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.
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%).
Special preventive measures (universal precaution and vaccination), which are fundamental way to protect HCW against HBV infection should be adopted.
With 10% of the general population aged 15–59 years chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), Egypt is the country with the highest HCV prevalence worldwide. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are therefore at particularly high risk of HCV infection. Our aim was to study HCV infection risk after occupational blood exposure among HCWs in Cairo.
The study was conducted in 2008–2010 at Ain Shams University Hospital, Cairo. HCWs reporting an occupational blood exposure at screening, having neither anti-HCV antibodies (anti-HCV) nor HCV RNA, and exposed to a HCV RNA positive patient, were enrolled in a 6-month prospective cohort with follow-up visits at weeks 2, 4, 8, 12 and 24. During follow-up, anti-HCV, HCV RNA and ALT were tested. Among 597 HCWs who reported a blood exposure, anti-HCV prevalence at screening was 7.2%, not different from that of the general population of Cairo after age-standardization (11.6% and 10.4% respectively, p = 0.62). The proportion of HCV viremia among index patients was 37%. Of 73 HCWs exposed to HCV RNA from index patients, nine (12.3%; 95%CI, 5.8–22.1%) presented transient viremia, the majority of which occurred within the first two weeks after exposure. None of the workers presented seroconversion or elevation of ALT.
HCWs of a general University hospital in Cairo were exposed to a highly viremic patient population. They experienced frequent occupational blood exposures, particularly in early stages of training. These exposures resulted in transient viremic episodes without established infection. These findings call for further investigation of potential immune protection against HCV persistence in this high risk group.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) may occur among hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected individuals. HCV is one of the most common blood-borne pathogens transmitted from patients to health-care workers (HCWs). The development of NHL among HCV-infected HCWs has recently been shown. To investigate this issue further a tailored health surveillance program was applied to 3,138 HCWs from four Medical Institutions. To this aim, all employees were screened for both anti-HCV antibodies and HCV-related extrahepatic manifestations. The HCV prevalence rate, similar among all the HCW subgroups, was 7.3%. The occurrence of a gastric mucosa-associated lymphoma tissue (MALT) lymphoma, diagnosed in a physician following a long history of HCV chronic infection, was observed. Molecular characterization of MALT tissue indicated that immunoglobuline gene combinations were those usually found among HCV-associated lymphomas. Furthermore, B-cell expansion exhibited t(14;18) translocation, as a genetic abnormality associated with the development of MALT lymphomas from HCV-positive patients. Overall, these findings support the hypothesis that HCV viral infection potentially affects the pathway of transformation and progression of lymphoma cells. The occurrence of B-cell NHL, among HCV-positive HCWs, is an additional reason to apply the standard precautions to reduce the risk of blood-borne pathogen transmission.
hepatitis C virus; health-care worker; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; surveillance
Health care workers (HCWs) are at increased risk of being infected with blood-borne pathogens.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blood-borne virus; contamination injury; developing country; needlestick
High prevalence of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been reported among the dialysis patients throughout the world. No serious efforts were taken to investigate HCV in patients undergoing hemodialysis (HD) treatment who are at great increased risk to HCV. HCV genotypes are important in the study of epidemiology, pathogenesis and reaction to antiviral therapy. This study was performed to investigate the prevalence of active HCV infection, HCV genotypes and to assess risk factors associated with HCV genotype infection in HD patients of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as comparing this prevalence data with past studies in Pakistan.
Polymerase chain reaction was performed for HCV RNA detection and genotyping in 384 HD patients. The data obtained was compared with available past studies from Pakistan.
Anti HCV antibodies were observed in 112 (29.2%), of whom 90 (80.4%) were HCV RNA positive. In rest of the anti HCV negative patients, HCV RNA was detected in 16 (5.9%) patients. The dominant HCV genotypes in HCV infected HD patients were found to be 3a (n = 36), 3b (n = 20), 1a (n = 16), 2a (n = 10), 2b (n = 2), 1b (n = 4), 4a (n = 2), untypeable (n = 10) and mixed (n = 12) genotype.
