Serum samples were collected from the adult population, age groups from 20 to 54 years, in 11 different Norwegian municipalities and analysed for zinc and copper by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Significant differences were found between several of the municipalities when the mean concentration of zinc in serum in 200 randomized samples were compared, with only two municipalities being different for copper. The values for zinc ranged from 13.8 to 18.3 mumol/l and copper varied between 16.3 and 19.2 mumol/l. An age related increase in the copper concentration was evident in the male population, and age-adjusted means showed a slight, but significantly higher serum copper concentration in females (18.4 mumol/l) than in males (16.5 mumol/l). For zinc the opposite sex-relationship was indicated with the highest values in males, 15.8 compared to 15.1 mumol/l in serum from females. No significant correlations were found between the concentrations of zinc and copper in serum. In all age groups of women, however, a small negative correlation was found giving a significant tendency.
Hepatitis B infection is considered a risk to dentists and their ancillary staff. To evaluate the magnitude of the risk for personnel in dental practice in Norway a questionnaire survey and a serologic investigation was performed, both disclosing frequencies of hepatitis B insignificantly higher than those in the general Norwegian population. The occurrence of anti-HBs in the general population, represented by 800 sera, appeared to be lower than the corresponding values found in Sweden and Denmark.
Exceptions have occurred to the generally reported high prevalence of viral hepatitis in dentists. Thus a recent questionnaire survey (1) indicated a low risk of hepatitis in dental professionals in Norway. The present supplementary study was based on frequencies of serological markers of viral hepatitis and disclosed an exposure rate to hepatitis B insignificantly higher than that of the general population. The frequency of antibody to hepatitis A virus was equal to that of the general population.