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May 6, 1961

Syringe-Transmitted Hepatitis: A Recent Epidemic in Historical Perspective

Author Affiliations


From the Epidemiology Branch, Communicable Disease Center, Public Health Service, United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Atlanta, Georgia.

JAMA. 1961;176(5):413-418. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040180015004

Eight cases of hepatitis in adults were attributed epidemiologically to infections spread by means of inadequately sterilized needles and syringes used repeatedly in a physician's office practice. The patients' potential exposures and subsequent onsets of illness were compatible with a "common source" outbreak of hepatitis B. Historical and contemporary examples of hepatitis epidemics attributable to a variety of contaminated instruments emphasize the continuing importance of alertness to accepted standards of sterilization.