This study suggesting that i) the prevalence of HCV does not differentiate between past and present infection and continued to be elevated ii) HD patients may be a risk for HCV due to the involvement of multiple routes of infections especially poor blood screening of transfused blood and low standard of dialysis procedures in Pakistan and iii) need to apply infection control practice.
Dialysis patients; HCV; HCV Genotype; Epidemiology; Pakistan
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease, caused by blood borne pathogen; the Hepatitis C Virus. In this study we analyzed blood samples collected from various risk groups for the prevalence of anti-HCV and active HCV infection with the help of Immunochromtographic tests and nested PCR. The prevalence of active HCV infection among the high risk groups was 15.57% (26/167). The prevalence of HCV in individual risk groups was 15%, 28%, 8%, 14.28% and 14.28% in the case of thalassemics, dialysis, major surgery group, dental surgery group and injection drug users respectively. Our analysis reveals the fact that health care facilities in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan are contributing a great deal towards the spread of HCV infection.
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.
A cross-sectional study of a representative sample of 300 HS and 300 HCWs was conducted.
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.
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.
HBV; HCV; HCW; Health Students; Saudi Arabia
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific cell-mediated immunity (CMI) has been reported among exposed individuals without viremia or seroconversion. Limited data are available regarding CMI among at-risk, seronegative, aviremic Egyptian health care workers (HCW), where HCV genotype 4 predominates. We investigated CMI responses among HCW at the National Liver Institute, where over 85% of the patients are HCV infected. We quantified HCV-specific CMI in 52 seronegative aviremic Egyptian HCW using a gamma interferon (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunospot assay in response to 7 HCV genotype 4a overlapping 15-mer peptide pools covering most of the viral genome. A positive HCV-specific IFN-γ response was detected in 29 of 52 HCW (55.8%), where 21 (40.4%) had a positive response for two to seven HCV pools and 8 (15.4%) responded to only one pool. The average numbers of IFN-γ total spot-forming cells (SFC) per million peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) (± standard error of the mean [SEM]) in the 29 responding and 23 nonresponding HCW were 842 ± 141 and 64 ± 15, respectively (P < 0.001). Flow cytometry indicated that both CD4+ and CD4− T cells produced IFN-γ. In summary, more than half of Egyptian HCW demonstrated strong HCV multispecific CMI without viremia or seroconversion, suggesting possible clearance of low HCV exposure(s). These data suggest that detecting anti-HCV and viremia to determine past exposure to HCV can lead to an underestimation of the true disease exposure and that CMI response may contribute to the low degree of chronic HCV infection in these HCW. These findings could have strong implications for planning vaccine studies among populations with a high HCV exposure rate. Further studies are needed to determine whether these responses are protective.
The purpose of this study was to compare the costs and cost-effectiveness (C/E) of early hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA testing (alternative-US recommendations) after occupational exposure to HCV with existing follow-up strategies: (1) French, anti-HCV antibodies and alanine transaminase (ALT) activity at months 1, 3 and 6; (2) European, monthly ALT activity for 4 months and anti-HCV antibodies at month 6; (3) and baseline-US, anti-HCV antibodies and ALT activity at month 6.
A decision tree simulated each strategy for 7300 healthcare workers (HCWs) exposed to HCV each year in France, taking into account the impact of early diagnosis on the response to antiviral treatment and the deterioration of HCW quality of life after exposure.
For a HCV transmission risk of 0.5% after exposure, the French strategy led to the highest costs/person (€181.40) and the baseline-US strategy to the lowest (€126.60) (€178.50) for alternative-US). The shortest mean time to HCV infection diagnosis (1 month) and the lowest number of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients (1.9/7300 HCWs exposed) was obtained with the alternative-US strategy (vs 6 months and 7.9 CHC, respectively with baseline-US). Compared with the alternative-US, the French strategy was associated with higher costs and lower utilities, and the European with a higher incremental C/E ratio. Compared with the baseline-US strategy, the alternative-US strategy C/E ratio was €2020 per quality-adjusted life year saved.
