HCV infection caused by occupational accidents than expected by the WHO [9]. Professional data, behaviour and occupational exposure were not associated to the seroprevalence of hepatitis C. This may be explained by the relatively low infectivity of HCV found in saliva or by the small volume of blood inoculation involved in dental accidents [44, 45]. The participants' responses were self-reported; hence, caution with generalizations must be considered. Volunteers may have habits or behaviour different from their self-reported behaviour, meaning that some level of information bias could exist.

In our study all dentists with positive results were considered asymptomatic and only three knew of their condition as an HCV carrier. These dentists were offered further medical assistance by hepatologists. Thus, the investigation gave them the opportunity to become aware of their status as a HCV carrier. There are several advantages to the early diagnosis of hepatitis C. Infected individuals must be made aware of self-care and behaviour that could hasten the progression of liver disease, such as alcohol intake. In addition, early diagnosis allows infected people to receive appropriate preventive services (e.g., hepatitis A and B vaccination) and to be referred to a clinic for evaluation and HCV therapy [11, 21].

The association found between blood transfusion and hepatitis C reveals dentists have a predisposing factor to this disease that is common to the general populations. The risk of contamination with hepatitis C through a blood transfusion is currently very low in the world [46, 47]. Prior to 1992, however, no HCV detection test was carried out on blood donors [19]. In Brazil, tests for the detection of HCV among blood donors were only mandatory beginning in 1993.

Although the prevalence of hepatitis C found in this study was low, the number of reported accidents with needle sticks was unexpectedly high, suggesting that permanent vigilance and educational programs addressing hepatitis C virus infection among dentists are necessary. Although the probability of infection due to contaminated needle sticks is lower for HCV than HBV [34], this is an important issue considering the seroprevalence of hepatitis C in the Brazilian population [2332] and the issue of dentists being exposed often to this type of accident [34].

The present study has some limitations that must be recognized. Cross-sectional studies are carried out either at a single point in time or over a short period. Thus, associations identified in cross-sectional studies should not be considered a causal relationship. However, there is a lack of studies that concomitantly assess different variables associated to hepatitis C among dentists, as we performed in the present study.

As no vaccine or immunoglobulin HCIg against HCV is available, it is virtually impossible to prevent HCV infection after occupational exposure. Thus, every precaution must be taken to prevent infection, including the screening and testing of blood and organ donors; the inactivation of the HCV virus in plasma-derived products, the permanent vigilance and maintenance of the best preventive practices in healthcare settings, including the need for continual infection control policies in dentistry and the proper treatment of contaminated patients [9, 21].


The seroprevalence of anti-HCV among dentists was low and no occupational exposure conditions were associated to the seroprevalence of hepatitis C.


  1. 1.

    Humphreys H, Smith ET: Prevalence surveys of healthcare-associated infections; what do they tell us, if anything? Clin Microbiol Infect 2006, 12: 2-4. 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2005.01273.x

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Fitzpatrick F, McIlvenny G, Oza A, Newcombe RG, Humphreys H, Cunney R, Murphy N, Ruddy R, Reid G, Bailie R, Lavelle C, Doherty L, Smyth ET: Hospital infection society prevalence survey of Healthcare Associated Infection 2006: comparison of results between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. J Hosp Infect 2008, 69: 265-73. 10.1016/j.jhin.2008.04.016

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Araujo MW, Andreana S: Risk and prevention of transmission of infectious diseases in dentistry. Quintessence Int 2002, 33: 376-82.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Transmission of Hepatitis B and C Viruses in Outpatient Settings - New York, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. MMWR 2003, 52: 901-6.

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Deisenhammer S, Radon K, Nowak K, Reichert J: Needlestick injuries during medical training. J Hosp Infect 2006, 63: 263-7. 10.1016/j.jhin.2006.01.019

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Cleveland JL, Cardo DM: Occupational exposures to human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus: risk, prevention, and management. Dent Clin North Am 2003, 47: 681-96. 10.1016/S0011-8532(03)00041-7

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Porter S, Scully C, Samaranayake L: Viral Hepatitis: Current concepts for dental practice. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 1994, 78: 682-95. 10.1016/0030-4220(94)90082-5

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Fry DE: Occupational blood-borne diseases in surgery. Am J Surg 2005, 190: 249-54. 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2005.05.021

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    WHO: World Health Organization Hepatitis C. Fact Sheets 2000. Acessed December 18h, 2009 []

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Henderson DK: Managing Occupational risks for hepatitis C transmission in the healthcare setting. Clin Microbiol Rev 2003, 16: 546-68. 10.1128/CMR.16.3.546-568.2003

    PubMed Central  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Alberti A, Benvegnù L, Boccato S, Ferrari A, Sebastiani G: Natural history of initially mild chronic hepatitis C. Dig Liver Dis 2004, 36: 646-54. 10.1016/j.dld.2004.06.011

