Infectious Diseases
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Recent hepatitis A outbreak a result of breakdowns in infection control practices

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Breakdowns in infection control practices led to a recent hepatitis A outbreak among hospital patients and healthcare workers, according to a study seeking to identify risk factors for infection.

All infections came from a single patient with an undiagnosed hepatitis A infection.

In this study, healthcare works with suspected or confirmed hepatitis A infections discussed their exposures and activities and patient medical records and hospital administrative records were analyzed to identify common exposures.

In total, 6 healthcare workers and 2 patients had laboratory-confirmed infections, likely stemming from exposure to a to a homeless patient with an undiagnosed HAV infection. The patient had a history of recreational substance use. The study authors suggested that hepatitis A should be included in the differential diagnosis of patients with a history of recreational substance use and homelessness.

Deviations from standard precautions and hand hygiene protocol were noted.

Brennan J, Mullins H, Tobey K, et al. Nosocomial hepatitis A outbreak among healthcare workers and patients in a community hospital during an ongoing statewide outbreak. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2020;DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/ice.2020.403.