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To identify patient-care practices related to an increased prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among chronic hemodialysis patients.
Chronic hemodialysis facilities in the United States.
Equal-probability 2-stage cluster sampling was used to select 87 facilities from all Medicare-approved providers treating 30–150 patients; 53 facilities and 2,933 of 3,680 eligible patients agreed to participate.
Patients were tested for HCV antibody and HCV RNA. Data on patient-care practices were collected using direct observation.
The overall prevalence of HCV infection was 9.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.2%–11.6%); only 2 of 294 HCV-positive patients were detected solely by HCV RNA testing. After adjusting for non-dialysis-related HCV risk factors, patient-care practices independently associated with a higher prevalence of HCV infection included reusing priming receptacles without disinfection (odds ratio [OR], 2.3 [95% CI, 1.4–3.9]), handling blood specimens adjacent to medications and clean supplies (OR, 2.2 [95% CI, 1.3–3.6]), and using mobile carts to deliver injectable medications (OR, 1.7 [95% CI, 1.0–2.8]). Independently related facility covariates were at least 10% patient HCV infection prevalence (OR, 3.0 [95% CI, 1.8–5.2]), patient-to-staff ratio of at least 7: 1 (OR, 2.4 [95% CI, 1.4–4.1]), and treatment duration of at least 2 years (OR, 2.4 [95% CI, 1.3–4.4]).
This study provides the first epidemiologic evidence of associations between specific patient-care practices and higher HCV infection prevalence among hemodialysis patients. Staff should review practices to ensure that hemodialysis-specific infection control practices are being implemented, especially handling clean and contaminated items in separate areas, reusing items only if disinfected, and prohibiting mobile medication and clean supply carts within treatment areas.
To determine whether hepatitis B virus (HBV) transmission occurred among patients visiting a physician's office and to evaluate potential transmission mechanisms.
Serologic survey, retrospective cohort study, and observation of infection control practices.
Private medical office.
Those visiting the office between March 1 and December 26, 2001.
We identified 38 patients with acute HBV infection occurring between February 2000 and February 2002. The cohort study, limited to the 10 months before outbreak detection, included 91 patients with serologic test results and available charts representing 18 case-patients and 73 susceptible patients. Overall, 67 patients (74%) received at least one injection during the observation period. Case-patients received a median of 14 injections (range, 2-25) versus 2 injections (range, 0-17) for susceptible patients (P < .001). Acute infections occurred among 18 (27%) of 67 who received at least one injection versus none of 24 who received no injections (RR, 13.6; CI95, 2.4-undefined). Risk of infection increased 5.2-fold (CI95, 0.6-47.3) for those with 3 to 6 injections and 20.0-fold (CI95, 2.8-143.5) for those with more than 6 injections. Typically, injections consisted of doses of atropine, dexamethasone, vitamin B12, or a combination of these mixed in one syringe. HBV DNA genetic sequences of 24 patients with acute infection and 4 patients with chronic infection were identical in the 1,500-bp region examined. Medical staff were seronegative for HBV infection markers. The same surface was used for storing multidose vials, preparing injections, and dismantling used injection equipment.
Administration of unnecessary injections combined with failure to separate clean from contaminated areas and follow safe injection practices likely resulted in patient-to-patient HBV transmission in a private physician's office.
To identify the source of an outbreak of acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among 3 patients occurring within 8 weeks of hospitalization in the same ward of a Florida hospital during November 1998.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted among 41 patients hospitalized between November 11 and 19, 1998. Patients' blood was tested for antibodies to HCV, and HCV RNA-positive samples were genotyped and sequenced.
Of the 41 patients, 24 (59%) participated in the study. HCV genotype 1b infections were found in 5 patients. Three of 4 patients who received saline flushes from a multidose saline vial on November 16 had acute HCV infection, whereas none of the 9 patients who did not receive saline flushes had HCV infection (P = .01). No other significant exposures were identified. The HCV sequence was available for 1 case of acute HCV and differed by a single nucleotide (0.3%) from that of the indeterminate case.
This outbreak of HCV probably occurred when a multidose saline vial was contaminated with blood from an HCV-infected patient. Hospitals should emphasize adherence to standard procedures to prevent blood-borne infections. In addition, the use of single-dose vials or prefilled saline syringes might further reduce the risk for nosocomial transmission of blood-borne pathogens.
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