A retrospective study of acute hepatitis B (AHB) during 1995-1996 in G?teborg, Sweden, was carried out to investigate whether the increasing number of hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers due to immigration in northwestern Europe has influenced the incidence or genotype heterogenicity. 24 cases of AHB were identified, the probable transmission route of which was intravenous drug use (IVDU) in 11 (46%), heterosexual in six (25%), homosexual in one, hemodialysis in two and unknown in four cases. In no case was the source an immigrant with chronic HBV infection. Genotype D was seen in 12 patients, seven being anti-HCV-positive IVD users, two probably infected heterosexually and three with an unknown source. Genotype A was found in six patients: three IVD users, a sexual partner of an IVD user and two dialysis patients. Genotype B was found in one patient infected during travel to Vietnam, and genotype C in one patient, probably infected sexually from a previously identified chronic carrier. In conclusion, genotype D is the main genotype and IVDU still the major risk factor for AHB in Goteborg, while transmission from immigrants appears to be of minor importance despite the fact that this group comprises over 90% of the young, highly infectious carriers.
An epidemic of hepatitis B occurring in a rural area of Nova Scotia in 1988 and 1989 was investigated. This epidemic identified injection drug use (IDU) as the major determinant of transmission and was the first highly visible indication of IDU in rural Nova Scotia. Contact-tracing was used to identify 186 injection drug users (IDUs), of whom 153 (82%) were interviewed. Of 133 (72%) IDUs who underwent serological testing, 78 had serological evidence of hepatitis B infection. Using epidemiological criteria, 57 IDUs formed a cluster of hepatitis B infections. Using logistic regression techniques, age (O.R. = 1.1), the total number of IDU-contacts named (O.R. = 1.1), and the number of hepatitis B seropositive IDU-contacts named (O.R. = 1.3), were identified as risk factors predictive of an IDU being a cluster case. The characterization of this epidemic may be useful as a model for the spread of hepatitis B and other viral infections among IDUs in rural areas.
In early 1996 an outbreak of hepatitis B was detected among patients who attended an electroencephalogram (EEG) clinic in Toronto operated by a neurologist. In this article we report the results of an investigation conducted to determine the extent and source of the outbreak.
Notifications were sent to 18 567 patients who had attended any of 6 EEG clinics operated by the neurologist between 1990 and 1996 asking them to see their physician to be tested for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection; 2957 envelopes were returned. Of the remaining 15 610 patients, results of laboratory tests were available for 10 244 (65.6%). A detailed follow-up of patients with newly acquired hepatitis B and those with chronic infection (carriers) was conducted. Viral DNA sequencing was used to compare strains of available HBV isolates.
A total of 75 patients were identified in whom hepatitis B developed between 1991 and 1996; all of them had had at least one EEG performed in which reusable subdermal electrodes had been used. No cases were detected among patients who participated only in sleep studies, for which disk electrodes had been used. The peak rate of HBV infection (18.2 cases per 1000 person-EEGs) occurred in 1995. One technician performed all of the EEGs at the clinics and was found to be positive for hepatitis B e antigen. DNA sequencing confirmed that the virus isolated from the technician was identical to the virus isolated in 4 cases of hepatitis B tested. Infection control procedures were found to be inadequate.
The hepatitis B outbreak was a result of a common source of infection, the technologist, and inadequate infection control practices. Reusable subdermal EEG electrodes were the likely vehicles of transmission. Health care workers should follow recommended infection control practices and be vaccinated against hepatitis B.
Data are presented on the retrospective epidemiological serological investigation of episodes of hepatitis-like diseases among plasma donors in Krasnoyarsk. A mixed structure of the focus was established with prevalence of B- and non-A-, non-B hepatitides. Markers of recent infection with HB virus were recorded in 43.6% of sick donors, at the same time no donors had IgM antibodies to hepatitis A evidencing the acute stage or early convalescence. The use of the insufficiently sensitive passive hemagglutination test for HBsAg identification has resulted in incomplete detection of donors-carriers of HB virus.
Increased migration volume and different Hepatitis B prevalence between immigration and emigration countries have changed the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) epidemiology considerably in Northern and North-Western European migrants-receiving countries. Due to the difference in migration status monitoring, the HBV infection data on migrants are not easily comparable among those countries. The study aims were: to compare the migration status indicators used by the national surveillance system in six Northern and North-Western European countries (the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and the UK); to determine the impact of the migration status on HBV infection by comparing the available data on prevalence and transmission routes of Hepatitis B in the migration and the general population in the six countries; to recommend sensible indicators and pertinent measures for HBV infection surveillance and control in the region.
Literature review, statistical data analysis on migration and HBV infection in the six countries; expert interviews to identify migration status indicators used in national surveillance systems.
Evident differences were found between the migration and the general population in Hepatitis B prevalence and transmission routes in the six countries. Migration status is monitored differently in six surveillance systems; immigrants from high/intermediate Hepatitis B endemic countries constitute a substantial proportion of HBsAg(+) and chronic cases in all six countries.
International migration has an obvious impact on Hepatitis B prevalence in the six countries. It is important to include common migration status indicators and to collect comparable data for HBV infection surveillance in different notification systems.
Sweden is a low prevalence area for hepatitis B, but the number of chronic carriers has increased during the last decade due to immigration. Out of a total of 120 children with identified chronic hepatitis B in Gothenburg, Sweden, 93 were investigated during the 2-year period 1994-95. The children had a mean age of 10.9 years and originated from 21 different countries. Most infections were discovered during various screening programmes after arrival in Sweden. A total of 90 of the 93 children were HBV-DNA positive by Amplicor HBV Monitor (Roche Diagnostics) and 58% (54/93) were HBeAg positive. All children either originated from areas with a high or medium prevalence of HBV infection (81/93, 87%) or were born in Sweden to mothers originating from high or medium prevalence countries (12/93, 13%). Three of these 12 children were vertically infected in spite of adequate immunoprophylaxis and 8 were born to mothers with undiscovered chronic HBV infection. In all, 34 children had mothers who were HBsAg positive. No overt case of transmission was notified in day-care centres or schools, or from a child to a non-immune parent. None of the children reported any symptoms of liver disease, but 38% (35/93) had elevated aminotransferases. Therefore, screening programmes are essential to identify chronic HBV infection in children in order to prevent transmission and to find individuals at risk of progressive liver damage who should be considered for treatment.