Bizarre - Intense HCV And
HBV Outbreak In Wyoming
From Patricia Doyle, PhD

Hello Jeff - This is very little information on the situation. 57 people infected with either or both HBV and HCV? How? Through vaccine? Hospitals?

In the last five months, they have seen as many cases in one county as during the entire period of 1999-2002

Perhaps you can request anyone in the area of the "outbreak" to contact us?



A ProMED-mail post ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases Date: Thu 26 Jun 2003 From: ProMED-mail <>

Hepatitis B Outbreak In The Casper Area

By Matthew Van Dusen Casper Star Tribune 6-26-3

City of Casper, Natrona County and state health officials stated on Tue 24 Jun 2003 that 57 people have contracted hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infection, or both [?], in the Casper area since late February and the number infected will continue to climb. City/County Health Director Bob Harrington said he decided to make the outbreak public amid concerns it will continue to spread through sex, contact with blood or body fluids or intravenous drug use. "Anybody who thinks they might have any risk at all should come in and get tested," Harrington said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sending a prevention expert to Casper to provide support, according to a release from the Wyoming Department of Health. Hepatitis B virus is a liver virus that causes jaundice, abdominal pain and nausea, among other symptoms. Of those infected, 30 percent show no signs or symptoms, according to the CDC.

Harrington said 8 infected patients have checked into the hospital with "crushing fatigue" since the outbreak began. There were 59 confirmed hepatitis B cases in Natrona County from 1999 to 2002. In all of Wyoming, there were 88 cases of hepatitis B in 2002. The number of hepatitis C patients was much higher, reaching 408 in Wyoming in 2002. Hepatitis B is a greater concern because it is easily transmitted through sexual contact, whereas hepatitis C is generally only transmitted through blood, said Clay Van Houten, Hepatitis Coordinator for the state Health Department. The CDC team is curious to see which of the hepatitis B strains is infecting Casper, Van Houten said.

Hepatitis C virus, a liver virus not related to hepatitis B virus, can lay dormant for long periods of time. Many of those infected with hepatitis B virus may have been carrying hepatitis C virus for a while, Harrington said. "In combination they make for a much more serious illness," Harrington said. Health department officials have been tracking patients and their contacts. Harrington said officials are investigating another 30 people who may have been exposed. "We get new cases coming into health care facilities regularly," he said.

City/County health officials will start giving the hepatitis B vaccine for free, or a suggested donation [there is no hepatitis C vaccine - Mod.CP]. Since 1 Mar 2003, the county has given 778 shots to children from 0 to 8 years old and 156 to those older than 19, he said. The vaccine does not have serious side effects, according to the CDC. Vaccination has been given to infants since 1996 and is mandatory for [those] attending school and day care. Casper firefighters, health-care workers, Natrona County sheriff deputies and others who deal with medical emergencies have also been vaccinated.

Ken McBain, the chief executive officer of the Community Health Center of Central Wyoming, said doctors at that facility had not seen a spike in reports of the illness. Health officials encourage people at risk to see their doctor or go to the City/County Health Department for confidential advice, free-of-charge testing and vaccination.

-- ProMED-mail <>

[The number of cases reported in the past 5 months is almost equal to the number recorded during the entire period 1999 to 2002 in Natrona County. The reason for vaccination of children in addition to young adults, and the extent of the involvement of hepatitis C virus infection, are unclear. Further information on the epidemiology of this outbreak would be welcomed. - Mods.MPP/CP]

Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health



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