Hepatitis B Vaccination Status and Needle stick Injuries among Medical Students in a Nigerian University
Background: Hepatits B virus (HBV) is the most common blood borne pathogen that poses an occupational risk to Health-care workers. The incidence of infection following needle stick injury has been reported to be high among medical students. Effective vaccines against HBV are available. The aim of this study was to determine the vaccination status and prevalence of needlestick injury among medical students in a tertiary institution in a developing country (Nigeria). Method: Information regarding hepatitis B status, history of needlestick injury and awareness of risk factors for HBV were obtained from clinical medical students using a self administered questionnaire. Three hundred and forty six students responded. Results: Three hundred and five (88.7%) agreed that medical education exposes one to HBV infection and 315 (91.6%) were aware of the availability of vaccine against HBV. Only 42 (47.7%) were vaccinated against HBV. Majority (57.4%) gave lack of opportunity as reason for non immunization while 34.7% had never given it a thought. One hundred and sixty-six (48%) of the respondents admitted to a previous needlestick injury and only 17 (10.2%) of those who reported history of needlestick injury had post-exposure prophylaxis against HBV infection. Conclusion: HBV vaccination status is very low among medical students in Nigeria and the prevalence of needle stick injuries is high. Universities must not only provide HBV vaccination free of charge but also enforce its use by these students.
Nigerian Journal of Medicine Vol. 17 (3) 2008: pp. 330-332