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Abou MA, Eltahir YM, Ali AS: Seroprevalence of Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus among blood donors in Nyala, South Dar Fur, Sudan. Virol J 2009, 6: 146. 10.1186/1743-422X-6-146

    PubMed Central  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Stroffolini T, Mariano A, Iantosca G: Reported risk factors are useless in detection HCV-positive subjects in the general population. Dig Liver Dis 2004, 36: 547-50. 10.1016/j.dld.2004.03.013

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Manns MP, McHutchison JG, Gordon SC, Rustgi VK, Shiffman M, Reindollar R, Goodman ZD, Koury K, Ling M, Albrecht JK: Peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin compared with interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin for initial treatment of chronic hepatitis C: a randomized trial. Lancet 2001, 358: 958-65. 10.1016/S0140-6736(01)06102-5

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Fried MW, Shiffman ML, Reddy KR, Smith C, Marinos G, Gonçales FL, Häussinger D, Diago M, Carosi G, Dhumeaux D, Craxi A, Lin A, Hoffman J, Yu J: Peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C virus infection. N Engl J Med 2002, 347: 975-82. 10.1056/NEJMoa020047

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Hadziyannis SJ, Sette H, Morgan TR, Balan V, Diago M, Marcellin P, Ramadori G, Bodenheimer H Jr, Bernstein D, Rizzetto M, Zeuzem S, Pockros PJ, Lin A, Ackrill AM: Peginterferon-alpha 2a ribavirin combination therapy in chronic hepatitis C: a randomized study of treatment duration and ribavirin dose. Ann Intern Med 2004, 140: 346-65.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Wright M, Grieve R, Roberts J, Main J, Thomas HC: UK Mild Hepatitis C Trial Investigators. Health benefits of antiviral therapy for mil chronic hepatitis C: randomized controlled trial and economic evaluation. Health Technol Assess 2006, 10: 1-113.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Deutsch M, Hadziyannis SJ: Old and emerging therapies in chronic hepatitis C: an update. J Viral Hepat 2008, 15: 2-11.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Moloughney BW: Transmission and postexposure management of bloodborne virus infections in the healthcare setting: where are we now? CMAJ 2001, 165: 445-51.

    PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Alter MJ: Prevention of spread of Hepatitis C. Hepatology 2002, 36: S93-S98. 10.1002/hep.1840360712

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Shehab TM, Orrego M, Chunduri R, Lok AS: Identification and management of hepatitis C patients in primary care clinics. Am J Gastroenterol 2003, 98: 639-44. 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2003.07331.x

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Ilgüy D, Ilgüy M, Semanur D, Bayirh G: Prevalence of the patients with history of hepatitis in a dental faculty. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal 2006, 11: E29-E32.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Foccacia R, Conceicao OJ, Sette H Jr, Sabino E, Bassit L, Nitrini DR, Lomar AV, Lorenço R, Vieira De Souza F, Kiffer CR, Santos EB, Gonzales MP, Sáez-Alquézar A, Riscal JR, Fischer D: Estimated prevalence of viral hepatitis in the general population of the municipality of Sao Paulo, measured by a serologic survey stratified, randomized and residence-based population. Braz J Infect Dis 1998, 2: 269-84.

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Ferrari JO, Ferreira UM, Tahnaka A, Mizokami M: The seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C in an Amerindian population in the southwestern Brazilian Amazon. Rev Soc Bras Med Tropical 1999, 32: 299-302.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Paltanin LF, Reiche EM: Seroprevalence of anti-hepatitis C virus antibodies among blood donors, Brazil. Rev Saude Publica 2002, 36: 393-9. 10.1590/S0034-89102002000400004

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Oliveira MK, Bastos FI, Telles PR, Yoshida CF, Schatzmayr HG, Pauli G, Shreier E: Prevalence and risk factors for HBV, HCV and HDV infections among injection drug users from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Braz J Med Biol Res 1999, 32: 1107-14.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Naghettini AV, Daher RR, Martin RM, Doles J, Vanderborght B, Yoshida CF, Rouzere C: Soroprevalencia do virus da hepatite C na populacao em dialise de Goiania, GO. Rev Soc Bras Med Tropical 1997, 30: 113-7.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Santana GO, Cotrim HP, Mota E, Paraná R, Santana NP, Lyra L: Anticorpo contra o vírus C da hepatite em pacientes sob programa de hemodiálise em Salvador, BA, Brasil. Arq Gastroenterol 2001, 38: 24-31. 10.1590/S0004-28032001000100006

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Medeiros MT, Lima JM, Lima JW, Campos HH, Medeiros MM, Coelho-Filho JM: Prevalence and associated factors to hepatitis C in hemodialysis patients in Brazil. Rev Saude Publica 2004, 38: 187-93. 10.1590/S0034-89102004000200006

