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1.  Rates of Latent Tuberculosis in Health Care Staff in Russia 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(2):e55.
Background
Russia is one of 22 high burden tuberculosis (TB) countries. Identifying individuals, particularly health care workers (HCWs) with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), and determining the rate of infection, can assist TB control through chemoprophylaxis and improving institutional cross-infection strategies. The objective of the study was to estimate the prevalence and determine the relative risks and risk factors for infection, within a vertically organised TB service in a country with universal bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cross-sectional study to assess the prevalence of and risk factors for LTBI among unexposed students, minimally exposed medical students, primary care health providers, and TB hospital health providers in Samara, Russian Federation. We used a novel in vitro assay (for gamma-interferon [IFN-γ]) release to establish LTBI and a questionnaire to address risk factors. LTBI was seen in 40.8% (107/262) of staff and was significantly higher in doctors and nurses (39.1% [90/230]) than in students (8.7% [32/368]) (relative risk [RR] 4.5; 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.1–6.5) and in TB service versus primary health doctors and nurses: respectively 46.9% (45/96) versus 29.3% (34/116) (RR 1.6; 95% CI 1.1–2.3). There was a gradient of LTBI, proportional to exposure, in medical students, primary health care providers, and TB doctors: respectively, 10.1% (24/238), 25.5% (14/55), and 55% (22/40). LTBI was also high in TB laboratory workers: 11/18 (61.1%).
Conclusions
IFN-γ assays have a useful role in screening HCWs with a high risk of LTBI and who are BCG vaccinated. TB HCWs were at significantly higher risk of having LTBI. Larger cohort studies are needed to evaluate the individual risks of active TB development in positive individuals and the effectiveness of preventive therapy based on IFN-γ test results.
Gamma-interferon assays were used in a cross-sectional study of Russian health care workers and found high rates of latent tuberculosis infection.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a very common and life-threatening infection caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is carried by about a third of the world's population. Many people who are infected do not develop the symptoms of disease; this is called “latent infection.” However, it is important to detect latent infection among people in high-risk communities, in order to prevent infected people from developing active disease, and therefore also reduce the spread of TB within the community. 22 countries account for 80% of the world's active TB, and Russia is one of these. Health care workers are particularly at risk for developing active TB disease in Russia, but the extent of latent infection is not known. In order to design appropriate measures for controlling TB in Russia, it is important to know how common latent infection is among health care workers, as well as other members of the community.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers here had been studying the spread of tuberculosis in Samara City in southeastern Russia, where the rate of TB disease among health care workers was very high; in 2004 the number of TB cases among health care workers on TB wards was over ten times that in the general population. There was also no information available on the rates of latent TB infection among health care workers in Samara City. The researchers therefore wanted to work out what proportion of health care workers in Samara City had latent TB infection, and particularly to compare groups whom they thought would be at different levels of risk (students, clinicians outside of TB wards, clinicians on TB wards, etc.). Finally, the researchers also wanted to use a new test for detecting latent TB infection. The traditional test for detecting TB infection (tuberculin skin test) is not very reliable among people who have received the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination against TB earlier in life, as is the case in Russia. In this study a new test was therefore used, based on measuring the immune response to two proteins produced by M. tuberculosis, which are not present in the BCG vaccine strain.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In this study the researchers tested health care workers from all the TB clinics in Samara City, as well as other clinical staff and students, for latent tuberculosis. In total, 630 people had blood samples taken for testing. A questionnaire was also used to collect information on possible risk factors for TB. As expected, the rate of latent TB infection was highest among clinical staff working in the TB clinics, 47% of whom were infected with M. tuberculosis. This compared to a 10% infection rate among medical students and 29% infection rate among primary care health workers. The differences in infection rate between medical students, primary care health workers, and TB clinic staff were statistically significant and reflected progressively increasing exposure to TB. Among primary care health workers, past exposure to TB was a risk factor for having latent TB infection.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study showed that there was a high rate of latent TB infection among health care workers in Samara City and that infection is increasingly likely among people with either past or present exposure to TB. The results suggest that further research should be carried out to test whether mass screening for latent infection, followed by treatment, will reduce the rate of active TB disease among health care workers and also prevent further spread of TB. There are concerns that widespread treatment of latent infection may not be completely effective due to the relatively high prevalence of drug-resistant TB strains and any new initiatives would therefore need to be carefully evaluated.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040055.
The Stop TB Partnership has been set up to eliminate TB as a public health problem; its site provides data and resources about TB in each of the 22 most-affected countries, including Russia
Tuberculosis minisite from the World Health Organization, providing data on tuberculosis worldwide, details of the Stop TB strategy, as well as fact sheets and current guidelines
The US Centers for Disease Control has a tuberculosis minisite, including a fact sheet on latent TB
Information from the US Centers for Disease Control about the QuantiFERON-TB Gold test, used to test for latent TB infection in this study
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040055
PMCID: PMC1796908  PMID: 17298167
2.  Incidence of occupational exposures in a tertiary health care center 
Introduction:
Occupational exposure to Hepatitis B virus (HBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a cause of concern to all health care workers (HCWs), especially those, in hospitals. Among the HCWs, nurses, interns, technicians, resident doctors and housekeeping staff have the highest incidence of occupational exposure.
Aims:
To analyze the cases of needle stick injuries and other exposures to patient's blood or body fluids among health care workers.
Materials and Methods:
A detailed account of the exposure is documented which includes incidence of needle stick injuries (NSI) and implementation of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) as per the hospital guidelines. We report a two-year continuing surveillance study where 255 health care workers (HCWs) were included. PEP was given to HCWs sustaining NSI or exposures to blood and body fluids when the source is known sero-positive or even unknown where the risk of transmission is high. Follow-up of these HCW's was done after three and six months of exposure.
Results:
Of the 255 HCWs, 59 sustained needle stick injuries and two were exposed to splashes. 31 of the NSI were from known sources and 28 from unknown sources. From known sources, thirteen were seropositive; seven for HIV, three for HCV and three for HBV. Nineteen of them sustained needle stick during needle re-capping, six of them during clean up, six of them while discarding into the container, 17 during administration of injection, eight of them during suturing, two occurred in restless patient, 17 during needle disposal.
Conclusion:
So far, no case of sero-conversion as a result of needle stick injuries was reported at our center.
doi:10.4103/0253-7184.102111
PMCID: PMC3505302  PMID: 23188932
Human immunodeficiency virus; hepatitis B and C virus; Occupational exposure; post-exposure prophylaxis
3.  Hepatitis B Vaccination Status and Needlestick Injuries Among Healthcare Workers in Syria 
Background:
Although a majority of countries in the Middle East show intermediate or high endemicity of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which clearly poses a serious public health problem in the region, the situation in the Republic of Syria remains unclear. The aim of this study is to determine the hepatitis B vaccination status, to assess the number of vaccinations administered, and to estimate the annual incidence of needlestick injuries (NSIs) among healthcare workers (HCWs) in Aleppo University hospitals.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional design with a survey questionnaire was used for exploring details of NSIs during 2008, hepatitis B vaccination status, and HBV infection among a random stratified sample of HCWs in three tertiary hospitals in Aleppo (n = 321).
Results:
Two hundred and forty-six (76.6%) HCWs had sustained at least one NSI during 2008. Nine (2.8%) had HBV chronic infection and 75 HCWs (23.4%) were never vaccinated. Anesthesiology technicians had the greatest exposure risk when compared to office workers [OR = 16,95% CI (2.55-100), P < 0.01], doctors [OR = 10,95% CI (2.1 47.57), P < 0.01], and nurses [OR = 6.75,95% CI (1.56-29.03), P = 0.01]. HCWs under 25 and between the age of 25 and 35 years were at increased risk for NSI when compared to HCWs older than 45 years [OR = 3.12,95% CI (1.19-8.19), P = 0.02] and [OR = 3.05,95% CI (1.42-6.57), P < 0.01], respectively.
