Prevalence of and factors associated with Hepatitis C infection among barbers in Rawalpindi city, Pakistan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Epidemiology & Biostatistics (MSc Epidemiology & Biostats)


Community Health Sciences


Hepatitis C infection (HCV) is a major public health problem in most part of the world. It is one of the leading causes of end-stage liver disease including hepatocellular carcinoma. HCV mainly spread through direct contact of contaminated blood importantly through non-intack skin. Skin penetration, hairdressing and beauty treatment pose potential danger of transmission of blood-borne viruses including HCV to the barbers as-well as clients by contaminated equipment, unhygienic premises and practices. HCV leads to enormous financial burdens on health care resources and lose of healthy lives. Because of non-availability of any vaccine against HCV, prevention of exposure against infection is important. The objectives of the study were to estimate HCV seroprevalence and to identify the factors associated with HCV seropositivity among barbers in Rawalpindi City, Pakistan. From August 2003 to September 2003 a total of 1100 barbers were interviewed. Two stage cluster sampling was done to select the study population. Of the 46 union councils of Rawalpindi 37 were randomly selected and 30 barbers were recruited from each union council on convenience. The serum samples were analyzed by ELISA-3. Multiple logistic regressions was used to identify associated factors with HCV seropositivity. Data were analyzed using SPSS software. From the total 1100 barbers interviewed, 903 provided blood samples with a response rate of 82.1%. Those who provided blood samples were statistically significant from those who declined to provide the sample with respect to age, education, duration of profession, marital status and occupational status as an employee although they did not differ with respect to formal training from institutes, monthly income of the household and shop. Ninety-six of 903 (10.6%) barbers were HCV seropositive. HCV seroprevalence increased from 8.3% to 13.3% for those who had > 9 years in profession. Barbers who reported family history of jaundice were more likely to be anti-HCV positive compared to barbers without reported family history of jaundice (adjusted OR: 1.66, 95% Cl 0.97-2.86). Subjects with history of jaundice (adjusted OR: 2.35, 95% CI: 1.43-3.85) and > 9 of duration in profession (adjusted OR: 1.71, 95% CI: 1.11- 2.64) more likely to be HCV seropositive than subjects with no history of jaundice or who spent less than 9 years in the profession respectively. High HCV seroprevalence among barbers indicates that barbers are at increased risk of HCV infection, and should be educated to adopt necessary protective measures to avoid exposure to blood.

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