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Korean J healthc assoc Infect Control Prev 2009; 14(2): 66-71

Published online December 31, 2009 https://doi.org/10.14192/kjicp.2009.14.2.66

Copyright © Korean Society for Healthcare-associated infection Control and Prevention

Needs for Hepatitis A Virus Immunization in Healthcare Personnel

Youn Hee Park1, Tae Hyong Kim1, Eun Jung Lee1, Tae Youn Choi2, Hee Bong Shin2, Eun Ju Choo1, Min Hyeok Jeon1, Hye Kyung Jung1, and Ji Yeon Kwon1

Departments of Internal Medicine1 and Clinical Pathology2, College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Seoul, Korea

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background: Currently, the incidence of hepatitis A is on the increase in Korea. Although there is emphasis on contact precautions, the nosocomial outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV) in healthcare personnel has increased within endemic areas because these workers inevitably come in close contact with patients and work under suboptimal hygiene conditions. In this study, we evaluated the necessity of immunization against HAV for healthcare personnel.
Methods: We investigated the seropositivity of serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) anti-HAV antibody (Ab) in 672 healthcare personnel on the basis of their age-group, sex, and occupation in Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital and Soon Chun Hyang University Bucheon Hospital.
Results: The subjects were divided into 6 groups on the basis of their ages to identify differences among the various age groups in the number of cases with HAV Ab seropositivity. Significant intergroup differences were noted in this respect: 21-25 years, 2/152 (1.3%); 26-30 years, 33/245 (13.5%); 31-35 years, 70/148 (47.3%); 36-40 years, 52/79 (65.8%); >40 years, 44/48 (91.7%).
Conclusion: The number of seropositive cases was low among young healthy personnel: low seropositivity is an emerging risk for vulnerable population. With the increase in the incidence of hepatitis A, healthcare personnel have become a risk population for hepatitis A, as are community residents. Therefore, for healthcare personnel working in hospitals, immunization against HAV should be recommended for personnel younger than 30 years, and serological testing for older personnel.

Keywords: Hepatitis A, Healthcare personnel, Hepatitis A vaccine

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