Conclusion:
HCWs at Aleppo University hospitals are frequently exposed to blood-borne infections. Precautions and protection from NSIs are important in preventing infection of HCWs. Education about the transmission of blood-borne infections, vaccination, and post-exposure prophylaxis must be implemented and strictly monitored.
doi:10.4103/0974-777X.59247
PMCID: PMC2840977  PMID: 20300414
Needlestick injuries; Hepatitis B infection; Healthcare workers
4.  Infection Control and Practice of Standard Precautions Among Healthcare Workers in Northern Nigeria 
Background:
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) have been reported to be a serious problem in the healthcare services as they are common causes of illness and mortality among hospitalized patients including healthcare workers (HCWs). Compliance with these standard precautions has been shown to reduce the risk of exposure to blood and body fluids.
Aims:
This study therefore assesses the level of knowledge and compliance with standard precautions by the various cadre of HCWs and the factors influencing compliance in hospital environment in Nasarawa State, Northern Nigeria.
Settings and Design:
Nasarawa State has a current human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) prevalence rate of 10.0%, which was higher than most states in Nigeria with a high level of illiteracy and ignorance. Majority of the people reside in the rural areas while a few are found in the towns, informal settlements with no direct access to healthcare facilities are common.
Materials and Methods:
This study is an analytical, cross-sectional study. Proportional sampling technique was used to obtain a representative sample and a structured self-administered questionnaire was used to collect relevant information from the healthcare providers working in Nasarawa State from January to February 2009.
Statistical analysis used:
To describe patient characteristics, we calculated proportions and medians. For categorical variables, we compared proportions using chi-square tests. A logistic regression model was produced with infection control as outcome variable to identify associated factors.
Results:
A total of 421 HCWs were interviewed, Majority (77.9%) correctly describe universal precaution and infection control with 19.2, 19.2, and 28.0%, respectively unable to recognize vaccination, postexposure prophylaxis, and surveillance for emerging diseases as standard precaution for infection control. About 70.1% usually wear gloves before handling patients or patients’ care products, 12.6% reported wash their hand before wearing the gloves, 10.7% washed hands after removal of gloves, and 72.4% changed gloves after each patient. Only 3.3% had a sharp disposal system in their various workplaces. Majority (98.6%) of the respondents reported that the major reason for noncompliance to universal precautions is the nonavailability of the equipments. There was a statistically significant difference in the practice of standard precaution among those that were exposed to blood products and body fluid compared to those that had not been exposed in the last 6 months (χ2 = 3.96, P = 0.03), public healthcare providers when compared to private health workers (χ2 = 22.32, P = 0.001), among those working in secondary and tertiary facilities compared to primary healthcare centers (χ2 = 14.64, P = 0.001) and urban areas when compared to rural areas (χ2 = 4.06, P = 0.02). The only predictor of practice of standard precaution was exposure to blood and body fluid in the last 6 months odds ratio (OR) = 4.56 (confidence interval (CI) = 1.00-21.28).
Conclusions:
This study implies that inadequate workers’ knowledge and environment related problems, including the lack of protective materials and other equipments and utilities required to ensure safety of HCWs is a crucial issue that need urgent attention. Institution of a surveillance system for hospital acquired infection to improve consistent use of standard precautions among health workers is recommended in Nigeria and other low income countries in Africa.
doi:10.4103/0974-777X.122010
PMCID: PMC3958986  PMID: 24672178
Health workers; Infection control; Northern Nigeria; Standard precaution practice
5.  Prevalence of HBV and HBV vaccination coverage in health care workers of tertiary hospitals of Peshawar, Pakistan 
Virology Journal  2011;8:275.
Background
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) may progress to serious consequences and increase dramatically beyond endemic dimensions that transmits to or from health care workers (HCWs) during routine investigation in their work places. Basic aim of this study was to canvass the safety of HCWs and determine the prevalence of HBV and its possible association with occupational and non-occupational risk factors. Hepatitis B vaccination coverage level and main barriers to vaccination were also taken in account.
Results
A total of 824 health care workers were randomly selected from three major hospitals of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Blood samples were analyzed in Department of Zoology, Kohat University of Science and Technology Kohat, and relevant information was obtained by means of preset questionnaire. HCWs in the studied hospitals showed 2.18% prevalence of positive HBV. Nurses and technicians were more prone to occupational exposure and to HBV infection. There was significant difference between vaccinated and non-vaccinated HCWs as well as between the doctors and all other categories. Barriers to complete vaccination, in spite of good knowledge of subjects in this regard were work pressure (39.8%), negligence (38.8%) un-affordability (20.9%), and unavailability (0.5%).
Conclusions
Special preventive measures (universal precaution and vaccination), which are fundamental way to protect HCW against HBV infection should be adopted.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-275
PMCID: PMC3121707  PMID: 21645287
6.  Tuberculosis among Health-Care Workers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e494.
Background
The risk of transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from patients to health-care workers (HCWs) is a neglected problem in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Most health-care facilities in these countries lack resources to prevent nosocomial transmission of tuberculosis (TB).
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review to summarize the evidence on the incidence and prevalence of latent TB infection (LTBI) and disease among HCWs in LMICs, and to evaluate the impact of various preventive strategies that have been attempted. To identify relevant studies, we searched electronic databases and journals, and contacted experts in the field. We identified 42 articles, consisting of 51 studies, and extracted data on incidence, prevalence, and risk factors for LTBI and disease among HCWs. The prevalence of LTBI among HCWs was, on average, 54% (range 33% to 79%). Estimates of the annual risk of LTBI ranged from 0.5% to 14.3%, and the annual incidence of TB disease in HCWs ranged from 69 to 5,780 per 100,000. The attributable risk for TB disease in HCWs, compared to the risk in the general population, ranged from 25 to 5,361 per 100,000 per year. A higher risk of acquiring TB disease was associated with certain work locations (inpatient TB facility, laboratory, internal medicine, and emergency facilities) and occupational categories (radiology technicians, patient attendants, nurses, ward attendants, paramedics, and clinical officers).
Conclusions
In summary, our review demonstrates that TB is a significant occupational problem among HCWs in LMICs. Available evidence reinforces the need to design and implement simple, effective, and affordable TB infection-control programs in health-care facilities in these countries.
A systematic review demonstrates that tuberculosis is an important occupational problem among health care workers in low and middle-income countries.
Editors' Summary
Background.
One third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). In many people, the bug causes no health problems—it remains latent. But about 10% of infected people develop active, potentially fatal TB, often in their lungs. People with active pulmonary TB readily spread the infection to other people, including health-care workers (HCWs), in small airborne droplets produced when they cough or sneeze. In high-income countries such as the US, guidelines are in place to minimize the transmission of TB in health-care facilities. Administrative controls (for example, standard treatment plans for people with suspected or confirmed TB) aim to reduce the exposure of HCWs to people with TB. Environmental controls (for example, the use of special isolation rooms) aim to prevent the spread and to reduce the concentration of infectious droplets in the air. Finally, respiratory-protection controls (for example, personal respirators for nursing staff) aim to reduce the risk of infection when exposure to M. tuberculosis is unavoidably high. Together, these three layers of control have reduced the incidence of TB in HCWs (the number who catch TB annually) in high-income countries.
