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A group of men and women (1315 and 554, respectively) employed by six companies in Dakar, Senegal, underwent a cross-sectional study. The prevalence of arterial hypertension, according to the WHO criteria, was found to be 7.4% among the men and 10.2% among the women. Risk factors for high blood pressure were: age, body mass index, illiteracy and factors related to occupation, such as occupational category and working conditions (e.g. noise and shift work). Therapeutic control was low in this community. Awareness of hypertension was high, but a high percentage of false positive diagnosis was observed among subjects labelled as hypertensives, on the basis of inaccurate blood pressure measurement.