Background and Aim: Hepatitis B is a major health problem in the world and also in our country, Iran. Presence in war zones is among the most important risk factors for developing hepatitis B. This study was conducted to compare liver enzymes variations and hepatitis B risk factors among military and civilian chronic carriers of hepatitis B.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive-analytical study. All chronic male carriers of hepatitis B referring to the Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Private Clinic, Birjand, Iran, during 2005–2015 were studied. A demographic questionnaire (containing items such as gender, employment, and marital status), laboratory report sheets, and a hepatitis B risk factor data collection form were used for data collection. The form contained risk factors such as history of endoscopy, surgery, tattoo, ethanol abuse, cupping, injections, foreign travel, and war zone presence. The data were entered into the SPSS software (v. 16.0) and were analyzed through conducting the independent-samples, the chi-square, and the Fisher exact tests at the significance level of 0.05.
Results: In total, 486 chronic carriers of hepatitis B were studied among whom, 77 (16%) were militaries and 409 (84%) were civilians. The most important risk factor for hepatitis B infection among all participants was a history of surgery (13.6%) while the main risk factors among militaries and civilians were respectively a history of war zone presence and war wounds (19.5%) and a history of surgery (13.45%). The prevalence of coincident hepatitis B among civilians’ wives, fathers, and mothers was 2.9%, 5.9%, and 12% respectively while in the militaries group, these values were respectively 5.2%, 2.6%, and 2.6%. Most participants (38.9%) had received a hepatitis B diagnosis during non-specific periodical laboratory tests. The participating militaries and civilians did not differ significantly from each other regarding the serum levels of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alkaline phosphatase (P > 0.05).
Conclusion: Study findings indicate that except for a history of war zone presence which was longer among the participating militaries, the main risk factors for hepatitis B among militaries and civilians were histories of surgery, endoscopy, and cupping. Consequently, a history of direct contact with blood should be considered as a major risk factor for hepatitis B infection.