In HCWs exposed to HCV, a strategy based on early HCV RNA testing shortens the period during which the HCW’s wait for his HCV status, leads to lower risk of progression to CHC and is reasonably cost-effective.
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.
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.
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.
So far, no case of sero-conversion as a result of needle stick injuries was reported at our center.
Human immunodeficiency virus; hepatitis B and C virus; Occupational exposure; post-exposure prophylaxis
Exposure to blood-borne pathogens poses a serious risk to health care workers (HCWs). We review the risk and management of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in HCWs and also discuss current methods for preventing exposures and recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis. In the health care setting, blood-borne pathogen transmission occurs predominantly by percutaneous or mucosal exposure of workers to the blood or body fluids of infected patients. Prospective studies of HCWs have estimated that the average risk for HIV transmission after a percutaneous exposure is approximately 0.3%, the risk of HBV transmission is 6 to 30%, and the risk of HCV transmission is approximately 1.8%. To minimize the risk of blood-borne pathogen transmission from HCWs to patients, all HCWs should adhere to standard precautions, including the appropriate use of hand washing, protective barriers, and care in the use and disposal of needles and other sharp instruments. Employers should have in place a system that includes written protocols for prompt reporting, evaluation, counseling, treatment, and follow-up of occupational exposures that may place a worker at risk of blood-borne pathogen infection. A sustained commitment to the occupational health of all HCWs will ensure maximum protection for HCWs and patients and the availability of optimal medical care for all who need it.
THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERABLE DEBATE ABOUT THE NEED for mandatory serologic testing of individuals who are the source of bloodborne pathogen exposures in health care and other occupational settings. The transmission of hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV between patients and health care workers (HCWs) is related to the frequency of exposures capable of allowing transmission, the prevalence of disease in the source populations, the risk of transmission given exposure to an infected source and the effectiveness of postexposure management. Transmission of HBV from patients to HCWs has been substantially reduced by vaccination and universal precautions. The transmission of HCV and HIV to HCWs does occur, although postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) is available to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Transmission of bloodborne pathogens from infected HCWs to patients has also been documented. Policy-making concerning the mandatory postexposure testing of patients who may be the source of infection must weigh the relative infrequency of patients' refusals to be tested and the consequences for PEP recommendations with the ethical and legal considerations of bypassing informed consent and mandating testing. Mandatory postexposure testing of HCWs who are the source of infection will have a limited impact on reducing transmission because of the lack of recognition and reporting of exposures. Comprehensive approaches have been recommended to reduce the risk of transmission of bloodborne virus infections.
Injection drug users (IDUs) are considered as a high risk group to develop hepatitis C due to needle sharing. In this study we have examined 200 injection drug users from various regions of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province for the prevalence of active HCV infection and HCV genotypes by Immunochromatographic assays, RT-PCR and Type-specific PCR. Our results indicated that 24% of the IDUs were actively infected with HCV while anti HCV was detected among 31.5% cases. Prevalent HCV genotypes were HCV 2a, 3a, 4 and 1a. Majority of the IDUs were married and had attained primary or middle school education. 95% of the IDUs had a previous history of needle sharing. Our study indicates that the rate of active HCV infection among the IDUs is higher with comparatively more prevalence of the rarely found HCV types in KPK. The predominant mode of HCV transmission turned out to be needle sharing among the IDUs.
IDUs; HCV; Genotype; RT-PCR; KPK
Blood borne infectious agents such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immune deficiency virus (HIV) constitute a major occupational hazard for healthcare workers (HCWs). To some degree it is inevitable that HCWs sustain injuries from sharp objects such as needles, scalpels and splintered bone during execution of their duties. However, in Tanzania, there is little or no information on factors that influence the practice of managing occupational exposure to HIV by HCWs. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of self-reported occupational exposure to HIV among HCWs and explore factors that influence the practice of managing occupational exposure to HIV by HCWs in Tanzania.
Self-administered questionnaire was designed to gather information of healthcare workers’ occupational exposures in the past 12 months and circumstances in which these injuries occurred. Practice of managing occupational exposure was assessed by the following questions:
Nearly half of the HCWs had experienced at least one occupational injury in the past 12 months. Though most of the occupational exposures to HIV were experienced by female nurses, non-medical hospital staff received PEP more frequently than nurses and doctors. Doctors and nurses frequently encountered occupational injuries in surgery room and labor room respectively. HCWs with knowledge on the possibility of HIV transmission and those who knew whom to contact in event of occupational exposure to HIV were less likely to have poor practice of managing occupational exposure.
Needle stick injuries and splashes are common among HCWs at Tumbi and Dodoma hospitals. Knowledge of the risk of HIV transmission due to occupational exposure and knowing whom to contact in event of exposure predicted practice of managing the exposure. Thus provision of health education on occupational exposure may strengthen healthcare workers’ practices to manage occupational exposure.
HIV; Occupational exposure; Healthcare workers
Accidental exposure to blood and body secretions is frequent among health care workers (HCWs). They are at risk of acquiring blood-borne diseases. In this study, we have investigated the prevalence and risk factors of occupational exposure among the HCWs of the Emergency Departments (ED) at three teaching hospitals in Tehran.
Materials and Methods:
We conducted this observational, descriptive, cross-sectional study using a self-reporting 25-question survey, related to occupational exposures, in February 2010. It was carried out among 200 HCWs (specialist physicians, residents, medical interns, nurses, laboratory personnel, housekeepers, cleaners, and others), who were working in the EDs of the three teaching hospitals of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences. The age, sex, and job category of the HCWs suffering from the injury were determined, as also the risk factors responsible for the exposure of the HCWs.
One hundred and fifteen (57.5%) of the 200 HCWs had had at least one episode of blood or body fluid exposure in their professional life. Hollow-bore needles accounted for the highest amount of injuries, with 41.5%, followed by suture needles (18.5%). The most prevalent procedures associated with injuries were suturing (17.5%) and recapping used syringes (16.5%), respectively. All the specialist doctors in this study reported at least one exposure. The percentage of exposure in the other participants of our study was 74.3% for ED residents, 61.1% for laboratory technicians, 51.9% for nurses, and 51% for medical interns. Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that male gender, recapping needles, and job profession were independently associated with exposure to blood or body fluids.
High prevalence of occupational exposure in this study emphasized the importance of promoting awareness, training, and education for the HCWs, for preventive strategies, and also reporting of occupational exposure to blood and body secretions.
Emergency Department; health care workers; Iran; occupational exposure
The risk of contracting HBV by health care workers (HCW) is four-times greater than that of general adult population. Studies have demonstrated that vaccine-induced protection persists at least 11 years. High risk groups such as HCWs should be monitored and receive a booster vaccination if their anti-HBsAb levels decrease below 10 mIU/mL. In view of the above this study was undertaken to assess the HBV vaccination of the HCWs and their immunological response. Seventy-two HCWs of the Department of Microbiology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India, were recruited and blood sample was drawn for serological tests (HBSAg, anti-HCV, anti-HBsAb, anti-HBeAb, and anti-HBcAb). Anti-HBs titers of >10 mIU/mL were considered protective. Thirty-four (47.3%) of the participants were completely vaccinated with three doses. 25 (73.5%) of the participants with complete vaccination had protective anti-HBsAb levels as against 8 (53.3%) of those with incomplete vaccination and 9 (39.1%) of those who were not vaccinated at all. One of our participants was acutely infected while 29 participants were susceptible to infection at the time of the study. All HCWs should receive three doses of the vaccine and be monitored for their immune status after every five years. Boosters should be administered to those who become susceptible.
Tuberculosis (TB) is an established occupational disease affecting health care workers (HCWs). Determining the risk of TB among HCWs is important to enable authorites to take preventative measures in health care facilities and protect HCWs. This study was designed to assess the incidence of TB in a teaching hospital in Istanbul, Turkey. This study is retrospective study of health records of HCWs in our hospital from 1991 to 2000.
The mean workforce of the hospital was 3359 + 33.2 between 1991 and 2000. There were 31 cases (15 male) meeting the diagnostic criteria for TB, comprising eight doctors, one nurse and 22 other health professionals. Mean incidence of TB was 96 per 100,000 for all HCWs (relative risk: 2.71), 79 per 100,000 for doctors (relative risk: 2.2), 14 per 100,000 for nurses and 121 per 100,000 (relative risk: 3.4) for other professionals. The mean incidence of TB in Turkey between 1991 and 2000 was 35.4 per 100,000. Incidence of TB was similar in the Departments of Chest Diseases and Clinical Medicine but there were no TB cases in the Basic Science and Managerial Departments.
HCWs in Turkey who work in clinics have an increased risk for TB. Post-graduate education and prevention programs reduce the risk of TB. Control programs to prevent nosocomial transmission of TB should be established in hospitals to reduce risk for HCWs.
Occupational latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) among health care workers (HCWs) is an important public health issue. The objective of this study is to assess prevalence and risk factors of LTBI among Japanese HCWs by Quantiferon-TB Gold in Tube (QFT-GIT) and the structured questionnaire. This is a cross-sectional study involving HCWs from a hospital without tuberculosis-specific wards, receiving QFT-GIT for LTBI screening. We reviewed medical records of HCWs and questioned HCWs about exposure to M. tuberculosis and employment length in health care industries. 165 HCWs, approximately 80% of the total hospital staff, were enrolled in this study.18 out of 165 subjects had positive results, suggesting LTBI prevalence rate of 11%. Multiple regression analysis revealed a significant association between the positive or intermediate QFT-GIT results and history of contact investigation for tuberculosis. QFT-GIT positivity rate among HCWs is higher than among general population in Japan.
Latent tuberculosis infection; Quantiferon-TB gold in tube; Latent tuberculosis infection baseline screening; Health care workers
Drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) is an occupational hazard for health care workers (HCWs) in South Africa. We undertook this qualitative study to contextualize epidemiological findings suggesting that HCWs elevated risk of drug-resistant TB is related to workplace exposure. 55 HCWs and 7 hospital managers participated in focus groups and interviews about infection control (IC). Participants discussed caring for patients with drug-resistant TB, IC measures, occupational health programs, and stigma and support in the workplace. Key themes included: 1) lack of resources that hinders IC, 2) distrust of IC efforts among HCWs, and 3) disproportionate focus on individual level personal protections, particularly N95 masks. IC programs should be evaluated, and the impact of new policies to rapidly diagnose drug-resistant TB and decentralize treatment should be assessed as part of the effort to control drug-resistant TB and create a safe workplace.
multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB); extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB); HIV; South Africa; occupational health
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected physicians have been reported to infect some of their patients during exposure-prone procedures (EPPs). There is no European consensus on the policy for the prevention of this transmission. To help define an appropriate preventive policy, we determined the prevalence of HCV infection among EPP-performing medical personnel in the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The prevalence of HCV infection was studied among 729 EPP-performing health care workers. Serum samples, stored after post-hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination testing in the years 2000–2009, were tested for HCV antibodies. Repeat reactive samples were confirmed by immunoblot assay and the detection of HCV RNA. The average age of the 729 health care workers was 39 years (range 18–66), suggesting a considerable cumulative occupational exposure to the blood. Nevertheless, only one of the 729 workers (0.14%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: <0.01% to 0.85%) was tested and confirmed to be positive for anti-HCV and positive for HCV RNA, which is comparable to the prevalence of HCV among Amsterdam citizens. Against this background, for the protection of personnel and patients, careful follow-up after needlestick injuries may be sufficient. If a zero-risk approach is desirable and costs are less relevant, the recurrent screening of EPP-performing personnel for HCV is superior to the follow-up of reported occupational exposures.
Hepatitis B and C cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Little is known about the existence of hepatitis B and C among high risk groups of the Pakistani population. The present study was conducted to determine the prevalence of Hepatitis B and C in high risk groups, their comparison and the possible mode of acquisition by obtaining the history of exposure to known risk factors.
This cross sectional study was carried out in Karachi, from January 2007 to June 2008.