Why Was This Study Done?
But what about low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where more than 90% of the world's cases of TB occur? Here, there is little money available to implement even low-cost strategies to reduce TB transmission in health-care facilities—so how important an occupational disease is TB in HCWs in these countries? In this study, the researchers have systematically reviewed published papers to find out the incidence and prevalence (how many people in a population have a specific disease) of active TB and latent TB infections (LTBIs) in HCWs in LMICs. They have also investigated whether any of the preventative strategies used in high-income countries have been shown to reduce the TB burden in HCWs in poorer countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To identify studies on TB transmission to HCWs in LMICs, the researchers searched electronic databases and journals, and also contacted experts on TB transmission. They then extracted and analyzed the relevant data on TB incidence, prevalence, risk factors, and control measures. Averaged-out over the 51 identified studies, 54% of HCWs had LTBI. In most of the studies, increasing age and duration of employment in health-care facilities, indicating a longer cumulative exposure to infection, was associated with a higher prevalence of LTBI. The same trend was seen in a subgroup of medical and nursing students. After accounting for the incidence of TB in the relevant general population, the excess incidence of TB in the different studies that was attributable to being a HCW ranged from 25 to 5,361 cases per 100, 000 people per year. In addition, a higher risk of acquiring TB was associated with working in specific locations (for example, inpatient TB facilities or diagnostic laboratories) and with specific occupations, including nurses and radiology attendants; most of the health-care facilities examined in the published studies had no specific TB infection-control programs in place.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all systematic reviews, the accuracy of these findings may be limited by some aspects of the original studies, such as how the incidence of LTBI was measured. In addition, the possibility that the researchers missed some relevant published studies, or that only studies where there was a high incidence of TB in HCWs were published, may also affect the findings of this study. Nevertheless, they suggest that TB is an important occupational disease in HCWs in LMICs and that the HCWs most at risk of TB are those exposed to the most patients with TB. Reduction of that risk should be a high priority because occupational TB leads to the loss of essential, skilled HCWs. Unfortunately, there are few data available to indicate how this should be done. Thus, the researchers conclude, well-designed field studies are urgently needed to evaluate whether the TB-control measures that have reduced TB transmission to HCWs in high-income countries will work and be affordable in LMICs.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030494.
• US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases patient fact sheet on tuberculosis
• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information for patients and professionals on tuberculosis
• MedlinePlus encyclopedia entry on tuberculosis
• NHS Direct Online, from the UK National Health Service, patient information on tuberculosis
• US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, information about tuberculosis for health-care workers
• American Lung Association information on tuberculosis and health-care workers
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030494
PMCID: PMC1716189  PMID: 17194191
7.  Evaluation of immune response to Hepatitis B vaccine in health care workers at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan: an observational prospective study 
Background
Seroconversion rates reported after Hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination globally ranges from 85–90%. Health care workers (HCWs) are at high risk of acquiring HBV and non responders' rates after HBV vaccination were not reported previously in Pakistani HCWs. Therefore we evaluated immune response to HBV vaccine in HCWs at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods
Descriptive observational study conducted at Aga Khan University from April 2003 to July 2004. Newly HBV vaccinated HCWs were evaluated for immune response by measuring serum Hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb) levels, 6 weeks post vaccination.
Results
Initially 666 employees were included in the study. 14 participants were excluded due to incomplete records. 271 (41%) participants were females and 381(59%) were males. Majority of the participants were young (<25–39 years old), regardless of gender. Out of 652 HCWs, 90 (14%) remained seronegative after six weeks of post vaccination. The percentage of non responders increased gradually from 9% in participants of <25, 13% in 25–34, 26% in 35–49, and 63% in >50 years of age. Male non responders were more frequent (18%) than female (8%).
Conclusion
Seroconversion rate after HBV vaccination in Pakistani HCWs was similar to that reported in western and neighboring population. HCWs with reduced immune response to HBV vaccine in a high disease prevalent population are at great risk. Therefore, it is crucial to check post vaccination HBsAb in all HCWs. This strategy will ensure safety at work by reducing nosocomial transmission and will have a cost effective impact at an individual as well as at national level, which is very much desired in a resource limited country.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-120
PMCID: PMC2228304  PMID: 17961205
8.  Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice of Iranian Medical Specialists regarding Hepatitis B and C 
Hepatitis Monthly  2010;10(3):176-182.
Background and Aims
Health care workers (HCWs) are at risk of contracting and spreading hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) to others. The aim of this study was to evaluate knowledge, attitudes and behavior of physicians concerning HBV and HCV.
Methods
A 29-item questionnaire (reliability coefficient = 0.7) was distributed at two national/regional congresses and two university hospitals in Iran. Five medical groups (dentists, general practitioners, paraclinicians, surgeons and internists) received 450 questionnaires in 2009, of which 369 questionnaires (82%) were filled out.
Results
Knowledge about routes of transmission of HBV and HCV, prevalence rate and seroconversion rates secondary to a needlestick injury was moderate to low. Concern about being infected with HBV and HCV was 69.4±2.1 and 76.3±2 (out of 100), respectively. Complete HBV vaccination was done on 88.1% of the participants. Sixty percent had checked their hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs), and 83.8% were positive. Only 24% of the surgeons often used double gloves and 28% had reported a needlestick. There was no significant correlation between the different specialties and: concern about HBV and HCV; the underreporting of needlestick injuries; and correct knowledge of post-needlestick HBV infection.
Conclusions
Although our participants were afraid of acquiring HBV and HCV, knowledge about routes of transmission, prevalence, protection and post-exposure seroconversion rates was unsatisfactory. By making physicians aware of possible post-exposure prophylaxis, the underreporting of needlestick injuries could be eliminated. Continuous training about HBV and HCV transmission routes, seroconversion rates, protection, as well as hepatitis B vaccination and checking the anti-HBs level, is a matter of necessity.
PMCID: PMC3269081  PMID: 22308136
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Health Knowledge; Attitudes; Practices; Iran
9.  The Effects of Influenza Vaccination of Health Care Workers in Nursing Homes: Insights from a Mathematical Model 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e200.
Background
Annual influenza vaccination of institutional health care workers (HCWs) is advised in most Western countries, but adherence to this recommendation is generally low. Although protective effects of this intervention for nursing home patients have been demonstrated in some clinical trials, the exact relationship between increased vaccine uptake among HCWs and protection of patients remains unknown owing to variations between study designs, settings, intensity of influenza seasons, and failure to control all effect modifiers. Therefore, we use a mathematical model to estimate the effects of HCW vaccination in different scenarios and to identify a herd immunity threshold in a nursing home department.
Methods and Findings
We use a stochastic individual-based model with discrete time intervals to simulate influenza virus transmission in a 30-bed long-term care nursing home department. We simulate different levels of HCW vaccine uptake and study the effect on influenza virus attack rates among patients for different institutional and seasonal scenarios. Our model reveals a robust linear relationship between the number of HCWs vaccinated and the expected number of influenza virus infections among patients. In a realistic scenario, approximately 60% of influenza virus infections among patients can be prevented when the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 to 1. A threshold for herd immunity is not detected. Due to stochastic variations, the differences in patient attack rates between departments are high and large outbreaks can occur for every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
Conclusions
The absence of herd immunity in nursing homes implies that vaccination of every additional HCW protects an additional fraction of patients. Because of large stochastic variations, results of small-sized clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination should be interpreted with great care. Moreover, the large variations in attack rates should be taken into account when designing future studies.
