The aim of the study was to detect the prevalence of antibodies against hepatitis A, B, C, and E viruses in flying airline personnel, and to determine the necessity of hepatitis A vaccination to prevent such infections related to occupational exposure.
Antibodies against hepatitis A (HAV), B (HBV), C (HVC), and E (HEV) were tested for using standard enzyme immunoassay in airline personnel, 208 flying personnel, 199 ground crew, and 204 employees from companies not involved in travel activities.
Prevalence of antibodies against HAV was less than 5% in each group, and there was no significant difference between the three groups. Prevalence of antibodies against HEV was significantly higher in flying personnel (3.4%) than in the control groups. Prevalence of antibodies against HBV and HCV was low in each of the three groups and there were no differences between the three groups.
Infection with HAV, HBV and HCV does not seem to represent an occupational hazard to flying personnel. It is possible that flying personnel are exposed to infection with HEV, however, presently no vaccine is available.