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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2005 September;51(3):255-60


language: English

Analysis of hepatitis C virus infection among health-care workers: an observational study

Proietti L., Malaponte G., Libra M., Navolanic P. M., Bevelacqua Y., Travali S., Mazzarino M. C.


Aim. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the most common blood-borne pathogens transmitted from patients to health care workers (HCWs). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have developed a set of universal precautions to help prevent transmission of blood-borne pathogens between patients and HCWs in health care settings. HCV infection status among HCWs and proportion of HCWs experiencing occupational blood exposure accidents were monitored to assess the risk of HCV infection among HCWs at a hospital in Catania, Italy.
Methods. The number of HCWs reporting occupational blood exposure accidents during 1999 and 2004 were compared to examine whether there was any change in the incidence of these accidents among 900 HCWs. HCV infection status of these HCWs was also analyzed in 1999 and 2004 to determine how many were infected with HCV during this time period.
Results. HCV infection was detected in 21 out of 900 subjects in 1999. The remaining 879 HCWs remained HCV-negative until they were last tested in 2004. There was a statistically significant decrease in the number of HCWs that experienced occupational blood exposure accidents from 306 in 1999 to 240 in 2004 (P = 0.001).
Conclusion. The finding that all 871 HCV-negative HCWs remained HCV-negative from 1999 until 2004 supports the view that the set of universal precautions recommended by the CDC are helpful for preventing HCV transmission from patients to HCWs. HCWs must continue following these precautions to prevent transmission of HCV and other blood-borne pathogens between patients and HCWs in the future.

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