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J Med Virol. 2009 Aug;81(8):1363-70. doi: 10.1002/jmv.21537.

Molecular analysis of transmission of hepatitis C virus in a nurse who acquired acute hepatitis C after caring for a viremic patient with epistaxis.

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  • 1Masuko Memorial Hospital and Masuko Institute for Medical Research, Nagoya, Aichi-ken, Japan.


A 23-year-old nurse (HC-IP) developed acute hepatitis C. Intrafamilial transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) was suspected initially because her parents were carriers of HCV of the same genotype (1b) as that of Patient HC-IP. However, the HCV isolate from Patient HC-IP and those from her parents shared identities of only 92.4-92.7% in the 1,087-nucleotide (nt) sequence within the NS5B region. It was then suspected that she contracted HCV infection during medical practice. Sixteen patients with antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV) were hospitalized 1-3 months before she became positive for anti-HCV. Upon analysis of stored serum samples, 14 of the 16 patients were found to be positive for HCV RNA, and 9 of the 14 viremic patients had genotype 1b HCV. Although the shared identities between the HCV isolate from Patient HC-IP and those from eight of the nine patients were merely 90.6-93.9% within the 1,087-nt NS5B sequence, the HCV isolate from the remaining one patient (HC-P12) was 99.7% identical to that from Patient HC-IP. Upon analysis of the E1 and E2 junctional region including hypervariable region 1 (283 nt), there was a close relationship (99.3-100%) between clones obtained from Patients HC-IP and HC-P12. Although the nurse HC-IP had a finger injury, she took care of Patient HC-P12, a 70-year-old man with HCV-related cirrhosis and recurrent epistaxis, occasionally without wearing protective gloves. This study indicates the occurrence of HCV transmission by exposure of nonintact skin to blood in health care settings.

2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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