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Mil Med. 2001 Oct;166(10):862-5.

Viral hepatitis in the U.S. military: a study of hospitalization records from 1974 to 1999.

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Epidemiology Department, Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, MD, USA.


Viral hepatitis remains a health threat for military forces. Most recently, there has been concern about hepatitis C virus transmission during military service because a high prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection has been found in some U.S. veteran populations. In this study, hospitalizations of active duty U.S. military personnel for hepatitis were evaluated using standardized computer records. Only the first hospitalization was assessed during the period January 1, 1989, to December 31, 1999. Among active duty forces, the rate of hospitalization for all types of acute hepatitis declined from 13 to 1.1 per 100,000 personnel from 1989 to 1999. Males, nonwhite racial/ethnic groups, and older troops were more likely to be hospitalized for acute hepatitis. This study's finding of declining rates of acute hepatitis is a continuation of a trend observed since 1974. The decreasing risk of viral hepatitis in the U.S. military is attributable to several factors, including reduced levels of injection drug use because of routine, randomized drug testing.

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