Little data is available on the seroprevalence of, and risk factors for hepatitis B and C virus (HBV and HCV) infection in Latin American countries. A multi-center serosurvey was conducted among 3598 first-time blood donors (65% men) from Sao Paulo, Salvador and Manaus in Brazil. The gender-specific seroprevalences of antibodies against hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) and of the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in anti-HBc-positive sera were measured, and risk factors analyzed by gender. The gender-specific seroprevalences of antibodies against HCV (anti-HCV) were measured, but risk factors for HCV were not determined. Anti-HBc and HBsAg seroprevalences were not significantly different in men [101/2341 (4.31%) and 4/2229 (0.18%), respectively] and women [65/237 (5.25%) and 8/1,169 (0.68%), respectively], whereas the seroprevalence of anti-HCV was higher in women (12/1238 [0.97%] vs. 9/2353 [0.38%]; odds ratio [OR] = 2.49; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.0-6.0). No significant difference for HBV infection was found across the three study sites or by ethnic group. The seroprevalence of anti-HBc increased with age, but decreased with education level in both genders. Lifetime number of sexual partners was associated with anti-HBc prevalence among men (OR = 1.95; 95% CI: 1.2-3.1), but not women. The seroprevalence of HBV and HCV was low among Brazilian blood donors, and exposure increased with age in both genders.
Journal of Medical Virology (2008) 80 (1) pp. 53-57. [DOI:10.1002/jmv.21046].