The researchers determined the rate of hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission from an infected gynecologist to his patients.
They reported their findings in the latest issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The gynecologist was proven to have infected one of his patients with HCV during a cesarean section.
All 2907 women whom the HCV-positive gynecologist had operated on, between July 1993 and March 2000, were notified about potential exposure and were offered free counseling and testing.
Epidemiological investigations, nucleotide sequencing, and phylogenetic analysis were used to differentiate between HCV transmissions caused by the gynecologist and infections contracted from other sources.
Of the women affected, 79% were screened for markers of HCV infection.
Of these former patients, 7 were found to have HCV.
| HCV transmission rate was 0.04%.
| Archives of Internal Medicine |
Phylogenetic analysis of HCV sequences from the gynecologist and the women did not indicate that the virus strains were linked.
Therefore, no further iatrogenic HCV infections caused by the gynecologist could be detected.
The resulting overall HCV transmission rate was 0.04% (1 per 2286).
Dr R. Stefan Ross, of the National Reference Centre for Hepatitis C, University of Essen, said on behalf of his colleagues, " To our knowledge, this is the largest retrospective investigation of the risk of provider-to-patient transmission of HCV conducted so far."
"Our findings support the notion that such transmissions are relatively rare events and might provide a basis for future recommendations on the management of HCV-infected health care workers," he concluded.