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December 13, 1985

Clinical Viral Hepatitis B Among Minnesota Hospital Personnel: Results of a Ten-Year Statewide Survey

Author Affiliations

From the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section, Minnesota Department of Health (Dr Osterholm), and the Public Health Nursing Program, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota (Ms Garayalde), Minneapolis.

JAMA. 1985;254(22):3207-3212. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360220073032

We report a ten-year survey of clinical hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections in Minnesota hospital personnel. Between 1974 and 1983, a total of 561 personnel cases of viral hepatitis were identified. Four hundred twelve cases were diagnosed as type B, with 399 cases (97%) identified as work related. Of the 177 hospitals in the state, only 42 (24%) reported cases during the ten-year period. The highest annual incidence of type B cases was in 1975 (127/100,000 personnel) and decreased to the lowest incidence in 1983 (8/100,000 personnel). The incidence for personnel at hospitals with long-term hemodialysis decreased from 418/100,000 personnel in 1975 to 16/100,000 personnel in 1983, while the incidence for employees in hospitals without hemodialysis decreased from 16 to 5/100,000 personnel for the same time. The decrease in the incidence of hepatitis B in personnel occurred before the use of HBV vaccine. Our findings indicate that HBV seroprevalence studies significantly overestimate the current incidence of HBV infections among personnel in most hospital settings.

(JAMA 1985;254:3207-3212)