Is waste collection associated with hepatitis B infection? A meta-analysis

<div><p>Abstract This meta-analysis, which is based on a previously published systematic review, aims to contribute to the scientific discussion on hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in workers who are exposed to domestic and healthcare wastes. Publications were sought which had been made available on the data used by December 2013 and updated to December 2016. The quality of the included studies was assessed according to the guidelines of Loney et al. for the critical appraisal of studies on the prevalence or incidence of a health problem. To verify the presence of heterogeneity between the papers, we used the Chi-squared test based on a Q statistic. A funnel plot was used to test for publication bias. All included studies had across-sectional study design. The association between exposure to waste and positive serology for the HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) showed a significant association [odds ratio (OR) 1.89, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.27-2.86; p = 0.0019]. The prevalence rates of HBsAg and anti-HBc seropositivity was 0.04 (95% CI 0.03-0.05) and 0.21 (95% CI 0.14-0.28), respectively (p <0.0001). We found no evidence of publication bias. The results of this meta-analysis indicate a statistically significant association between exposure to solid waste, whether healthcare or domestic, and positive HBV infection markers. Therefore, the working conditions of waste collectors should be analyzed more closely. Immunization against HBV is recommended as the chief preventive measure for all solid waste workers.</p></div>