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Keywords:

  • hepatitis C virus infection;
  • parenteral Salk vaccine;
  • iatrogenic transmission;
  • southern Italy

Abstract

Since the first studies on hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence were published, it has been evident that southern Italy is an area of hyperendemicity. A recent study conducted in southern Italy suggested that the high prevalence of HCV infection might be the result of past iatrogenic transmission. Polio vaccination with the parenteral Salk vaccine between 1956 and 1965 by multiple use of unsafe glass syringes may have been one of the major causes of the spread of HCV infection among southern Italian adults who are now older than 40 years of age. Persons born between the 1940s and early 1960s have a nearly 3-fold increased risk of HCV seropositivity than the younger age group. The findings are consistent with a cohort effect of exposure to the Salk parenteral vaccination. J. Med. Virol. 70: 49–50, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.