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Healthcare workers who carry out exposure-prone procedures are theoretically at increased risk of acquiring blood-borne virus infections. GB virus C (GBV-C) is a recently described blood-borne virus that is related distantly to hepatitis C virus. The occupational risk of GBV-C infection to healthcare workers is unknown. This study collected detailed occupational and personal risk data in parallel with a blood specimen, to establish the prevalence and determinants of GBV-C infection among dental healthcare workers. The presence of GBV-C antibodies was detected using commercially available ELISA; GBV-C RNA was detected by nested PCR using primers from the conserved 5' noncoding region. The overall prevalence of GBV-C antibodies among the study population was 11.1% (98/880, 95% confidence interval [CI], 9.1-13.4%) and 4.6% were positive for GBV-C RNA (46/879, 95% CI, 2.5-5.1%), resulting in a cumulative prevalence of 15.7%. These figures are similar to those described in other populations. There was no significant difference in lifetime exposure to GBV-C between dentists (17.7%) and dental nurses/hygienists (14.3%). Significantly more dental nurses/hygienists aged 16-30 years had been exposed to GBV-C compared to dentists of the same age (chi(2) = 13.75; P < 0.001). Conversely, significantly more dentists 46 years or older had evidence of exposure to GBV-C compared to dental nurses/hygienists (chi(2) = 6.79; P = 0.009). The high prevalence of GBV-C infection did not seem to be related to past parenteral exposure, and the data suggest that sexual transmission, rather than occupational transmission, was a more important route for GBV-C infection among this population.

Original publication

DOI

10.1002/jmv.10365

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Med Virol

Publication Date

05/2003

Volume

70

Pages

150 - 155

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Antibodies, Viral, Data Collection, Dental Staff, Female, Flaviviridae Infections, GB virus C, Health Personnel, Hepatitis, Viral, Human, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Occupational Exposure, Prevalence, Risk Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires