[Epidemic outbreak of hepatitis B from the tattoo in gypsy families]

Rev Esp Salud Publica. 1996 Jan-Feb;70(1):63-9.
[Article in Spanish]


Background: To document an outbreak of Hepatitis B in a gypsy community in the Upper Aragón region, as well as the control measures adopted.

Methods: Documented study of Hepatitis B cases and families, including an epidemiological survey and the determining of hepatitis B viral indicators (MVHB) using immunoenzymatic methods.

Results: 84.8% participation (39/45). During the months of February and March 1988, 5 cases of Hepatitis B were detected in a gypsy community in the Upper Aragon region (12.8% attack rate, 5/39), with an average age of 13.0 + 7.3, (4 women and one man). Four of the cases detected had previously undergone tatooing. The fifth case was due to direct transmission from mother to a recently born child. The MVHB study of families showed a further two cases. MVHB rate being 17.9% (7/39). Vaccinations were given to all persons susceptible to the disease.

Conclusions: It is suggested that tatooing could be a significant factor to be considered in relation to the transmission of Hepatitis B in gypsy communities. Due to the high rate of incidence of the disease in this ethnic group, general vaccination is prescribed.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis B / etiology*
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Roma*
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Spain / ethnology
  • Tattooing / adverse effects*


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines