During January-April, 2000, 12 cases of acute hepatitis B were reported in Pierce County, Washington, compared with seven in all of 1999. Seven (58.3%) case patients were injection drug users (IDUs), three of whom were coinfected with hepatitis D virus (HDV) and died of fulminant hepatitis. Vaccination clinics were implemented at the local health department and needle exchange program to control the outbreak. We investigated this outbreak to determine risk factors for hepatitis B virus (HBV) transmission among IDUs. Hepatitis B cases were ascertained through routine surveillance and prevaccination testing at vaccination clinics. We conducted a case-control study comparing IDU case patients with HBV-susceptible IDUs identified at the vaccination clinics. Fifty-eight case patients were identified during January-December, 2000, 20 (34.5%) of whom were coinfected with HDV. Thirty-eight case patients (65.5%) reported current IDU. In the case-control study, the 17 case patients were more likely than the 141 controls to report having more than one sex partner [odds ratio (OR) = 4.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.5-15.0], infecting more than four times a day (OR = 4.5, 95% CI = 1.2-15.6) and sharing drug cookers with more than two people (58.8% vs. 14.0%, OR = 14.0, 95% CI = 2.4-81.5). Results were similar after controlling for syringe sharing in multivariable analysis. IDUs should be vaccinated against hepatitis B and should be advised against sharing drug injection equipment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Urban Studies
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health