Affiliations: *Infectious Diseases Division
**Intensive Care Unit, Thammasart University Hospital, Pratumthani
***Department of Medical Science, National Institute of Health,Nonthburi
****Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine,Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
*****Influenza Branch, Centers forDisease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
******InfectiousDisease Division, Washington University School of Medicine
*******Saint Louis University School of Public Health, St. Louis, Missouri
Source: Clinical Infectious Diseases 2005 Jan 15; 40(2): e16-8. Epub 2004 Dec 17
After the initial atypical pressentation of a patient with avian influenza (H5N1) infection, paired acute-phase and convalescent-phase serum samples obtained from 25 health care workers (HCWs) who were exposed to the patient were compared with paired serum samples obtained from 24 HCWs who worked at different units in the same hospital and were not exposed to the patient. There was no serologic evidence of anti-H5 antibody reactivity or subclinical infection in ei-there of the groups.
In recent years, infection with avian influenza (H5N1) virus in humans has been associated with high morbidity and mortality. The first human outbreak of H5N1 infection occurred in Hong Kong in 1997, followed by 2 cases of H5N1 infection in Hong Kong in February 2003. Subsequent outbreaks of H5N1 infection occurred in Vietnam and Thailand in January 2004. Twenty-two patients in Vietnam and 12 patients in Thailand had confirmed cases of H5N1 infection; 23 (67%) of 34 infected patients died.
To date, there is a paucity of data regarding the effect of occupational exposure to H5N1 virus among health care workers (HCWs). One prior study suggested that, although rare, human-to-human transmission to HCWs occurred during the 1997 Hong Kong outbreak of H5N1 infection. To further characterize occupational exposure to H5N1 infection, we conducted an epidemiologic investigation and seroprevalence study comparing HCWs in our institution who were exposed to and index case patient with H5N1 infection with those HCWs who were not exposed.