Posted On:3/02/2007 7:51am
How much of a concern should this be for people involved in contact sports? Should compulsory blood tests or even medical background checks be introduced at martial arts clubs?
I realise it's not all that likely but is still a concern nevertheless.
RUGBY players could be at risk of contracting hepatitis B through sweat, researchers said yesterday.
A study has found that the infection, which can lead to liver damage, cancer and even death, may be passed on in sweat as well as blood.Experts writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine said those playing contact sports, such as rugby or wrestling, faced an increased risk of infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
They called for increased testing of sportsmen and sportswomen involved in contact sports.
HBV is mostly passed in blood-to-blood contact, but also by other bodily fluids. Those at risk include people having unprotected sex or injecting drugs.
Around one in 1,000 people in the UK is believed to have hepatitis B.
The study, by researchers at Celal Bayer University in Turkey, analysed blood and sweat samples from 70 Olympic wrestlers, who were also asked about injuries they had suffered.
None of the wrestlers had an active HBV infection, but the virus was found in nine blood samples (13 per cent).
Researcher Dr Selda Bereket-Yucel said this showed they had a hidden infection because intense training could suppress a normal immune response.
The researchers also found that eight wrestlers (11 per cent) had particles of the virus in their sweat.
Dr Bereket-Yucel said that mandatory testing of sportsmen should be introduced for HBV.
"In addition to bleeding wounds and mucous membranes, sweating may be another way of transmitting HBV infections in contact sports," she said.
But Dr Mark Thursz, from St Mary's Hospital in London, said that HBV particles, but not viable HBV, had been found in sweat before.
"It is hard to imagine wrestling without spillage of blood, so the risk of transmission via sweat should be dismissed or at least played down," he said.
"On the other hand, testing and vaccination in contact sports should be encouraged."
Dr James Robson, head of medical services at the Scottish Rugby Union, said the union always considered research which could affect players.
"It is starting to emerge that hepatitis B is slightly more infectious than previously thought," he said.
"But the biggest risk in our sport remains blood-borne viruses transmitted through open wounds.
"That is why we already have precautions in place to deal with that.
"Officials have the power to remove bleeding players from the pitch and order them to remove blood-drenched clothing.
"We also advise players to be immunised against hepatitis B and hepatitis A, as well as tetanus."
Fear and bullets.
Posted On:3/02/2007 8:19am
I'm immune to Hep B.
Thank god for that.
And lo, Kano looked down upon the field and saw the multitudes. Amongst them were the disciples of Uesheba who were greatly vexed at his sayings. And Kano spake: "Do not be concerned with the mote in thy neighbor's eye, when verily thou hast a massive stick in thine ass".
--Scrolls of Bujutsu: Chapter 5 vs 10-14.
Posted On:3/02/2007 8:33am
Style: Dancing the Spears
Pro athletes are generally required to undergo blood tests as are some amateurs depending upon the event. Certainly it's a concern but I can't say that it concerns me enough to really...well...concern me.
Posted On:3/02/2007 9:05am
Style: Starting Strength
Peeps need to get their shots.
International Man of Pancakes
Posted On:3/02/2007 12:20pm
Style: Wu style tcc+bjj
Ask your doctor about Twinrix...
Posted On:3/02/2007 1:45pm
I'm immune as far as i know so not a big deal to me but i'm sure some of the old school boys at training probably need re-vaccinating!
Posted On:3/02/2007 3:25pm
Style: TKD BJJ
The British Journal of Sports Medicine is not exactly the gold standard of medical journals. On top of that, the study population that was chosen is a ridiculous one - there is no way that the investigators can distinguish between transmission b/c of sweat vs. from blood, which is the accepted way that HBV is transmitted. Also, Turkey is an area where HBV is endemic, I believe, so you would expect that HBV antibodies or antigens would be found in higher proportions. Lastly, we are talking about grown men here. They can't all be virgins, and HBV is still considered a sexually transmitted disease.
Basically, don't worry about someone's sweat. The quoted study is crap.
Posted On:3/02/2007 3:45pm
Two words for that study CONFOUNDING BIAS
Posted On:3/02/2007 3:57pm
Everyone should get vaccinated for Hep A and B. Period.
Posted On:3/02/2007 4:11pm
Originally Posted by metarat
Everyone should get vaccinated for Hep A and B. Period.
HAV is not really a lethal disease, unless you happen to be really old, have a funny immune system, or have HIV (i.e. funny immune system). Sometimes you might consider vaccinating against HAV in healthy folks if you're travelling to certain parts of the world where you don't want to contract a diarrheal illness (HAV gives a stomach flu like illness that causes mild to modest liver inflammation) and would rather not have to be in the middle of nowhere having hepatitis while on vacation. Also, people who are forced to live in high density areas - i.e. military personnel, I believe, are typically vaccinated, since the military wants to keep as many of its work force active for as much as possible. Lastly, the vast majority of us already have been exposed to HAV and are immune.
I haven't followed up on routine HBV vaccination...it's considered a blood borne illness so unlike HAV, which is spread by hand contact, the need for containment is not as strong. Health care providers have to be vaccinated, because they have high exposure to blood, but I'm pretty sure that HBV is not felt to be cost effective for routine vaccination for your average person. Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong...
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