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 25 February 2018

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News

Upper-GI endoscopy does not promote Hep C cross-infection

There were no cases of proven transmission of Hep C when endoscopes were reprocessed by using current standards, finds this month's Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

News image

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A high prevalence of Hepatitis C in the Egyptian Nile Delta has increased the demand for upper-gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy.

The risk of cross-infection with this virus could also be increased.

Dr George Strickland and colleagues from Maryland assessed the potential for upper-GI endoscopy to transmit Hepatitis C when endoscopes are reprocessed according to current international standards.

4 patients tested positive for anti-Hep C after upper-GI endoscopy
Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

The team detected the incidence of Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B cross-infections at an endoscopic unit in the Egyptian Nile Delta.

The research team identified 849 Hepatitis C-antibody negative patients.

The patients were retested 3 to 10 months after upper-GI endoscopy with endoscopes previously used on Hepatitis C carriers.

Nurses were trained to process endoscopes according to American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy guidelines.

The team observed and recorded the procedures.

Seroconversions were determined by using enzyme immunoassays for anti-Hepatitis C.

The researchers used reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction to detect Hepatitis C-ribonucleic acid.

The researchers found that 4 patients, initially tested negative, were positive for anti-Hepatitis C after upper-GI endoscopy .

However, 2 of these had Hepatitis C-ribonucleic acid in their baseline blood sample.

The researchers noted that the other 2 did not have Hepatitis C-ribonucleic acid in their follow-up sample.

The research team found that a very-high prevalence of anti-Hepatitis C in subjects reduced the proportion at risk of infection.

The team reported that follow-up was difficult.

Dr Strickland's team concluded, “There were no cases of proven transmission of Hepatitis C when endoscopes were reprocessed by using currently accepted standards.”

“This negative study is encouraging.

“Patients undergoing upper-GI endoscopy where Hepatitis C-caused liver disease is so pervasive would be at maximum risk of Hepatitis C cross-infection from upper-GI endoscopy.”

Gastrointest Endoscopy 2007: 65(4): 584-8
16 April 2007

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