Tattooing and the risk of transmission of hepatitis C: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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2010 by International Journal of Infectious Diseases
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This systematic literature review seeks to determine whether tattooing is a risk factor for the transmission of hepatitis C. A comprehensive search was performed to identify all case-control, cohort or cross sectional studies published prior to November 2008 that evaluated risks related to tattooing or risk factors of transmission of hepatitis C infection. A total of 124 studies were included in this systematic review, of which 83 were included in themeta-analysis. The pooled odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of the association of tattooing and hepatitis C from all studies was 2.74 (2.38–3.15). In a subgroup analysis the strongest association was found between tattooing and risk of hepatitis C for samples derived from non-injection drug users. Findings from the current meta-analysis indicate that tattooing is associated with a higher risk of hepatitis C infection. Because tattooing is more common among youth and young adults and hepatitis C is very common in the imprisoned population, prevention programs must focus on youngsters and prisoners to lower the spread of hepatitis infection.
UK, Rest of World