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and Hepatitis.com Coverage of the
50th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC 2010)
Nearly 20% of New Hepatitis B Infections May Occur in Healthcare Settings
To learn more about routes of hepatitis B transmission, Danni Daniels from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD) and colleagues collected data from surveillance of new HBV infections reported during 2005-2009 by health departments in Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Oregon, 34 counties in New York State, and New York City. They included case patients who met clinical and laboratory criteria for infection, being positive for hepatitis B core antibodies (anti-HBc) or hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg).
Study sites evaluated the presence of 21 potential HBV risk factors during the period 6 weeks to 6 months before symptom onset, as well as 2 lifetime risk factors; people could have more than 1 risk factor.
The researchers then divided up the risk factors and compared 2 mutually exclusive risk categories:
Individuals with both types of risk factors were classified as having healthcare-associated risk, so the study captured cases that likely could potentially have been linked to health procedures or facilities, therefore representing an upper boundary.
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded, "Nearly 1 in 5 acute hepatitis B cases were identified with possible healthcare-associated risk. Almost 7% were in long-term care."
The results "suggest that healthcare-associated risk may represent a measurable portion of acute hepatitis B cases," they added.
Investigator affiliations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; Oregon Public Health Div, Portland, OR; Connecticut Dept of Health, Hartford, CT; New York City Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, NY; Colorado Dept of Public Health & Environment, Denver, CO; Minnesota Dept of Health, St Paul, MN; New York State Dept of Health, Albany, NY.