Using a mathematical model to simulate influenza transmission in nursing homes, Carline van den Dool and colleagues find that each additional staff member vaccinated further reduces the risk to patients.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza, a contagious viral disease of the nose, throat, and airways. Most people recover completely from influenza within a week or two but some develop life-threatening complications such as bacterial pneumonia. As a result, influenza outbreaks kill about half a million people—mainly infants, elderly people, and chronically ill individuals—each year. To minimize influenza-related deaths, the World Health Organization recommends that vulnerable people be vaccinated against influenza every autumn. Annual vaccination is necessary because flu viruses continually make small changes to the viral proteins (antigens) that the immune system recognizes. This means that an immune response produced one year provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. To provide maximum protection against influenza, each year's vaccine contains disabled versions of the major circulating strains of influenza viruses.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most Western countries also recommend annual flu vaccination for health care workers (HCWs) in hospitals and other institutions to reduce the transmission of influenza to vulnerable patients. However, many HCWs don't get a regular flu shot, so should efforts be made to increase their rate of vaccine uptake? To answer this question, public-health experts need to know more about the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection. In particular, they need to know whether a high rate of vaccine uptake by HCWs will provide “herd immunity.” Herd immunity occurs because, when a sufficient fraction of a population is immune to a disease that passes from person to person, infected people rarely come into contact with susceptible people, which means that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are protected from the disease. In this study, the researchers develop a mathematical model to investigate the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection in a nursing home department.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To predict influenza virus attack rates (the number of patient infections divided by the number of patients in a nursing home department during an influenza season) at different levels of HCW vaccine uptake, the researchers develop a stochastic transmission model to simulate epidemics on a computer. This model predicts that as the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 (no HCWs vaccinated) to 1 (all the HCWs vaccinated), the expected average influenza virus attack rate decreases at a constant rate. In the researchers' baseline scenario—a nursing home department with 30 beds where patients come into contact with other patients, HCWs, and visitors—the model predicts that about 60% of the patients who would have been infected if no HCWs had been vaccinated are protected when all the HCWs are vaccinated, and that seven HCWs would have to be vaccinated to protect one patient. This last figure does not change with increasing vaccine uptake, which indicates that there is no level of HCW vaccination that completely stops the spread of influenza among the patients; that is, there is no herd immunity. Finally, the researchers show that large influenza outbreaks can happen by chance at every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all mathematical models, the accuracy of these predictions may depend on the specific assumptions built into the model. Therefore the researchers verified that their findings hold for a wide range of plausible assumptions. These findings have two important practical implications. First, the direct relationship between HCW vaccination and patient protection and the lack of any herd immunity suggest that any increase in HCW vaccine uptake will be beneficial to patients in nursing homes. That is, increasing the HCW vaccination rate from 80% to 90% is likely to be as important as increasing it from 10% to 20%. Second, even 100% HCW vaccination cannot guarantee that influenza outbreaks will not occasionally occur in nursing homes. Because of the large variation in attack rates, the results of small clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination may be inaccurate and future studies will need to be very large if they are to provide reliable estimates of the amount of protection that HCW vaccination provides to vulnerable patients.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050200.
Read the related PLoSMedicine Perspective by Cécile Viboud and Mark Miller
A related PLoSMedicine Research Article by Jeffrey Kwong and colleagues is also available
The World Health Organization provides information on influenza and on influenza vaccines (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information for patients and professionals on all aspects of influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK Health Protection Agency also provides information on influenza
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to other information about influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service provides information about herd immunity, including a simple explanatory animation
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides an overview on the types of influenza
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050200
PMCID: PMC2573905  PMID: 18959470
10.  Occupational exposure to body fluids among health care workers in Georgia 
Background
Health care workers (HCWs) are at increased risk of being infected with blood-borne pathogens.
Aims
To evaluate risk of occupational exposure to blood-borne viruses and determine the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HCWs in Georgia.
Methods
The sample included HCWs from seven medical institutions in five cities in Georgia. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on demographic, occupational and personal risk factors for blood-borne viruses. After obtaining informed consent, blood was drawn from the study participants for a seroprevalence study of HBV, HCV and HIV infections.
Results
There were 1386 participating HCWs from a number of departments, including surgery (29%), internal medicine (19%) and intensive care (19%). Nosocomial risk events were reported by the majority of HCWs, including accidental needlestick injury (45%), cuts with contaminated instruments (38%) and blood splashes (46%). The most frequent risk for receiving a cut was related to a false move during a procedure, reassembling devices and handing devices to a colleague. The highest proportion of needlestick injuries among physicians (22%) and nurses (39%) was related to recapping of used needles. No HIV-infected HCW was identified. Prevalence of HCV infection was 5%, anti-HBc was present among 29% with 2% being HBsAg carriers.
Conclusions
Data from this study can be utilized in educational programs and implementation of universal safety precautions for HCWs in Georgia to help achieve similar reductions in blood-borne infection transmission to those achieved in developed countries.
doi:10.1093/occmed/kqs121
PMCID: PMC3612004  PMID: 22869786
Blood-borne virus; contamination injury; developing country; needlestick
11.  Is Universal HBV Vaccination of Healthcare Workers a Relevant Strategy in Developing Endemic Countries? The Case of a University Hospital in Niger 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44442.
Background
Exposure to hepatitis B virus (HBV) remains a serious risk to healthcare workers (HCWs) in endemic developing countries owing to the strong prevalence of HBV in the general and hospital populations, and to the high rate of occupational blood exposure. Routine HBV vaccination programs targeted to high-risk groups and especially to HCWs are generally considered as a key element of prevention strategies. However, the high rate of natural immunization among adults in such countries where most infections occur perinatally or during early childhood must be taken into account.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We conducted a cross sectional study in 207 personnel of 4 occupational groups (medical, paramedical, cleaning staff, and administrative) in Niamey’s National Hospital, Niger, in order to assess the prevalence of HBV markers, to evaluate susceptibility to HBV infection, and to identify personnel who might benefit from vaccination. The proportion of those who declared a history of occupational blood exposure ranged from 18.9% in the administrative staff to 46.9% in paramedical staff. Only 7.2% had a history of vaccination against HBV with at least 3 injections. Ninety two percent were anti-HBc positive. When we focused on170 HCWs, only 12 (7.1%) showed no biological HBV contact. Twenty six were HBsAg positive (15,3%; 95% confidence interval: 9.9%–20.7%) of whom 8 (32%) had a viral load >2000 IU/ml.
Conclusions/Significance
The very small proportion of HCWs susceptible to HBV infection in our study and other studies suggests that in a global approach to prevent occupational infection by bloodborne pathogens, a universal hepatitis B vaccination of HCWs is not priority in these settings. The greatest impact on the risk will most likely be achieved by focusing efforts on primary prevention strategies to reduce occupational blood exposure. HBV screening in HCWs and treatment of those with chronic HBV infection should be however considered.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044442
PMCID: PMC3436880  PMID: 22970218
12.  Hepatitis B Virus infection in HIV-positive population in Brazil: results of a survey in the state of Mato Grosso and a comparative analysis with other regions of Brazil 
Background
End-stage liver disease is currently a major concern among HIV-positive individuals due to co-infection with hepatotropic virus. Hepatitis C has been pointed out as a remarkable factor for that. More recently, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has also been found to play a role on liver disease in this population. HIV-HBV co-infection prevalence remains largely unknown in vast areas of Brazil. The objective of the present study was to estimate the prevalence of HBV and HDV infection in HIV-infected subjects living in the state of Mato Grosso, in the Central region of Brazil, and compare it to other Brazilian studies. We also assess epidemiologic data regarding risk factors and vaccinal status.
