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Int J Epidemiol. 1999 Aug;28(4):782-6.

Injections given in healthcare settings as a major source of acute hepatitis B in Moldova.

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  • 1Hepatitis Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.



Reported rates of acute hepatitis B are high in many former Soviet Union republics and modes of transmission are not well defined.


Two case-control studies were undertaken in Moldova to identify risk factors for acute hepatitis B in people aged 2-15 years (children) and > or =15 years (adults). Serologically confirmed acute hepatitis B cases occurring between 1 January 1994 and 30 August 30 1995, were matched on age, sex, and district of residence to three potential controls who were tested for hepatitis B markers to exclude the immune. Stratified odds ratios (SOR) were calculated using bivariate and multivariate methods.


In multivariate analysis, compared with the 175 controls, the 70 adult cases (mean age 25 years, 66% male) were more likely to report receiving injections in the 6 months before illness during a dental visit (SOR = 21; 95% CI: 3.7-120), a hospital visit (SOR = 35; 95% CI: 7.2-170), or a visit to the polyclinic (SOR = 13; 95% CI: 2.4-74). Among children, receiving injections during a hospital visit (SOR = 5.2; 95% CI: 1.2-23) was the only exposure reported significantly more often by the 19 cases (mean age 8 years, 68% male) compared with the 81 controls.


These results, along with reported unsafe injection practices in Moldova, suggest that injections are a major source of hepatitis B virus transmission and highlight the importance of proper infection-control procedures in preventing transmission of blood-borne infections.


Two case-control studies were conducted between January 1994 and August 1995 to determine the relative importance of injections and other exposures as a source of acute hepatitis B in Moldova among adults (aged 15 years) and children (aged 2-15 years). Results showed that injections in various health care settings were associated with acute hepatitis B and showed a higher proportion among adults compared with children. Contact with an HBsAg-positive person was also associated with illnesses; however, there was no statistically significant association between acute hepatitis B and other exposures. The risk of HBV transmission following percutaneous exposure is high (at least 30%). Calculation of the population attributable to risk suggests that injections associated with acute hepatitis B cases occurred in adults (52%) and children (21%). Adverse effects of injections may not be apparent in causing chronic infections. Transmission of blood-borne pathogens through unsafe injection practices is a problem increasingly identified worldwide.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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