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Prevalence of hepatitis C antibody in hospital personnel
Mihály, Ilona M.D., Lukács, Adrienne M.D., Telegdy,
László M.D. and Ibrányi, Endre M.D.
The health-care workers are known to be at risk of occupational
transmission of blood-borne viruses. The goal of the investigation
was to determine the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody
and the occupational risk of HCV transmission among personnel at
the Central Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Budapest, Hungary.
Serum samples of 409 health-care workers were tested for antibody
to HCV with second and third generation ELISA-s and anti-HCV
positive samples were confirmed with Western Blot Line EIA. A total
of 10 (2.4°!0) of the health-care workers were confirmed to be
anti-HCV positive. The prevalence of anti-HCV increased with
advancing age: zero under 20 yr. age group (N = 0lIS), 0.9% in
21-30 yr. age group (N = 1/112), 1.8% in 31-40 yr. age group (N =
2l111), 3.1% in 41-50 yr. age group (N = 3196) and 4.0% in above 50
yr. age group (N = 3/75). We found anti-HCV positive hospital
worker in 9 out of 17 departments. The prevalence of hepatitis C
antibody was 7.1-1.9% among the personnel of internal departments,
pathology, intensive care unit and pediatric departments. No
anti-HCV positive healthcare worker was found in the surgery and
laboratories. None of the physicians tested was seropositive for
HCV Eight of the nurses, one of the sanitary personnel and one
pathological technician were seropositive for HCV. Two nurses
developed a chronic C hepatitis after a needle puncture
1. The hospital personnel is at risk for HCV infection.
2. The occupational risk of HCV infection increases with age but
the risk is considerable lower than that of hepatitis B
3. The occupational risk is highest among the workers of the
chronic internal department, pathology and intensive care unit.
4. The nurses are at higher risk of HCV infection than the
5. The needle puncture injuries associated with an increased risk
for acquiring HCV infection.
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