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Medical News & Perspectives
February 11, 2009

Poor Infection Control Fuels Hepatitis in Nonhospital Health Care Facilities

JAMA. 2009;301(6):589. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.89

Serious lapses of infection control practices leading to hepatitis B and C infections in patients are occurring at an alarming rate at hemodialysis centers, long-term care facilities, and other nonhospital health care facilities, according a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Scientists from the CDC reviewed data from US hepatitis outbreaks linked to nonhospital clinical settings that were investigated by the agency or by state or local public health authorities between June 1998 and June 2008 (Thompson ND et al. Ann Intern Med. 2009;150[1]:33-39). They found 33 such outbreaks, in which 448 individuals acquired hepatitis B or C infections and more than 60 000 individuals were placed at risk of such infection. The infections occurred at 12 outpatient clinics, 6 hemodialysis centers, and 15 long-term care facilities. During the same time period, only 7 such hospital-associated outbreaks occurred, with 48 individuals developing hepatitis B or C, according to the report.

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