HBsAg and Anti HCV screening was carried out in blood samples collected from four vulnerable or at risk groups which included injecting drug users (IDUs), prisoners, security personnel and health care workers (HCWs). Demographic information was recorded and the possible mode of acquisition was assessed by detailed interview. Logistic regression analysis was conducted using the STATA software.
We screened 4202 subjects, of these, 681 individuals were reactive either with hepatitis B or C. One hundred and thirty three (3.17%) were hepatitis B reactive and 548 (13.0%) were diagnosed with hepatitis C. After adjusting for age, security personnel, prisoners and IV drug users were 5, 3 and 6 times more likely to be hepatitis B reactive respectively as compared to the health care workers. IDUs were 46 times more likely to be hepatitis C positive compared with health care workers.
The prevalence of hepatitis B and C was considerably higher in IDUs, prisoners and security personnel compared to HCWs group. Hepatitis C is more prevalent than hepatitis B in all these risk groups. Prevalence of hepatitis C increased with the increase in age. Use of unsterilized syringes, used syringes, body piercing and illicit sexual relations were found to be important associated risk factors for higher prevalence of Hepatitis B and C in these groups.
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; High Risk Group; Pakistan
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a global health care problem. Diagnosis of HCV infection is mainly based on the detection of anti-HCV antibodies as a screening test with serum samples. Recombinant immunoblot assays are used as supplemental tests and for the final detection and quantification of HCV RNA in confirmatory tests. In this study, we aimed to compare the HCV core antigen test with the HCV RNA assay for confirming anti-HCV results to determine whether the HCV core antigen test may be used as an alternative confirmatory test to the HCV RNA test and to assess the diagnostic values of the total HCV core antigen test by determining the diagnostic specificity and sensitivity rates compared with the HCV RNA test. Sera from a total of 212 treatment-naive patients were analyzed for anti-HCV and HCV core antigen both with the Abbott Architect test and with the molecular HCV RNA assay consisting of a reverse transcription-PCR method as a confirmatory test. The diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of the HCV core antigen assay compared to the HCV RNA test were 96.3%, 100%, 100%, and 89.7%, respectively. The levels of HCV core antigen showed a good correlation with those from the HCV RNA quantification (r = 0.907). In conclusion, the Architect HCV antigen assay is highly specific, sensitive, reliable, easy to perform, reproducible, cost-effective, and applicable as a screening, supplemental, and preconfirmatory test for anti-HCV assays used in laboratory procedures for the diagnosis of hepatitis C virus infection.
The impact of hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination campaigns on HBV epidemiology needs to be evaluated, in order to assess the long-term immunity offered by vaccines against HBV.
To evaluate the current status of anti-HBV vaccine coverage among healthcare workers (HCWs) in Southern Italy, and to determine the long-term persistence of antibodies to hepatitis B surface antigens (anti-HBs) in such a cohort of subjects.
Patients and Methods
A longitudinal, retrospective seroepidemiological survey was conducted among 451 HCWs, who were working at or visiting, the Occupational Health Department of a city hospital, in Catania, Italy, between January 1976 and December 2010.
At the 30-year follow-up (mean follow-up 10.15 ± 5.96 years, range 0.74-30), 261 HCWs had detectable anti-HBs titers indicating a persistence of seroprotection of 89.4% (out of 292 anti-HBs positive results, three months after vaccination). An inadequate vaccination schedule was the strongest predictor of antibody loss during follow-up (OR = 8.37 95% CI: 5.41-12.95, P < 0.001). A Kaplan-Maier survival curve revealed that the persistence of anti-HBs 30 years after vaccination, was 92.2% for high responders, while it was only 27.3% for low responders (P = 0.001).
A good level of seroprotection persisted in 57.9% of the subjects after 30 years. Factors related to this immunization status confirmed the importance of vaccinating HCWs early in their careers and ensuring an adequate vaccination schedule. However, with particular reference to the low rate of hepatitis B vaccine coverage among HCWs in Southern Italy, the implementation of a new educational intervention as part of an active vaccination program is needed.
Hepatitis B Virus; Vaccines; Health Personnel; Vaccination
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Health Knowledge; Attitudes; Practices; Iran