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Article
November 2, 1957

ETIOLOGY AND EPIDEMIOLOGY OF VIRAL HEPATITIS

JAMA. 1957;165(9):1091-1095. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980270001001
Abstract

Two immunologically distinct forms of hepatitis are generally recognized at present, although it is not known whether they represent different diseases or variant forms of a single disease. The relationship between them is obscure. An attack of infectious hepatitis confers homologous immunity, and this disease may be prevented by the administration of normal immune globulin. In contrast, the status of homologous immunity in serum hepatitis is equivocal, and attempts to prevent it by the administration of normal immune globulin have usually been unsuccessful. Epidemiologic and experimental evidence indicates that there is no cross immunity between the infections caused by viruses A and B. The prevention of infectious hepatitis is concerned with improvement in sanitation, the avoidance of fecal contamination of food and water, and the prohibition of persons who are potentially infected from acting as food handlers. Because of the carrier rate and the relative resistance of hepatitis virus to heat and other physical and chemical agents, it has been recommended that every parenteral penetration be performed with instruments sterilized by boiling in water for 30 minutes, or with steam under increased pressure (15 to 20 lb.) for 20 minutes, or with dry heat (180 C for one hour).

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