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Reuters Health Information (2005-09-08): Regular testing needed to reduce hemodialysis-related HCV infections


Regular testing needed to reduce hemodialysis-related HCV infections

Last Updated: 2005-09-08 16:32:04 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In a study of hemodialysis centers in Hiroshima, Japan, the annual incidence of de novo hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections was 0.33%. These data support the need for more frequent HCV RNA testing in such centers, according to the authors.

"Based on our experience, testing for HCV RNA on a monthly basis may be necessary to reduce the transmission of HCV in hemodialysis units," senior author Dr. Hiroshi Yoshizawa, from Hiroshima University, and colleagues note.

The new findings, which appear in the Journal of Medical Virology for September, are based on a study of 2744 patients who attended one of nine hemodialysis centers between November 1999 and February 2003. The patients were tested for HCV RNA at regular intervals during the study period.

The prevalence of HCV infection on the first test was 15.7%, while the rate on the last test was 12.9% (p < 0.05). The researchers believe this significant decline is due to a lower prevalence of infection in incoming patients than in outgoing patients.

During the study period, 16 de novo HCV infections occurred, yielding a 0.33% annual rate of infection. Of these infections, eight were new, three were reinfections, and five seemed to have occurred in the "window period when tested during the first survey."

The findings emphasize "the need for frequent serum HCV RNA testing and for stringent disinfection procedures in order to prevent the transmission of HCV in these settings," the authors conclude.

J Med Virol 2005;76:498-502.

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