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HIV outbreaks from healthcare

What happens when HIV tests find people with unexpected infections – children with HIV-negative mothers, virgin youth, and married adults with no sex risk? Governments have responded to unexpected infections in two ways: (a) governments outside Africa have investigated to find and stop healthcare outbreaks; (b) African governments have ignored unexpected infections, allowing healthcare HIV outbreaks to continue.

(a) Governments outside Africa investigate to find and stop healthcare outbreaks

Governments outside sub-Saharan Africa have investigated unexplained cases: asking where cases received healthcare; tracing and testing others who got healthcare from the same place; finding and fixing mistakes; and telling the public what happened. No country that has investigated unexpected infections to find an HIV outbreak from healthcare has developed a generalized epidemic. These links take you to pages with information and references for HIV healthcare outbreak investigations in 18 countries (listed in alphabetical order): Argentina, Australia, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Denmark, EgyptIndia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Spain, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. The table below lists investigated and reported outbreaks with >100 HIV infections

Table: Investigated HIV outbreaks from healthcare (listed by year of outbreak)

Country, year of outbreak Who was infected Number of cases
Mexico, circa 1986[i] Blood and plasma sellers 281
Russia, Elista, 1988-89[ii,iii,iv,v] Inpatient children >260
Romania, 1987-1992[vi,vii,viii] Children ~10,000
India, Mumbai, 1988[ix] Blood and plasma sellers ~172
China, 1990-95[x,xi,xii] Blood and plasma sellers ~100,000
Libya, 1997-99[xiii,xiv] Inpatient and outpatient children >400
Kazakhstan, 2006[xv,xvi] Inpatient children >140
Kyrgyzstan, 2007[xvii,xviii,xix] Inpatient children >140
Uzbekistan, 2008[xx] Inpatient children >140
Cambodia, 2014[xxi,xxii,xxiii,xxiv] Patients attending a clinic ~292

(b) African governments ignore unexpected HIV infections

Thousands of Africans who have tested HIV-positive know they have no sexual or mother-to-child risk. But no government in sub-Saharan Africa has investigated any unexpected HIV infection to see if it might be part of a healthcare outbreak. 

Click on country pages below to find an account of some of the unexpected infections that have been reported in medical journals and in the news. Because health experts and the media ignore most unexpected infections in Africa, these country pages provide no more than a small sample of the unexpected infections people have recognized in themselves and others (countries in alphabetical order): Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

References

[1] Avila C, Stetler HC, Sepúlveda J, et al. The epidemiology of HIV transmission among paid plasma donors, Mexico City, Mexico. AIDS 1989; 3: 631-3.

[ii] Bobkov A, Garaev MM, Rzhaninova A, et al. Molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 in the former Soviet Union: analysis of env V3 sequences and their correlation with epidemiologic data. AIDS 1994; 8: 619-624.

[iii] Pokrovskii VV, Eramova II, Deulina MO, et al. An intrahospital outbreak of HIV infection in Elista [in Russian]. Zh Microbiol Epidemiol Immunobiol 1990, 4: 17-23.

[iv] Pokrovsky VV. Localization of nosocomial outbreak of HIV infection in southern Russia in 1988-89. 8th Int Conf AIDS, Amsterdam 19-24 July 1992; abstract no. PoC 4138. Available at: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cohenaids/5571095.0050.029?rgn=main;view=fulltext (on this page, search for PoC 4138; accessed 14 October 2018).

[v] Sauhat SR, Kotova EA, Prokopenkova SA, et al. Risk factors for HIV transmission in hospital outbreak. 8th Int Conf AIDS, Amsterdam 19-24 July 1992, abstract no. PoC 4288.

[vi] Patrascu IV, Dumitrescu O. The epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus infection in Romanian children. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 1993; 9: 99-104.

[vii] Apetrei C, Loussert-Ajaka I, Collin G, et al. HIV type 1 subtype F sequences in Romanian children and adults. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 1997; 13: 363-5.

