Prevalence of GBV-C infection among dental personnel

Kirsty M Roy, Jeremy Bagg, Catherine Kennedy, Sheila Cameron, Peter Simmonds, Carol Lycett, Iain Hunter, Margie Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Healthcare workers who carry out exposure-prone procedures are theoretically at increased risk of acquiring blood-borne virus infections. GB virus C (GBV-C) is a recently described blood-borne virus that is related distantly to hepatitis C virus. The occupational risk of GBV-C infection to healthcare workers is unknown. This study collected detailed occupational and personal risk data in parallel with a blood specimen, to establish the prevalence and determinants of GBV-C infection among dental healthcare workers. The presence of GBV-C antibodies was detected using commercially available ELISA; GBV-C RNA was detected by nested PCR using primers from the conserved 5' noncoding region. The overall prevalence of GBV-C antibodies among the study population was 11.1% (98/880, 95% confidence interval [CI], 9.1-13.4%) and 4.6% were positive for GBV-C RNA (46/879, 95% CI, 2.5-5.1%), resulting in a cumulative prevalence of 15.7%. These figures are similar to those described in other populations. There was no significant difference in lifetime exposure to GBV-C between dentists (17.7%) and dental nurses/hygienists (14.3%). Significantly more dental nurses/hygienists aged 16-30 years had been exposed to GBV-C compared to dentists of the same age (chi(2) = 13.75; P <0.001). Conversely, significantly more dentists 46 years or older had evidence of exposure to GBV-C compared to dental nurses/hygienists (chi(2) = 6.79; P = 0.009). The high prevalence of GBV-C infection did not seem to be related to past parenteral exposure, and the data suggest that sexual transmission, rather than occupational transmission, was a more important route for GBV-C infection among this population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-5
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2003


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Data Collection
  • Dental Staff
  • Female
  • Flaviviridae Infections
  • GB virus C
  • Health Personnel
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Prevalence
  • Questionnaires
  • Risk Factors


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