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1.  An outbreak of hepatitis A associated with an infected foodhandler. 
Public Health Reports  1999;114(2):157-164.
OBJECTIVE: The recommended criteria for public notification of a hepatitis A virus (HAV)-infected foodhandler include assessment of the foodhandler's hygiene and symptoms. In October 1994, a Kentucky health department received a report of a catering company foodhandler with hepatitis A. Patrons were not offered immune globulin because the foodhandler's hygiene was assessed to be good and he denied having diarrhea. During early November, 29 cases of hepatitis A were reported among people who had attended an event catered by this company. Two local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with two state health departments, undertook an investigation to determine the extent of the outbreak, to identify the foods and event characteristics associated with illness, and to investigate the apparent failure of the criteria for determining when immune globulin (IG) should be offered to exposed members of the public. METHODS: Cases were IgM anti-HAV-positive people with onset of symptoms during October or November who had eaten foods prepared by the catering company. To determine the outbreak's extent and factors associated with illness, the authors interviewed all case patients and the infected foodhandler and collected information on menus and other event characteristics. To investigate characteristics of events associated with transmission, the authors conducted a retrospective analysis comparing the risk of illness by selected event characteristics. To evaluate what foods were associated with illness, they conducted a retrospective cohort study of attendees of four events with high attack rates. RESULTS: A total of 91 cases were identified. At least one case was reported from 21 (51%) of the 41 catered events. The overall attack rate was 7% among the 1318 people who attended these events (range 0 to 75% per event). Attending an event at which there was no on-site sink (relative risk [RR] = 2.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4, 3.8) or no on-site kitchen (RR = 1.9, 95% Cl 1.1, 2.9) was associated with illness. For three events with high attack rates, eating at least one of several uncooked foods was associated with illness, with RRs ranging from 8 to undefined. CONCLUSION: A large hepatitis A outbreak resulted from an infected foodhandler with apparent good hygiene and no reported diarrhea who prepared many uncooked foods served at catered events. Assessing hygiene and symptoms s subjective, and may be difficult to accomplish. The effectiveness of the recommended criteria for determining when IG should be provided to exposed members of the public needs to be evaluated.
PMCID: PMC1308455  PMID: 10199718
2.  Preventing hepatitis B in people in close contact with hepatocellular carcinoma patients. 
Public Health Reports  1997;112(1):63-65.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of testing for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in the clinical management of primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). METHODS: The authors reviewed the records of 78 patients treated for hepatocellular carcinoma in hospitals in the Puget Sound area in 1988 and early 1989 and reviewed all 1990 U.S. death certificates on which primary liver cancer was listed. RESULTS: The records of 50 (64%) of 78 hepatocellular carcinoma patients contained no evidence that the patient's hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) status had been determined. In addition, of 4353 people who died in 1990 for whom the diagnosis of primary liver cancer was listed on the death certificate, HBV infection was also listed for only 136 (3%), much less than expected based on case series. CONCLUSIONS: Many patients with hepatocellular carcinoma are not tested for HBV infection, suggesting that their close contacts are also not evaluated for HBV infection and the need for vaccination. Hepatitis B vaccination of close personal contacts of HBV-infected hepatocellular carcinoma patients is an important strategy for preventing HBV transmission.
PMCID: PMC1381841  PMID: 9018291
3.  Availability and use of hepatitis B vaccine in laboratory and nursing schools in the United States. 
Public Health Reports  1991;106(5):529-535.
Hepatitis B is a well-documented occupational hazard for health care workers, including both laboratory and nursing personnel. Since the development of effective hepatitis B vaccines, the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP) has recommended that health care workers receive the vaccine. In this study, 78 laboratory training programs and 83 nursing training programs were surveyed regarding availability and usage of hepatitis B vaccine. The hepatitis B vaccine was made available to students in 81 percent of the laboratory programs and 23 percent of the nursing programs. In those programs making the vaccine available, only 59 percent of the laboratory programs and 5 percent of the nursing programs reported a high (greater than 75 percent) use by students. Concern about cost and payment for the vaccine was the most common reason (80 percent) noted by laboratory schools that did not have hepatitis B vaccination programs for students. Of the nursing schools that did not have vaccine programs, 58 percent had not yet considered a program. At laboratory schools with vaccination programs, who paid for the vaccine (hospital or school versus student) was among the most important determinants for vaccine usage by students. These findings point out that some laboratory schools and many nursing schools have not applied the ACIP recommendations to their own programs. Educational efforts and creative payment plans for the vaccine are needed to increase the availability and use of hepatitis B vaccine among laboratory and nursing students.
PMCID: PMC1580298  PMID: 1832779

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