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Clin Ter. 2003 May-Jun;154(3):159-62.

[Prevalence of HCV in health care workers in Southern Italy].

[Article in Italian]

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Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Patologie Sistemiche, Sezione di Medicina del Lavoro, Università di Catania, Italia.



To assess the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the population exposed to biological risk of two hospitals in southern Italy.


All health care workers of two main hospitals of Sicily, potentially exposed to biological risk underwent health surveillance. Health care personnel were arranged into seven occupational group, and five age bands (< 30, 31-40 years, 25-30 years, 41-50, 51-60 years, > 60 years). We estimated the prevalence of hepatitis C infection in 1800 healthcare workers by means of nucleic acid amplification and genotype by means of sequencing, the workers were also tested for liver function.


The overall prevalence of anti-HCV was 2.1%, corresponding to 39 persons. The prevalence in health workers was higher in nurses than in surgeon, group perceived to be at greatest risk of occupational exposure, and higher in elderly workers (> 45 years) than in younger ones.


Prevalence of anti-HCV in our study was higher than in blood donors, and lower than in general population in southern of Italy. The 45% of HCV infected healthcare workers were unaware of their condition and their potential to infect patients. Testing for HCV infection should be routinely performed for health care workers to detect the infection, which frequently results in a chronic asymptomatic carrier state for many years before the development of symptomatic liver disease, and perform precocious therapy with interferon.

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