01 March 2007
Hepatitis B may be spread by sweat
Hepatitis B (HBV) may be passed by sweat during contact sports such as rugby and wrestling , according to new research from the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The findings are based on a study of male Olympic wrestlers aged 18-30 whose blood and sweat was examined for traces of the virus.
Of the test group of 70 wrestlers over a third said they had bled from injuries whilst they were participating or training for the sport, which could, in itself, be enough to spread the infection.
But the survey also found that while none of the wrestlers had an active infection, over 13 per cent of them were found to be infected with hidden forms.
Meanwhile, traces of the virus approximate to the similar levels were found in the sweat of 11 per cent of the group, suggesting that the virus could be transmitted by sweat as well as blood.
Although perceived as less dangerous than HIV, HBV, which has currently infected up to six per cent of the world's population, can cause liver complications such as cancer and cirrhosis and death
Latterly some sporting regulatory bodies have stipulated that participants must take HIV tests, but there are no regulations in place for HBV.