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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

News Summary for July 21, 2011

1. World Hepatitis Day (Box)

CDC Division of News and Electronic Media
(404) 639-3286

No summary available.

2. Sexual Transmission of Hepatitis C Virus Among HIV-Infected Men who Have Sex with Men — New York City, 2005–2010

Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Press Office
Ian Michaels
(212) 241-9200

The role of sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) has not been well-understood, but a new study from New York City now provides evidence of sexual transmission of HCV among men who have sex with men (MSM) who also are living with HIV. HCV transmission primarily occurs through percutaneous exposure to blood, and persons who inject drugs are at greatest risk. After observing a large increase in the number of new cases of HCV transmission among HIV-infected MSM, investigators at Mount Sinai Medical Center, along with CDC, took a closer look to examine the role of sexual transmission among these men; none had other risk factors for HCV infection, including injection drug use. Researchers found that men co-infected with HIV and HCV were significantly more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors and non-injection drug use during sex. In addition, HCV genetic analysis suggested that HCV was transmitted within social networks of these men. The findings are particularly concerning because research has shown that infection with HIV may lead to an increased likelihood of sexual transmission of HCV and accelerate HCV disease progression. HCV testing for all HIV-infected MSM is critical, especially for men engaging in high-risk behavior. Clinicians should remind patients that unprotected sex between HIV-infected partners can transmit other infections, including HCV.

3. Chlorine Gas Exposure at a Metal Recycling Facility — California, 2010

CDC/ATSDR Division of News and Electronic Media
(404) 639-3286

California Department of Public Health
Office of Public Affairs
Al Lundeen
(916) 440-7143

Recycling of unlabeled metal containers sold as scrap can be dangerous to the recyclers and people nearby. On June 8th, 2010 an explosive release of chlorine gas occurred when a worker at a metal recycling facility in California used an excavator to cut into a 1-ton low pressure tank. The unlabeled tank had been sold to the facility as scrap metal. Twenty-nine people were at or near the metal recycling facility at the time of release. Seven local hospitals treated 23 people. Emergency departments treated 17 of those as outpatients. Hospitals admitted the other six. Metal recycling facilities need to be aware that unlabeled containers may contain hazardous materials and must plan for how to prevent releases like this and what to do if a release occurs.

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