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May 19, 1975

Hepatitis B and the HBsAg CarrierAn Outbreak Related to Sexual Contact

Author Affiliations

From the Epidemic Intelligence Service, Center for Disease Control, Colorado Department of Health, Denver.

JAMA. 1975;232(7):717-721. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250070013012

Within six months, acute viral hepatitis, type B, developed in three individuals associated with a nursing home in Denver. This attack rate, 1.4 cases per 100 patients and employees, was apparently higher than the reported incidence of hepatitis B in Denver during the same period.

Parenteral inoculations could not be implicated as the means of acquiring hepatitis B. However, two of the hepatitis patients had had sexual contact within six months before their illness with an employee who was an insulindependent diabetic and a symptomatic carrier of HBsAg. In addition, anti-HBs antibodies were detected in his homosexual roommate.

Although the chronic carrier was a food-handler, a seroepidemiologic survey of the employee population showed no spread of HBsAg by means of food or casual contact. Only 1 (4.6%) of 22 employees tested had anti-HBs antibodies.

These results suggest that household and, in particular, sexual contact with a symptomatic HBsAg carrier may be an effective nonparenteral or inapparent parenteral mode of transmitting HBsAg.

(JAMA 232:717-721, 1975)