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November 11, 1974

Epidemic Hepatitis in a Clinical LaboratoryPossible Association With Computer Card Handling

JAMA. 1974;230(6):854-857. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240060024023

During a six-month period (Dec 15, 1972, to June 15, 1973), hepatitis developed in five employees of a large, hospital-based clinical laboratory. Three employees had transient hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), one had antibody to surface antigen (anti-HBs), and one had neither. In the two years preceding this outbreak, only one laboratory employee had had overt hepatitis.

Risk-factor analysis for ill employees and a control group of HBsAg- and anti-HBs-negative laboratory employees matched for age, length of employment, and amount of exposure to blood specimens showed that only a history of sustaining cuts while handling laboratory requisitions was statisticallysignificant (P<.005).

Recognition of the possible cause of the outbreak and adoption of problem-oriented preventive measures have been associated with no further clinical cases of hepatitis in the past year.

(JAMA 230:854-857, 1974)