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Hepatitis A in workers exposed to sewage: a systematic review


Glas, C; Hotz, Philipp; Steffen, Robert (2001). Hepatitis A in workers exposed to sewage: a systematic review. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 58(12):762-768.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES To assess whether the scientific literature supports the hypothesis that workers exposed to sewage are at higher risk of hepatitis A (HA). METHODS All original papers reporting epidemiological studies published in English, French, or German which reported on the risk of HA infection in workers exposed to sewage were eligible. They were identified by several methods and each original paper was assessed independently with a checklist by two people. Studies were classified according to the strength of their design. Non-eligible studies were also examined to assess the impact of publication bias. If the risk estimates diverged widely, causes for heterogeneity were assessed. A distinction was made between seroprevalence studies based on subclinical HA (defined only by the presence of anti-HA antibodies) and clinical HA. RESULTS 17 eligible studies were identified. No indication of an increased risk of clinical HA could be found. For seroprevalence the studies with the strongest design suggested a slightly increased risk of subclinical HA with an odds ratio (OR) <2.5. Heterogeneity was considerable and precluded a meta-analysis. Considering non-eligible studies would still decrease the OR. CONCLUSIONS The systematic review does not confirm an increased risk of clinical HA in workers exposed to sewage. An increased risk of subclinical HA cannot be excluded but the association between seropositivity and exposure to sewage was not strong and became still weaker if publication bias was taken into account.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES To assess whether the scientific literature supports the hypothesis that workers exposed to sewage are at higher risk of hepatitis A (HA). METHODS All original papers reporting epidemiological studies published in English, French, or German which reported on the risk of HA infection in workers exposed to sewage were eligible. They were identified by several methods and each original paper was assessed independently with a checklist by two people. Studies were classified according to the strength of their design. Non-eligible studies were also examined to assess the impact of publication bias. If the risk estimates diverged widely, causes for heterogeneity were assessed. A distinction was made between seroprevalence studies based on subclinical HA (defined only by the presence of anti-HA antibodies) and clinical HA. RESULTS 17 eligible studies were identified. No indication of an increased risk of clinical HA could be found. For seroprevalence the studies with the strongest design suggested a slightly increased risk of subclinical HA with an odds ratio (OR) <2.5. Heterogeneity was considerable and precluded a meta-analysis. Considering non-eligible studies would still decrease the OR. CONCLUSIONS The systematic review does not confirm an increased risk of clinical HA in workers exposed to sewage. An increased risk of subclinical HA cannot be excluded but the association between seropositivity and exposure to sewage was not strong and became still weaker if publication bias was taken into account.

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13 citations in Web of Science®
21 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:December 2001
Deposited On:21 May 2015 09:22
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:15
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:1351-0711
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1136/oem.58.12.762
PubMed ID:11706141

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