Background: Preventing and managing hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is an important public health issue worldwide, and Taiwan is one of the countries where viral hepatitis is most endemic. Previous studies have shown that patients with serious mental illnesses have a higher risk for hepatitis infection. We investigated the prevalence of HBV and HCV among institutionalized patients with chronic schizophrenia in Taiwan. Methods: A total of 590 patients were recruited into the study. HBV surface antigen, HCV antibody, and liver function were determined for all participants. Results: The seroprevalence of HBV surface antigen was 10.4% (males 12.6%, females 7.0%), and that of anti-HCV was 1.9% (males 2.6%, females 0.8%). Conclusion: Our study showed that the prevalences of HBV and HCV among institutionalized patients with chronic schizophrenia were no higher than the prevalences in the general population in Taiwan. The commodious environment and medical resources of the hospital where the patients were living might have prevented an elevation of HBV and HCV infection in those with schizophrenia, supplementing the continuing benefits from the HBV vaccination that was introduced in 1984.
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