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Tattoos as indicators of transfusion-transmitted diseases in Brazil : a matched hospital-based cross-sectional study

Background. Evidence to date remains equivocal regarding the association between tattooing and various transfusion-transmitted diseases (TTDs). / Objectives. To determine whether there is an association between the presence or specific characteristics of ornamental tattoos and one or more of the following infections: HBV, HCV, HIV, Chagas' disease, and syphilis. / Methods. Type of study: Hospital-based cross-sectional pair-matched study. Setting: Teaching hospital and blood bank in a Brazilian town. Study population: Adults 18 years of age and over who were admitted to the hospital, attended the outpatient clinic or volunteered to donate blood. Exclusion criteria: medical conditions causing transitory or permanent intellectual impairment; physical impossibility to provide blood specimens or information. Exposure of interest: Having at least one permanent ornamental tattoo. Covariates: Several socio-demographic and behavioral characteristics. Outcomes of interest: Presence of serological markers for one or more of the following infections: HIV, HBV, HCV, Chagas' disease and syphilis. Matching variables: Individuals with tattoos (exposed group) were pair-matched to individuals without tattoos (unexposed group) on age, sex, and main clinical complaint. Assessment of the exposure: Interview and inspection of the tattoo(s). Assessment of the outcomes: Positive or negative laboratory findings as follows for each infection: HBV - HBsAg and anti-HBc (ELISA); HCV - anti-HCV (ELISA); HIV - anti-HIV (ELISA); Chagas' disease - anti-Trypanosoma cruzi (IFA, ELISA and/or IHA); syphilis - VDRL. / Results. 345 subjects were included in the study, 182 with tattoos and 163 without tattoos. Having a tattoo was associated with HCV (adjusted OR: 6.41; 95% CI: 1.29, 31.84), and with having at least one positive test for any TTD (adjusted OR: 2.05; 95% CI: 1.11, 3.81). Among the subjects with tattoos associations were found between an increasing number of tattoos and HBV infection (adjusted OR: 2.04 (95% CI: 1.80, 9.97) for two tattoos and 3.48 (95% CI: 1.41, 8.58) for three or more tattoos), having a nonprofessional tattoo and testing positive for at least one TTD (adjusted OR: 3.25; 95% CI: 1.39, 7.59), and having three or more tattoos and testing positive for at least one TTD (adjusted OR: 2.98; 1.03, 8.64). / Conclusion. The presence of tattoo(s) may be useful in certain settings for the screening of blood donors, mostly because tattoos are associated with good indicators of TTD such as intravenous drug use.
Date January 2000
CreatorsNishioka, Sergio de Andrade.
ContributorsGyorkos, Theresa W. (advisor)
PublisherMcGill University
Source SetsLibrary and Archives Canada ETDs Repository / Centre d'archives des thèses électroniques de Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
CoverageDoctor of Philosophy (Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.)
RightsAll items in eScholarship@McGill are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
Relationalephsysno: 001804659, proquestno: NQ70114, Theses scanned by UMI/ProQuest.

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