[viii] Drucker E, Apetrei C, Heimer R, et al. The role of unsterile injections in the HIV pandemic. In Sande MA, Volberding PY, Lange J, et al. Global HIV/AIDS Medicine. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2007. pp. 755-67.

[ix] Bhimani GV, Gilada IS. HIV prevalence in people with no fixed abode – A study of blood donorship patterns and risk determinants. 8th Int Conf AIDS, Amsterdam 19-24 July 1992; abstract MoC00937.

[x] Wu Z, Liu Z, Detels R. HIV-1 infection in commercial plasma donors in China [letter]. Lancet 1995; 346: 61-2.

[xi] Wu Z, Rou K, Detels R. Prevalence of HIV infection among former commercial plasma donors in rural eastern China. Health Policy Plan 2001; 16: 41-6.

[xii] Ministry of Health, China, UNAIDS, WHO. 2005 Update on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and response in China. Geneva: WHO, 2006.

[xiii] Visco-Comandini U, Cappiello G, Liuzzi G, et al. Monophyletic HIV type 1 CRF02-AG in a nosocomial outbreak in Benghazi, Libya. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2002; 18: 727-32.

[xiv] de Oliviera T, Pybus OG, Rambaut A, et al. HIV-1 and HCV sequences from Libyan outbreak. Nature 2006; 444: 836-7.

[xv] Kazakhstan: more HIV-infected children found in southern Kazakhstan. RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, 3 October 2007. Available at: http://uqconnect.net/signfiles/Archives/SIGN-POST00405.txt (accessed 10 October 2007).

[xvi] In the courts: Health workers sentenced to prison in Kazakhstan for criminal negligence after HIV outbreak among women, children. Kaisernetwork.org, 2 January 2008. Available at: http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?hint=1&DR_ID=49564 (accessed 27 March 2009).

[xvii] Shersen D. Kyrgyzstan: Officials grapple with HIV outbreak. EurasiaNet, 30 October 2007. Available at: http://uqconnect.net/signfiles/Archives/SIGN-POST00419.txt (accessed 1 November 2007).

[xviii] Thome C, Ferencic N, Malyuta R, Mimica J, Niemiec T. Central Asia: hotspot in the worldwide HIV epidemic. Lancet Infect Dis 2010; 10: 479-488.

[xix] AP/Houston Chronicle examines HIV outbreak among 72 children, 16 mothers through tainted blood and used needles. Kaisernetwork.org, 11 April 2008. Available at: http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?hint=1&DR_ID=51472 (accessed 27 March 2009).

[xx] Thome C, Ferencic N, Malyuta R, Mimica J, Niemiec T. Central Asia: hotspot in the worldwide HIV epidemic. Lancet Infect Dis 2010; 10: 479-488.

[xxi] Rouet F, Nouhin J, Zheng D-P, et al. Massive iatrogenic outbreak of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in rural Cambodia, 2014-2015. Clin Infect Dis 2017; epub ahead of print. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/cid/cix1071/4689456?redirectedFrom=PDF (accessed 12 February 2018).

[xxii] Mean Chhi Vun et al. Cluster of HIV infections attributed to unsafe injections  – Cambodia December 1, 2014-February 28, 2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2016: 65:  142-145. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6506a2.htm (accessed 28 March 2016).

[xxiii] Bedford Lab. Evolutionary and epidemiological analysis of Roka HIV outbreak. Available at: https://bedford.io/projects/roka/HIV/bayesian_timetree/ (accessed 12 October 2018).

[xiv] Millar P. How the residents of Cambodia’s “HIV village” are coping more than two years on. Southeast Asia Globe, 15 March 2017. Available at: http://sea-globe.com/how-the-residents-of-cambodias-hiv-village-are-coping-more-than-two-years-on/ (accessed 14 August 2017).

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