Methods
HIV-positive individuals followed at the Central Laboratory of the Department of Public Health of Mato Grosso in the city of Cuiabá composed the sample. Participants answered a specific questionnaire and had a blood sample taken and tested for serologic markers.
Results
A thousand individuals were interviewed and tested for HBsAg, anti-HBc, anti-HBs and anti-HDV if positive for HBsAg. Measurements of CD4 and viral load for HIV-1 were also performed. Overall prevalence of HBV exposure (anti-HBc +ve) was 40.0%, and 3.7% for HBsAg. This prevalence data was similar or slightly lower than for other Brazilian regions, which ranged from 40% and 3% to 71% and 24%, respectively. Testing for anti-HDV in the 37 HBsAg positive patients was positive in only one subject. Factors that showed independent association with HBV exposure, after adjustment, were: male gender, older age groups, tattooing, and reporting more than ten sexual partners throughout life (p < 0.01). Eighty-one (27.5%) out of 291 HBV-unexposed individuals who reported vaccination were anti-HBs positive. Anti-HBs prevalence was higher among those who had higher levels of CD4 by multivariate analysis.
Conclusion
Our data showed HBV infection prevalence similar or slightly lower than that reported in other regions of Brazil. In addition, our data revealed a less important role for drug injection in the spread of HIV and HBV in Mato Grosso compared to other regions of the country. The high rate of non-vaccinated subjects among this HBV-unexposed, HIV-infected population is a matter of considerable health concern in this region. The relationship between CD4 levels and HBV vaccine response found in the present study reinforces the need of keeping health care workers alert to this issue.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-34
PMCID: PMC1421409  PMID: 16504137
13.  Hepatitis B and C Viruses Infections and Their Association with Human Immunodeficiency Virus: A Cross-Sectional Study among Blood Donors in Ethiopia 
Background
Since the introduction of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy and the dramatic improvement in the prognosis of individuals with Human Immunodeficiency Virus, liver disease due to chronic viral hepatitis has become as important cause of morbidity and mortality in co-infected individuals. The objective of the study was to determine the Sero-prevalence of Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus and the association of the virus with Hepatitis B Virus and Hepatitis C Virus infection. As Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis B Virus infections are highly prevalent and they are among the major public health concern in developing countries including Ethiopia investigating this problem is of paramount benefit. Although studies on co-infection of Hepatitis C Virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus have clearly identified adverse effects of co-infection, the prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus infection and the association with Human Immunodeficiency Virus in developing countries including Ethiopia has not been know for sure.
Method
A cross sectional study was conducted from January 1 to 31, 2010, in Jimma University specialized hospital Blood Bank. The inclusion criteria of the study was adult who donated blood to Jimma University specialized hospital blood bank any time from establishment of the unit until January 2010 and whose record was retrieved. Accordingly 9,204 adults were included of which 6,063 were selected by lottery method. Data on socio-demographic variables (age and sex), laboratory test result for Hepatitis B surface Antigen, anti-Hepatitis C Virus antibody, anti-Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1 antibody, and Rapid Plasma Reagin tests were collected using structured questionnaire. After the data were collected, they were entered into a computer and analyzed using SPSS -16 for windows. P-Value of < 0.05 was taken to be statistically significant.
Results
The prevalence rate of Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus and syphilis infection were 2.1%, 0.2%, 2.1% and 0.7%, respectively. Sex and age had statistically significant association with Human Immunodeficiency and Hepatitis B virus infections where females were less likely to be infected. As age increases above 20 years, the risk of infection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus or Hepatitis B Virus increases. There was no association between Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
Conclusion
the prevalence rate of Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus infections among blood donors in Jimma University specialized hospital were lower as compared to previous studies, in addition there was no association between Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Thus, community based study should be conducted to confirm the relationship of Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
PMCID: PMC3275856  PMID: 22434987
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; HIV; blood donors; Southwest Ethiopia
14.  Theatre and laboratory workers’ awareness of and safety practices against hepatitis B and C infection in a suburban university teaching hospital in Nigeria 
Introduction
The consistent use of barrier protection among theatre workers is low in this region, so also is hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination. We assessed the level of awareness of HBV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), HBV vaccination and adoption of safety measures by theatre and laboratory workers.
Methods
Structured questionnaires were administered to these workers which assessed level of knowledge of the viruses, practice of barrier protection and level of HBV vaccination.
Results
Of 169 participants 32.5% were laboratory workers, 67.5% were theatre workers; 29.6% males, 70.4% females. Most 94% (159) were aware that HBV and HCV are viral infections, while 77% (127) and 72.1% (119) knew HBV and HCV are transmitted through blood transfusion and needle stick injuries; a correct knowledge was significantly better among respondents with tertiary education (OR 2.7; 95%CI 1.2-6.3 and OR 2.3; 95%CI 1.0-5.1 respectively). Although 49.1% (80) were aware unprotected sex was a route of transmission, laboratory staff was twice as likely to have this knowledge (OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.08-4.08). Only 67.5% (114) use safety measures consistently, while 86 (54.8%) had received the vaccine of which only 48 (29.78% of total respondents) had completed three (3) doses; more likely among those with tertiary education (OR 2.6; 95%CI 1.2-5.8).
Conclusion
Most (94%) workers were aware of the risk of HBV and HCV and HBV vaccine (92.9%) but only few (29.78%) completed vaccination. Unfortunately, only 2/3 use protective measures consistently. There is need to make vaccination of health care workers against HBV infection a firm policy and ensure complete and consistent adherence to work standard safety measures.
PMCID: PMC3527056  PMID: 23308310
HIV; HCV; HBV vaccination; healthcare workers; safety measures
15.  Knowledge of Hepatitis B Virus Infection, Immunization with Hepatitis B Vaccine, Risk Perception, and Challenges to Control Hepatitis among Hospital Workers in a Nigerian Tertiary Hospital 
Background. Studies had reported high rate of hepatitis B infection among hospital workers with low participation in vaccination programmes, especially those whose work exposes them to the risk of HBV infection. The study assessed knowledge of hepatitis B virus infection, risk perception, vaccination history, and challenges to control hepatitis among health workers. Methods. A descriptive cross-sectional study. Consenting health care workers completed a self-administered questionnaire that assessed respondents' general knowledge of HBV, vaccination history and HBsAg status, risk perception, and challenges to control hepatitis. Data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results. Three hundred and eighty-two health care workers participated in the study. There were 182 males and 200 females. The respondents comprised 94 (25%) medical doctors, 168 (44%) nurses, 68 (18%) medical laboratory technologists, and 52 (14%) pharmacists. Over 33% had poor knowledge with 35% not immunized against HBV. Predictors of good knowledge include age less than 35 years, male sex, being a medical doctor, previous HBsAg test, and complete HBV immunisation. Identified challenges to control hepatitis include lack of hospital policy (91.6%), poor orientation of newly employed health workers (75.9%), and low risk perception (74.6%). Conclusion. Hospital policy issues and low risk perception of HBV transmission have grave implications for the control of HBV infection.
doi:10.1155/2015/439867
PMCID: PMC4320901
16.  Seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infections among health students and health care workers in the Najran region, southwestern Saudi Arabia: The need for national guidelines for health students 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:577.
Background
The objectives of the study were to study the seroprevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among health college students (HS) and health care workers (HCWs) in the Najran Region of south-western Saudi Arabia and to study the students’ knowledge of occupational exposure to blood-borne viral infections.
Methods
A cross-sectional study of a representative sample of 300 HS and 300 HCWs was conducted.
