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J Clin Virol. 2018 Sep;106:53-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2018.07.006. Epub 2018 Jul 22.

A large healthcare-associated outbreak of hepatitis C virus genotype 1a in a clinic in Korea.

Author information

1
Division of Viral Diseases, Center for Laboratory Control and Infectious Diseases, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cheongju, Republic of Korea.
2
Division of Viral Diseases Research, Center for Research of Infectious Diseases, Korea National Institute of Health, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cheongju, Republic of Korea.
3
Division of Infectious Disease Control, Center for Infectious Disease Control, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cheongju, Republic of Korea.
4
Division of Viral Diseases, Center for Laboratory Control and Infectious Diseases, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cheongju, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: kangchun@korea.kr.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In November 2015, reuse of needles and syringes in conjunction with an increase in cases of HCV at a clinic in Korea was reported and investigated by public health authorities. Patients who received injections at the clinic from the first time this infection control breach may have occurred in 2008 through 2015 when the practice was stopped were offered screening for HCV and other blood-borne pathogens such as HIV, HTLV, HBV, syphilis, and malaria.

OBJECTIVES:

The aim of this study was to assess whether an outbreak of hepatitis C had occurred among the potentially exposed clinic patients due to this infection control breach.

STUDY DESIGN:

We performed hepatitis C viral RNA load tests and genotyping using plasma from hepatitis C antibody-positive individuals who had visited the clinic between May 2008 and November 2015. We analyzed the core-E2 and NS5B regions of the virus from RNA-positive samples by constructing a phylogenetic tree based on maximum likelihood analysis. To identify transmission risk factors and epidemiological relationships among the patients, we reviewed their medical records, assessed staff infection control practices and performed environmental inspection of the clinic. Environmental samples from medication room surfaces and medication vial contents were tested for HCV RNA.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:

Among the 1721 patients tested, 96 were IgG-positive and 70 were viral RNA-positive. Among the 61 patients whose viral loads were greater than the detection limit, 41 (67.2%) were classified as genotype 1a, 1 (1.6%) as genotype 1b, 18 (29.5%) as genotype 1, and one (1.6%) as genotype 2. After sequencing, 12 genotype 1 cases were further classified as genotype 1a (11) or 1b (1). The sequences of the core-E2 and NS5B regions of 45 patients formed a monophyletic cluster distinct from genotype 1a. The hepatitis C virus sequences from patients and environmental specimens were well-matched in the partial E1 gene region. We detected genotype 1a RNA in environmental specimens, indicating a healthcare-associated outbreak caused by reuse of syringes and contaminated multi-dose vials. Our molecular epidemiological investigation of hepatitis C genotype 1a, rare in Korea, will aid investigations of infection sources during future pathogen outbreaks.

KEYWORDS:

Genotype 1a; HCV NS5B; HCV core-E2; Healthcare-associated infection; Hepatitis C virus

PMID:
30075460
DOI:
10.1016/j.jcv.2018.07.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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