March 11, 2005
Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus Among Persons Undergoing Blood Glucose Monitoring in Long-Term--Care Facilities --- Mississippi, North Carolina, and Los Angeles County, California, 2003--2004
Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels is an important component of routine diabetes care.
Capillary blood is typically sampled with the use of a fingerstick device and tested with a portable glucometer. Because of outbreaks of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections associated with glucose monitoring, CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recommended since 1990 that fingerstick devices be restricted to individual use .
This report describes three recent outbreaks of HBV infection among residents in long-term--care (LTC) facilities that were attributed to shared devices and other breaks in infection-control practices related to blood glucose monitoring. Findings from these investigations and previous reports suggest that recommendations concerning standard precautions and the reuse of fingerstick devices have not been adhered to or enforced consistently in LTC settings.
The findings underscore the need for education, training, adherence to standard precautions, and specific infection-control recommendations targeting diabetes-care procedures in LTC settings ...