Hepatitis B virus infection in healthcare workers in Brunei Darussalam


Shwe Sin TUN 1, Ayub SADIQ 1, Kyaw Naing WIN 2, Alice LAI 2, and Vui Heng CHONG 3

1 PAPRSB Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam,  2 Occupational Health Division, Ministry of Health, and 3 Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, RIPAS Hospital, Brunei Darussalam



Introduction: Hepatitis B is a common infectious disease which can lead to liver cirrhosis, liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma. The main aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection among healthcare workers in Brunei Darussalam. Materials and Methods: All healthcare workers in Brunei Darussalam who reported to the Occupational Health Division for pre-employment and periodic medical examinations were reviewed. Information was collated from healthcare records from January 2003 until December 2013 by using a pretested data collection form. Data collected included demographic characteristics of the healthcare workers (gender, age and nationality), work sectors (public and private), laboratory reports of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and presence of other infections (HCV, Syphilis or HIV). Results: Out of the 5,466 healthcare workers, the prevalence of hepatitis B was 1.8% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.5, 2.2). Hepatitis B infection was highest in males (1.9%; 95% CI: 1.3, 2.5), 41-50 age group (2.4%; 95% CI: 1.5, 3.3), and being Bruneian (2.1%; 95% CI: 1.7, 2.5). Comparison of hepatitis B infected healthcare workers between public and private sectors did not show a statistical significance. There was no association observed between Hepatitis B and co-infection with Syphilis, Hepatitis C or HIV. Of the occupational groups studied, support staff had a significantly higher prevalence for HBV infection compared to doctors (p=0.032). Conclusion: The prevalence of HBV infection in Brunei Darussalam remains low. There was little variation in prevalence across the age groups and occupational groups. No increased risk for HBV infection was seen within healthcare workers. 


Keywords: Hepatitis B, Hepatitis, prevalence, healthcare professionals


Correspondence author: Shwe Sin TUN, Pengiran Anak Puteri Rasidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Jalan Tungku Link Gadong, Brunei Darussalam BE 1410. E mail: shwesin.tun.06@gmail.com

Brunei Int Med J. 2016; 12 (3): 90-96