ALTON I. SUTNICK, M.D., F.A.C.P.; W. THOMAS LONDON, M.D., F.A.C.P.; IRVING MILLMAN, Ph.D.; BETTY JANE S. GERSTLEY, M.D., F.A.C.P.; BARUCH S. BLUMBERG, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P.
Endemic hepatitis occurred among the personnel of a research laboratory working with human blood and tissues in the study of Australia antigen (Au(1)). All individuals were tested for serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) levels and Au(1). Fifty-six were tested at monthly intervals on 5 to 32 occasions over 3½ years. Eighty-three others were tested less frequently. Twenty-seven changes were found in the serums of the 56 people tested frequently enough to have their course examined. There were four cases of typical acute hepatitis with Au(1) in the serum, fifteen staff members with rises in SGPT indicative of acute anicteric hepatitis, and eight staff members with small SGPT rises. We have termed this laboratory-acquired infection "ergasteric hepatitis" from the Greek word for laboratory. Seven patients were treated with bed rest as soon as the SGPT exceeded 50 units; in six the levels promptly returned to normal. We recommend strict infectious precautions and monthly monitoring of SGPT and Au(1) in personnel exposed to human (or nonhuman primate) blood or tissues.
SUTNICK AI, LONDON WT, MILLMAN I, et al. Ergasteric Hepatitis: Endemic Hepatitis Associated with Australia Antigen in a Research Laboratory. Ann Intern Med. 1971;75:35–40. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-75-1-35
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1971;75(1):35-40.
Gastroenterology/Hepatology, Liver Disease.
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