Results
An overall seroprevalence of HBV of 1.7% and 8.7% was found among HS and HCWs, respectively. Two-thirds of HS (66.7%, 200) and 23.3% (70) of HCWs lack anti-HBs and are susceptible to HBV infection. An overall seroprevalence of HCV of 0% and 0.3% was found among the HS and HCWs, respectively. The present study indicates poor knowledge among HS and moderate knowledge among HCWs regarding occupationally transmitted blood-borne diseases, safe injection practices, and standard precautions to prevent occupationally transmitted blood-borne infections.
Conclusion
It is mandatory to develop a structured program to raise awareness among HS, and current health colleges’ curricula should be upgraded to address these issues early. The HS should be considered new recruits to health services in terms of their initial screening for blood-borne infections and vaccination against HBV. The development of a novel continuing medical education and pre-employment awareness program for HCWs is recommended to address the following: blood-borne diseases transmitted occupationally, standard precautions to prevent occupationally transmitted blood borne infections, and safe injection practices.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-577
PMCID: PMC4059075  PMID: 24912684
HBV; HCV; HCW; Health Students; Saudi Arabia
17.  Healthcare workers and health care-associated infections: knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in emergency departments in Italy 
Background
This survey assessed knowledge, attitudes, and compliance regarding standard precautions about health care-associated infections (HAIs) and the associated determinants among healthcare workers (HCWs) in emergency departments in Italy.
Methods
An anonymous questionnaire, self-administered by all HCWs in eight randomly selected non-academic acute general public hospitals, comprised questions on demographic and occupational characteristics; knowledge about the risks of acquiring and/or transmitting HAIs from/to a patient and standard precautions; attitudes toward guidelines and risk perceived of acquiring a HAI; practice of standard precautions; and sources of information.
Results
HCWs who know the risk of acquiring Hepatitis C (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from a patient were in practice from less years, worked fewer hours per week, knew that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, knew that HCV and HIV infections can be serious, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Those who know that gloves, mask, protective eyewear, and hands hygiene after removing gloves are control measures were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, knew that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, did not know that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Being a nurse, knowing that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, obtaining information from educational courses and scientific journals, and needing information were associated with a higher perceived risk of acquiring a HAI. HCWs who often or always used gloves and performed hands hygiene measures after removing gloves were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, and knew that hands hygiene after removing gloves was a control measure.
Conclusions
HCWs have high knowledge, positive attitudes, but low compliance concerning standard precautions. Nurses had higher knowledge, perceived risk, and appropriate HAIs' control measures than physicians and HCWs answered correctly and used appropriately control measures if have received information from educational courses and scientific journals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-35
PMCID: PMC2848042  PMID: 20178573
18.  Efficacy of Neonatal HBV Vaccination on Liver Cancer and Other Liver Diseases over 30-Year Follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(12):e1001774.
In a 30-year follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study, Yawei Zhang and colleagues examine the effects of neonatal vaccination on liver diseases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Neonatal hepatitis B vaccination has been implemented worldwide to prevent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. Its long-term protective efficacy on primary liver cancer (PLC) and other liver diseases has not been fully examined.
Methods and Findings
The Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study, a population-based, cluster randomized, controlled trial between 1985 and 1990 in Qidong, China, included 39,292 newborns who were randomly assigned to the vaccination group in which 38,366 participants completed the HBV vaccination series and 34,441 newborns who were randomly assigned to the control group in which the participants received neither a vaccine nor a placebo. However, 23,368 (67.8%) participants in the control group received catch-up vaccination at age 10–14 years. By December 2013, a total of 3,895 (10.2%) in the vaccination group and 3,898 (11.3%) in the control group were lost to follow-up. Information on PLC incidence and liver disease mortality were collected through linkage of all remaining cohort members to a well-established population-based tumor registry until December 31, 2013. Two cross-sectional surveys on HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) seroprevalence were conducted in 1996–2000 and 2008–2012. The participation rates of the two surveys were 57.5% (21,770) and 50.7% (17,204) in the vaccination group and 36.3% (12,184) and 58.6% (17,395) in the control group, respectively. Using intention-to-treat analysis, we found that the incidence rate of PLC and the mortality rates of severe end-stage liver diseases and infant fulminant hepatitis were significantly lower in the vaccination group than the control group with efficacies of 84% (95% CI 23%–97%), 70% (95% CI 15%–89%), and 69% (95% CI 34%–85%), respectively. The estimated efficacy of catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was 21% (95% CI 10%–30%), substantially weaker than that of the neonatal vaccination (72%, 95% CI 68%–75%). Receiving a booster at age 10–14 years decreased HBsAg seroprevalence if participants were born to HBsAg-positive mothers (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.68, 95% CI 0.47–0.97). Limitations to consider in interpreting the study results include the small number of individuals with PLC, participants lost to follow-up, and the large proportion of participants who did not provide serum samples at follow-up.
Conclusions
Neonatal HBV vaccination was found to significantly decrease HBsAg seroprevalence in childhood through young adulthood and subsequently reduce the risk of PLC and other liver diseases in young adults in rural China. The findings underscore the importance of neonatal HBV vaccination. Our results also suggest that an adolescence booster should be considered in individuals born to HBsAg-positive mothers and who have completed the HBV neonatal vaccination series.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Hepatitis B is a life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV, which is transmitted through contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person, can cause both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver infections. Acute infections rarely cause any symptoms and more than 90% of adults who become infected with HBV (usually through sexual intercourse with an infected partner or through the use of contaminated needles) are virus-free within 6 months. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, and other regions where HBV infection is common, HBV is usually transmitted from mother to child at birth or between individuals during early childhood and, unfortunately, most infants who are infected with HBV during the first year of life and many children who are infected before the age of 6 years develop a chronic HBV infection. Such infections can cause liver cancer, liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and other fatal liver diseases. In addition, HBV infection around the time of birth can cause infant fulminant hepatitis, a rare but frequently fatal condition.
Why Was This Study Done?
HBV infections kill about 780,000 people worldwide annually but can be prevented by neonatal vaccination—immunization against HBV at birth. A vaccine against HBV became available in 1982 and many countries now include HBV vaccination at birth followed by additional vaccine doses during early childhood in their national vaccination programs. But, although HBV vaccination has greatly reduced the rate of chronic HBV infection, the protective efficacy of neonatal HBV vaccination against liver diseases has not been fully examined. Here, the researchers investigate how well neonatal HBV vaccination protects against primary liver cancer and other liver diseases by undertaking a 30-year follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B intervention Study (QHBIS). This cluster randomized controlled trial of neonatal HBV vaccination was conducted between 1983 and 1990 in Qidong County, a rural area in China with a high incidence of HBV-related primary liver cancer and other liver diseases. A cluster randomized controlled trial compares outcomes in groups of people (towns in this study) chosen at random to receive an intervention or a control treatment (here, vaccination or no vaccination; this study design was ethically acceptable during the 1980s when HBV vaccination was unavailable in rural China but would be unethical nowadays).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The QHBIS assigned nearly 80,000 newborns to receive either a full course of HBV vaccinations (the vaccination group) or no vaccination (the control group); two-thirds of the control group participants received a catch-up vaccination at age 10–14 years. The researchers obtained data on how many trial participants developed primary liver cancer or died from a liver disease during the follow-up period from a population-based tumor registry. They also obtained information on HBsAg seroprevalence—the presence of HBsAg (an HBV surface protein) in the blood of the participants, an indicator of current HBV infection—from surveys undertaken in1996–2000 and 2008–2012. The researchers estimate that the protective efficacy of vaccination was 84% for primary liver cancer (vaccination reduced the incidence of liver cancer by 84%), 70% for death from liver diseases, and 69% for the incidence of infant fulminant hepatitis. Overall, the efficacy of catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was weak compared with neonatal vaccination (21% versus 72%). Notably, receiving a booster vaccination at age 10–14 years decreased HBsAg seroprevalence among participants who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The small number of cases of primary liver cancer and other liver diseases observed during the 30-year follow-up, the length of follow-up, and the availability of incomplete data on seroprevalence all limit the accuracy of these findings. Nevertheless, these findings indicate that neonatal HBV vaccination greatly reduced HBsAg seroprevalence (an indicator of current HBV infection) in childhood and young adulthood and subsequently reduced the risk of liver cancer and other liver diseases in young adults. These findings therefore support the importance of neonatal HBV vaccination. In addition, they suggest that booster vaccination during adolescence might consolidate the efficacy of neonatal vaccination among individuals who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers, a suggestion that needs to be confirmed in randomized controlled trials before booster vaccines are introduced into vaccination programs.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001774.