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Mendes-Correa MC, Barone AA, Guastini C: Hepatitis C virus seroprevalence and risk factors among patients with HIV infection. Rev Inst Med Trop S Paulo 2001, 43: 15-9. 10.1590/S0036-46652001000100003

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Burattini MN, Massad E, Rozman AR, Carvalho HB: Correlation between HIV and HCV in Brazilian prisoners: evidence for parenteral transmission inside prison. Rev Saude Publica 2000, 34: 431-6. 10.1590/S0034-89102000000500001

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Souto FJ, Silva AG, Yonamine F: Risk factors of hepatitis C among Brazilian ex-soccer players. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 2003, 98: 1025-6. 10.1590/S0074-02762003000800008

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Lodi G, Porter SR, Teo CG, Scully C: Prevalence of HCV infection in healthcare workers of UK dental hospital. Br Dent J 1997, 183: 329-32.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Nagao Y, Matsuoka H, Kawaguchi T, Ide T, Sata M: HBV and HCV infection in Japanese dental care workers. Int J Mol Med 2008, 21: 791-9.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Bellíssimo-Rodrigues WT, Machado AA, Bellíssimo-Rodrigues F, Nascimento MP, Figueiredo JF: Prevalence of hepatitis B and C among Brazilian dentists. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2006, 27: 887-8. 10.1086/506407

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Takahama AJ, Tatsch F, Tannus G, Lopes MA: Hepatitis C: incidence and knowledge among Brazilian dentists. Community Dent Health 2005, 22: 184-7.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Dean AG, Dean JA, Coulombier D, Burton AH, Brendei KA, Smith DC: Epi Info™, Version 6.04a, a word processing, database, and statistics program for public health on IBM-compatible microcomputers. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 1996.

    Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Streiner DL, Norman GL: Health measurements scales: a practical guide to their development and use. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University; 2005.

    Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Machado-Carvalhais HP, Ramos-Jorge ML, Auad SM, Martins LH, Paiva SM, Pordeus IA: Occupational exposure to potentially infectious biological material in dental teaching environment. J Dent Educ 2008, 72: 1201-8.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Sofola OO, Savage KO: Assessment of the compliance of Nigerian dentists with infection control: a preliminary study. Infec Cont Hosp Epidemiol 2003, 24: 737-40. 10.1086/502122

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Lauer GM, Walker BD: Hepatitis C virus infection. N Engl J Med 2001, 345: 41-52. 10.1056/NEJM200107053450107

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Pawlotsky JM: Use and interpretation of virological tests for hepatitis C. Hepatology 2002, 36: S65-S73. 10.1002/hep.1840360709

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Colin C, Lanoir D, Touzet L, Meyaud-Kraemer F, Bailly F, Trepo C, the HEPATITIS Group: Sensitivity and specificity of third-generation hepatitis C virus antibody detection assays: an analysis of the literature. J Viral Hepat 2001, 8: 87-95. 10.1046/j.1365-2893.2001.00280.x

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Weber C, Collet-Schaub D, Fried R, Lambrecht JT, Erb P, Meyer J: Low prevalence of hepatitis C virus antibody among Swiss dental healthcare workers. J Hepatology 2001, 34: 963-4. 10.1016/S0168-8278(01)00032-0

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. 45.

    Gerberding JL: Incidence and prevalence of human immunodeficiencyvirus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and cytomegalovirus among healthcare personel at ris for bllod exposure: final report from a longitudinal study. J Infect Dis 1994, 170: 1410-7.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    Allain JP, Stramer SL, Carneiro-Proietti AB, Martins ML, Lopes da Silva SN, Ribeiro M, Proietti FA, Reesink HW: Transfusion-transmitted infectious diseases. Biologicals 2009, 37: 71-7. 10.1016/j.biologicals.2009.01.002

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  47. 47.

    Stramer SL: Current risks of transfusion-transmitted agents: a review. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2007, 131: 702-7.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


We would like to thank the Dental Council of Minas Gerais and the Brazilian Ministry of Health for financial support through CNPq (Grant n. 403216-04).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Saul M Paiva.

Additional information

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

VLSR, MHGA, SMP, RT and IAP conceptualized the rationale and design of the study. VLSR and MHGA performed the statistical analysis and interpretation of the data. VLSR, MHGA, SMP and IAP drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Vera Lúcia S Resende, Mauro Henrique G Abreu, Saul M Paiva, Rosângela Teixeira and Isabela A Pordeus contributed equally to this work.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Resende, V.L.S., Abreu, M.H.G., Paiva, S.M. et al. Factors associated with seroprevalence of hepatitis C among dentists at a large Brazilian city. Virol J 6, 228 (2009).

Download citation


  • Needle Stick Injury
  • Needle Stick
  • Amerindian Population
  • Dental Staff
  • Clinical Analysis Laboratory