Sweat and HBV

9 03 2007

Study of wrestlers suggests vaccinating Olympians against the disease

A recent article from Reuters reported that “findings from a study of Olympic wrestlers indicate that hepatitis B virus is found in the sweat of infected individuals, and so sweating might be a way that the virus could be passed between participants in contact sports.”

We all know that HBV is transmitted through blood and other body fluids, but sweat was never considered a viable route of transmission.  This is the first study that has looked at the possibility of sweat carrying the virus and it found HBV DNA in the sweat of some HBV+ study participants.

Researchers concluded that “evidence is emerging that the incidence of occult HBV in Olympic wrestling is higher than expected and that transmission of HBV may also occur through sweat.”

Recommendations from the study are that sports organizations make it “obligatory for all participants involved in contact sports and playing under adult rules to be vaccinated against hepatitis B.”


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