The World Health Organization provides a fact sheet about hepatitis B (available in several languages) and information about hepatitis B vaccination
The World Hepatitis Alliance (an international not-for-profit, non-governmental organization) provides information about viral hepatitis, including some personal stories about hepatitis B from Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Malawi
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about hepatitis B
The not-for-profit British Liver Trust provides information about hepatitis B, including Hepatitis B: PATH B, an interactive educational resource designed to improve the lives of people living with chronic hepatitis B
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about hepatitis B (in English and Spanish)
Information about the Qidong Hepatitis B intervention Study is available
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides links about hepatitis B prevention in Chinese
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001774
PMCID: PMC4280122  PMID: 25549238
19.  Hepatitis B vaccine knowledge and vaccination status among health care workers of Bahir Dar City Administration, Northwest Ethiopia: a cross sectional study 
Background
Hepatitis B infection is a major public health problem in Ethiopia. Health care workers are at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis B infection due to occupational exposure. There is effective and safe vaccine against hepatitis B infection. But many health care workers in developing countries are not vaccinated. There is no study in Ethiopia that describes hepatitis B vaccine knowledge and vaccination status of health care workers. Therefore, this study was done to assess hepatitis B vaccination status and knowledge among health care workers’ of Bahir Dar city administration, Northwest Ethiopia.
Methods
Institution based cross sectional study design was employed from April 1 to 30, 2012. All healthcare workers who were working in Health care facilities of Bahir Dar city administration were the study populations. A total of 374 health care workers were included in the study. Simple random sampling technique was used to select eligible study participants from the list of health care workers. Self administered questionnaire was used to collect data. The completeness of questionnaires was checked every day by facilitators and principal investigators. Data were entered and analyzed with statistical package for social sciences version 16.0 software.
Result
In this study, 64.7% of respondents perceived their risk of acquiring hepatitis B infection very high or high. Only 52% of the respondents were knowledgeable about hepatitis B infection. In this study, only 62% of health care workers were knowledgeable about hepatitis B vaccine. From the total of 370 respondents, only 20(5.4%) reported that they took three or more doses of hepatitis B vaccine.
Conclusion
Hepatitis B vaccination status of health care workers in the study area was low. Health care workers’ knowledge about hepatitis B infection and hepatitis B vaccine was also low as all health care workers should be knowledgeable.
doi:10.1186/s12879-015-0756-8
PMCID: PMC4324798  PMID: 25637342
Hepatitis B vaccine; Bahir Dar City Administration; Health care workers
20.  Seroprevalence of Hepatitis B Virus among Health Care Workers in Korea 
We studied the seroprevalence of HBsAg, anti-HBs and anti-HBc and the vaccination histories among health care workers (HCWs) at a large suburban referral hospital in Korea. The purpose of this study was to determine the immune status of HCWs against hepatitis B virus and we also wanted to prepare a practical guideline to protect HCWs from occupational exposure. During December, 2003, 571 HCWs (56 physicians, 289 nurses, 113 technicians and 113 aid-nurses) aged between 21 and 74 yr were included in the surveillance. The positive rates of HBsAg and anti-HBs were 2.4% (14/571) and 76.9% (439/571), respectively. The positive rate of anti-HBs was lower in the physician group, and this was associated with the male gender and older age. Of the 439 anti-HBs positive cases, 320 cases (73.1%) were anti-HBc negative and this was significantly associated with a past history of HBV vaccination. The distribution of the anti-HBs levels was not associated with age (except for HCWs in their sixties), gender or occupation. Our study revealed that the seroprevalence rates of HBsAg and anti-HBs in HCWs in Korea were not different from those of the general population. Based on this surveillance, we can make reasonable decisions in case of occupational exposure to hepatitis B virus.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2006.21.1.58
PMCID: PMC2733980  PMID: 16479066
Hepatitis B surface Antigens; Anti-HBs; Anti-HBc; Occupational Exposure; Health Personnel; Korea
21.  Hepatitis B vaccination status and Needle-stick and Sharps-related Injuries among medical school students in Nepal: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7(1):774.
Background
Hepatitis B is a dreadful infectious disease and a major global health problem. Health-care workers including clinical students are more vulnerable to such infections and non-sterile occupational exposures as their daily activities are closely related to patient’s blood and body fluids.
Methods
A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted at B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS), Dharan, Nepal from July till October 2012. All medical, dental and nursing students were surveyed for their Hepatitis B vaccination status and only those students in clinical rotations were surveyed for the prevalence and pattern of Needle-stick and Sharps-related Injuries (NSSIs) using a pre-tested, semi-structured, self-administered questionnaire. Descriptive and inferential statistics was used to analyze the data.
Results
Majority (86.5%) of students were vaccinated against Hepatitis B of which 83.7% had completed full doses. Among non-vaccinated students, 43.2% reported the main reason for non-vaccination as lack of vaccination programs. Out of 210 respondents from clinical rotations, 90 students (42.8%) reported at least one injury. Among those injured, two students reported exposure to Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive cases and four to Hepatitis B virus (HBV) positive cases. Most of the injuries (44%) occurred during Internal Medicine rotation and the most common sharp involved (56.3%) was Hypodermic needle. Most injuries (35.6%) occurred while manipulating needle into patients. Following exposure, only 11.4% took Post exposure prophylaxis and 19.54% went for a Post-exposure serology test.
Conclusions
Needle-stick and Sharps-related Injuries occur frequently among health care workers including trainee students keeping them at high risk for acquiring dreadful infections like HBV, HCV and HIV. They need to be protected from unwarranted hazards by adopting routine Hepatitis B vaccination programs and by reinforcing education regarding universal precautions.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-774
PMCID: PMC4236428  PMID: 25366873
Hepatitis B vaccination; Needle-stick and Sharps-related Injuries; Universal precautions
22.  Prevalence of measles antibodies among health care workers in Catalonia (Spain) in the elimination era 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:391.
Background
Interruption of measles transmission was achieved in Catalonia (Spain) in 2000. Six years later, a measles outbreak occurred between August 2006 and June 2007 with 381 cases, 11 of whom were health care workers (HCW).
The objective was to estimate susceptibility to measles in HCW and related demographic and occupational characteristics.
Methods
A measles seroprevalence study was carried out in 639 HCW from six public tertiary hospitals and five primary healthcare areas. Antibodies were tested using the Vircell Measles ELISA IgG Kit. Data were analyzed according to age, sex, type of HCW, type of centre and vaccination history.
The odds ratios (OR) and their 95% CI were calculated to determine the variables associated with antibody prevalence. OR were adjusted using logistic regression.
