197824 Viet Nam Era Veterans' Exposure for potential Hepatitis C Infection; the pneumatic gun exposure issue

Monday, November 9, 2009: 4:50 PM

Suzanne Opperman, APRN, BC , Specialty Care/Hepatology, Veterans Administration, Columbia, MO
Bruce A. Burkett, BS MT , MIssouri Hepatitis C Alliance, Columbia, MO
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a blood born virus that is estimated to have an incidence of 1.4% to 5 % of the Viet Nam Veteran population. It is a health major concern of Veterans that the pneumatic guns used during the Viet Nam Era was the sole source of exposure to HCV. This issue is not readily recognized by the Veteran's Administration when Viet Nam Veterans seek an HCV service-connected disability. This investigation demonstrates the incidences of HCV exposure in a rural Midwestern VA hospital. All HCV positive veterans were interviewed. Potential sources of blood exposure by Viet Nam Veterans were investigated. The data specifically evaluated the number of veterans reporting the pneumatic gun immunization as their only known exposure to blood potentially infected with HCV. All patients referred for confirmed HCV antibody positive results were provided, three 45 minute visits for education and counseling. A comprehensive list of potential known sources for infection with the HCV virus were reviewed with each patient. A total of 395 patients with HCV were identified as testing HCV positive out of 8052 patients tested for the years 2000 to 2006. This is a rate of 4.9% infection with HCV in Rural Veterans of a Mid West State. Results of data gathering from these 395 Veterans for common sources of infection with HCV are discussed, including the results of those with only the pneumatic gun immunization exposure.

Learning Objectives:
Description and evaluation of potential sources of exposure to blood and the Hepatitis C Virus by Veterans receiving the pneumatic gun immunizations on induction into the service compared to other potential sources of blood exposure.

Keywords: Hepatitis C, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Advanced Practice Nurse IN Hepatology since 2002, PI of the research presented and the data gathered from my own practice at the Veteran's Administration.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.