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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


BAUTISTA, Leonelo E.  and  OROSTEGUI, Myriam. Dental care associated with an outbreak of HIV infection among dialysis patients. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1997, vol.2, n.3, pp.194-202. ISSN 1680-5348.

An outbreak of 14 cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection was discovered by chance in May 1993 among hemodialysis patients at a university hospital in Bucaramanga, Colombia. The outbreak occurred in 1992. Stored sera were used to establish the probable period of infection (PPI) for 10 of the 14 cases. A nested case-control study was carried out to evaluate possible transmission mechanisms. The health care experience of each HIV-positive patient during that patient’s PPI was compared to the experience of time-matched controls. Only invasive dental procedures were significantly associated with the risk of infection. Patients upon whom invasive dental procedures were performed during their PPIs had an average risk of HIV infection 8.15 times greater than comparable controls (P = 0.006), and seven out of nine cases of HIV infection with known PPIs in 1992 had an invasive dental procedure performed one to six months before seroconversion. None of the dental care personnel were found to be infected. Based on the available evidence, it seems most likely that the infection was transmitted from patient to patient by contaminated dental instruments.

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