Positive predictive values (PPV) and the 95% confidence intervals (CI) of having two documented doses of a measles containing vaccine (MCV) for the presence of measles antibodies and of reporting a history of measles infection were calculated.
Results
The prevalence of measles antibodies in HCW was 98% (95% CI 96.6-98.9), and was lower in HCW born in 1981 or later, after the introduction of systematic paediatric vaccination (94.4%; 95% CI 86.4-98.5) and higher in HCW born between 1965 and 1980 (99.0%; 95% CI 97.0-99.8). Significant differences were found for HCW born in 1965–1980 with respect to those born in 1981 and after (adjusted OR of 5.67; 95% CI: 1.24-25.91).
A total of 187 HCW reported being vaccinated: the proportion of vaccinated HCW decreased with age. Of HCW who reported being vaccinated, vaccination was confirmed by the vaccination card in 49%. Vaccination with 2 doses was documented in only 50 HCW, of whom 48 had measles antibodies. 311 HCW reported a history of measles.
The PPV of having received two documented doses of MCV was 96% (95% CI 86.3-99.5) and the PPV of reporting a history of measles was 98.7% (95% CI 96.7-99.6).
Conclusions
Screening to detect HCW who lack presumptive evidence of immunity and vaccination with two doses of vaccine should be reinforced, especially in young workers, to minimize the risk of contracting measles and infecting the susceptible patients they care for.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-391
PMCID: PMC3765384  PMID: 23978316
Measles; Seroprevalence; Health care workers; MCV vaccination
23.  Hepatitis A Virus Seropositivity in Nurses and Paramedical Personnel at a University Hospital in North Iran 
Background
The status of hepatitis A virus (HAV) among health care workers has not been studied yet in Iran.
Objectives
This study aimed to evaluate the HAV seropositivity among the healthcare personnel in Ayatollah Rohani Hospital, Babol, Iran, according to age, number of working years, and other demographic data.
Patients and Methods
This cross sectional study was performed on all nurses, nurses' aid, and paramedical technicians at Ayatollah Rohani Hospital, Babol, from March 2011 to March 2012. Blood was obtained from all cases (466) and the sera were separated. All serum samples were tested for anti-HAV antibodies (IgG) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Data were analyzed by logistic regression analysis using SPSS software, version 18.
Results
330 out of 466 (71%) persons were positive for anti-HAV antibodies (IgG) with no significant difference between females (71.5%) and males (70%) (P = 0.89, 95% CI. 0.533-2.083). The lowest sero-prevalence rate was observed in the 20-29 year age group (57.8%). Seropositivity for HAV significantly increased with age (P < 0.000, 95% CI. 1.626-3.262), 77.4% for 30-39 years and 85.3% for more than 40 years. The seropositivity rate also increased significantly in accordance with the number of working years (P = 0.012, 95%CI. 1.098-2.170). 110 out of 353 (31.2%) cases were seronegative among those with less than 5 years of working time. An obvious decrease of seronegative rate of HAV was seen in those with 5-10 years (27%) and more than 10 years (14.3%) of working time.
Conclusions
These findings indicate relatively high prevalence rate of HA infection among nurses and paramedical personnel at this hospital. Nevertheless, 30% of the health workers have been seronegative and are still at risk of HA infection development. Considering that the disease has more severe course as age increases, improvement of standard hygiene and prevention strategies are recommended. Furthermore, vaccination may play a significant role in the occupational health policy to protect the susceptible health care workers population in the future.
doi:10.5812/ircmj.10157
PMCID: PMC3838651  PMID: 24349729
Hepatitis A virus, Nurses; Allied Health Personnel; HIV Seroprevalence
24.  High burden of hepatitis B infection in Northern Uganda: results of a population-based survey 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:727.
Background
Worldwide 2 billion people are exposed to hepatitis B infection, 350 million have chronic infection, 65 million in sub-Saharan Africa. Uganda is highly endemic with 10% national prevalence of hepatitis B infection, rates varying across the country from 4% in the southwest and 25% in the Northeast. Childhood vaccination was rolled out in 2002, the effect of which on the burden of hepatitis B has not been examined. We determined the prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis B infection in the Northern Uganda Municipality of Gulu.
Methods
We carried out a cross-sectional, population-based survey. The study population included those found at home at the time of recruitment. Data on demographics, wealth index, cultural and behavioral factors, vaccination and health education on hepatitis B were collected. Hepatitis B infection (Hepatitis B surface antigen positive) and lifetime exposure (anti-hepatitis B core antibody positive) were measured. Analysis was done in 2 age groups, 1–14 years, 14 years and more. Associations between predictors and HBV infection were assessed.
Results
Information on 790 respondents were analyzed. Overall, 139/790 (17.6%) had hepatitis B infection and 572/790 (72.4%) lifetime exposure. In the younger age group 16/73 (21.9%) had hepatitis B infection and 35/73 (48%) lifetime exposure. Increasing wealth was protective for infection (OR 0.46 per quartile, 95% CI=0.26-0.82, p=0.009), while older age was protective for lifetime exposure (OR 2.70 per age group, 95% CI 1.03-7.07, p=0.043). In the older age group, overall hepatitis B infection was seen in 123/717 (17.2%) and lifetime exposure in 537/717 (74.9%). The female sex (OR 0.63, 95% CI=0.42-0.98, p=0.032) and increasing age (OR 0.76 per age group, 95% CI=0.64-0.91, p=0.003) were factors associated with infection. For lifetime exposure, increasing number of lifetime sexual partners was a risk factor (OR 1.19 per partner category, 95% CI=1.04-1.38, p=0.012).
Conclusions
We found a high prevalence of hepatitis B infection and lifetime exposures to hepatitis B in this northern Uganda Municipality. Targeted vaccination of susceptible adults and improving existing childhood vaccinations and provision of treatment for those with infection will play roles in reducing the high prevalence rates seen in the population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-727
PMCID: PMC3751632  PMID: 23919752
25.  Awareness and risk perception of hepatitis B infection among auxiliary healthcare workers 
Context:
Auxiliary healthcare workers (AHCWs) have a higher risk of occupational exposure to hepatitis B virus infection than the general population. Daily handling and exposure to biomedical wastes, blood, and its products make the AHCWs vulnerable to blood borne diseases among which Hepatitis B is one of the world's most common and serious infectious diseases.
Aims:
To evaluate the HBV infection related awareness and occupational risk perception among AHCWs.
Settings and Design:
Survey.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional survey was carried out in M. S. Ramaiah Medical and Dental Hospitals among 300 auxiliary health workers which comprised of laboratory technicians, hygienists, laundry workers, and the housekeeping staff. After acquiring ethical clearance and informed written consent, they were explained about the objective of the study and were requested to fill a standard questionnaire. The data was compiled and subjected to statistical analysis using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software.
Statistical Analysis Used:
SPSS Software Version 19.
Results:
Our survey revealed that 90.03% of the respondents were aware of hepatitis B infection (HBI) and 67.2% answered questions correctly on risk perception. Only 37% of the respondents correctly answered questions on biomedical waste management.
Conclusions:
Overall, an adequate awareness and a moderate occupational risk perception about HBI were found among the study group. However, knowledge regarding hospital waste disposal was found to be insufficient. Our vision aims at a nation committed to combat silent epidemic of viral hepatitis infection.
doi:10.4103/2231-0762.122434
PMCID: PMC4000914  PMID: 24778982
Auxiliary healthcare workers; biomedical waste management; blood borne diseases; hepatitis B infection; infection control; needle stick injury; occupational exposure

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