2000 AUG 13 - (NewsRx.com) -- One of the few studies to conduct an
analysis of source patient seroprevalence for hepatitis C virus
was reported recently at the CDC 2000 International Conference on
Emerging Infectious Diseases that was held in Atlanta, Georgia.
R.T. Ball from the South Carolina Department of Health and
Environmental Control was the author of the study, titled
"Increased Risks to Health Care Workers (HCW) from Hepatitis C
"The per-positive exposure seroconversion risk for hepatitis B
virus (HBV) approximates 30%, for hepatitis C virus (Hepatitis C Virus) 2%-3%,
and for HIV 0.3%. Currently there is neither pre- nor
post-exposure prophylaxis for Hepatitis C Virus exposures," Ball stated in the
To get a better picture of occupational exposures, practitioner
seroconversions, and the seroprevalence of Hepatitis C Virus, HBV, and HIV in
hospitalized source patients (SP), Ball sent out a questionnaire
to medical personnel at 66 health facilities in South Carolina.
Eighty percent of the surveys were completed and returned. Data
showed that of the 1,668 exposures recorded, 1,451 source patients
were tested for Hepatitis C Virus and 1,508 were tested for HIV.
Study data indicated Hepatitis C Virus and HIV seropositive rates of 5.2% and
"The six largest hospitals in the survey reported 1,037 exposures
averaging 88% of SP tested; the Hepatitis C Virus rate was 6.7%, with HIV of
2.2%," Ball reported.
In one hospital with more than 300 exposures, SP seroprevalence
was a high 8.7%, while the HIV rate was comparable to the study
average at 2.1%. These averages were higher than averages that
would be found in the general population, Ball noted.
"The risk for HCWs from Hepatitis C Virus is greater than realized and exceeds
HIV by 20-40 fold (seroconversion risks times the SP
seroprevalences). We anticipate three to four HCWs to
occupationally seroconvert annually," Ball said.
Ball suggested that the need to protect health care workers from
occupational exposures is an urgent and critical issue.
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The corresponding author for this study is R.T. Ball, South
Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Columbia,
South Carolina, USA.
Key points reported in this study are:
have been conducted that show the seroprevalence for hepatitis C
virus in hospitalized patients who may be the source for
patient seroprevalence for hepatitis C virus in this study is
5.2% while the rate for HIV is 2.3%
Due to the
high numbers of hospitalized patients with hepatitis C virus,
urgent measures should be undertaken to prevent occupational
This article was prepared by Medical Letter on the CDC & FDA
editors from staff and other reports. (C) Copyright 2000, Medical
Letter on the CDC & FDA via NewsRx.com
By CW Henderson, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief