The epidemiology of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C virus infection among college students who are not US/Canadian born in Houston

Vishal Rana, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Introduction. A vast majority of studies conducted in both developed and developing nations have focused on the epidemiology of HBV (Hepatitis B virus) and HCV (Hepatitis C virus) in high-risk populations; low-risk populations have been neglected. Recently Hwang et al conducted a unique large cross-sectional study in American university students that focused on cosmetic procedures and drug use for acquiring these infections among a low-risk young adult population In Houston. Methods. This study is a secondary data analysis of the cross-sectional study conducted by Hwang et al. Data for this anonymous study were collected from 7,960 college students, among whom were the 2,561 non US/Canadian born students included in this study. All students completed a self-administered questionnaire and provided a blood sample. The epidemiology of HBV/HCV and risk factors for acquiring HBV/HCV infection was studied by comparing those with HBV/HCV infection versus those without. Both univariate and multivariate logistic regression was used to analyze the data. Results. Overall prevalence of HBV and HCV infections were 22% and 0.8% respectively. By multivariable analysis, the factors that were independently associated with increased prevalence of HBV infection were increasing age per year (OR=1.06, 95% C.I=1.04-1.08), Black or Asian race (OR=6.21, 95% C.I=3.14-12.27), history of household contact with hepatitis (OR=1.87, 95% C.I=1.15-3.05), and having sexual partner with hepatitis (OR=5.20, 95% C.I=1.5-18.00). For HCV these factors included increasing age per year (OR= 1.08, 95% C.I=1.03-1.14), history of blood transfusion prior to 1991 (OR=25.45, 95% C.I=7.58-85.40), and Injection drug use. (OR=78.15, 95% C.I=12.19-500.85). Cosmetic procedures like tattooing were not significant risk factors for either HBV or HCV infection. Conclusions. In a low-risk adult foreign born population, cosmetic procedures are not significant risk factors for HBV or HCV infection. The prevention strategies of these infections in this population should focus on safe sexual practices/abstinence and HBV vaccination should be provided to adolescents and sexually active adults.

Subject Area

Public health|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Rana, Vishal, "The epidemiology of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C virus infection among college students who are not US/Canadian born in Houston" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1450153.