Scientific Literature

Phylogenetic Analysis in the Clinical Risk Management of an Outbreak of Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Transfused Thalassaemia Patients in Italy

Mazzucco, W., di Maio, V. C., Bronte, F., Fabeni, L., et al. Journal of Hospital Infection, 115, 51-58. (2021)

Occurrence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is reduced by effective risk management procedures, but patient-to-patient transmission continues to be reported in healthcare settings.

To report the use of phylogenetic analysis in the clinical risk management of an HCV outbreak among 128 thalassaemia outpatients followed at a thalassaemia centre of an Italian hospital.

Epidemiological investigation and root-cause analysis were performed. All patients with acute hepatitis and known chronic infection were tested for HCV RNA, HCV genotyping, and NS3, NS5A, and NS5B HCV genomic region sequencing. To identify transmission clusters, phylogenetic trees were built for each gene employing Bayesian methods.

Combined use of root-cause analysis and molecular epidemiology was effective in ascertaining the origin of the HCV outbreak. Antiviral therapy avoided the chronic progression of the infection and further spread in care units and in the family environment.

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