Identification, investigation and management of patient-to-patient hepatitis B transmission within an inpatient renal ward in North West England

Merav Kliner*, Evdokia Dardamissis, K. Abraham Abraham, Rachel Sen, Pankaj Lal, Bhavna Pandya, Ken J. Mutton, Christopher Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background Transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is rare within healthcare settings in developed countries. The aim of the article is to outline the process of identification and management of transmission of acute hepatitis B in a renal inpatient ward. Methods The case was identified through routine reporting to public health specialists, and epidemiological, virological and environmental assessment was undertaken to investigate the source of infection. An audit of HBV vaccination in patients with chronic kidney disease was undertaken. Results Investigations identified inpatient admission to a renal ward as the only risk factor and confirmed a source patient with clear epidemiological, virological and environmental links to the case. Multiple failures in infection control leading to a contaminated environment and blood glucose testing equipment, failure to isolate a non-compliant, high-risk patient and incomplete vaccination for patients with chronic kidney disease may have contributed to the transmission. Conclusions Patient-to-patient transmission of hepatitis B was shown to have occurred in a renal ward in the UK, due to multiple failures in infection control. A number of policy changes led to improvements in infection control, including reducing multi-function use of wards, developing policies for non-compliant patients, improving cleaning policies and implementing competency assessment for glucometer use and decontamination. HBV vaccination of renal patients may prevent patient-to-patient transmission of HBV. Consistent national guidance should be available, and clear pathways should be in place between primary and secondary care to ensure appropriate hepatitis B vaccination and follow-up testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-106
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Kidney Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2014.


  • chronic kidney disease
  • cross infection
  • hepatitis B
  • nosocomial infections


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