Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) observed an increase in reported hepatitis C among people between the ages of 15 to 25 years. In Massachusetts, hepatitis C case report forms are completed by medical providers. Analysis of 2005 data showed that risk history information was missing on most reported cases.
Improve quality and quantity of data collected on HCV case reports in people 15 to 25 years of age.
As of 2007, surveillance for hepatitis C in this age group included use of a more detailed case report form and more intensive follow-up. DIS from the Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention provide follow-up and contact notification for a subset of cases. The DIS provide young adults and adolescents reported with hepatitis C with health education in primary and secondary prevention, as well as with partner notification services.
Data on the burden of this additional work load on the DIS, as well as on the quality of the surveillance data is being analyzed. Both quantitative and qualitative outcomes will be assessed, including the number of person hours spent on hepatitis C follow-up, the percent of cases assigned for which follow-up was completed, the number of contacts notified and process information.
The hypothesis being tested is that DIS will be able to obtain quality data on cases and notify contacts who would otherwise be lost to follow-up. Information collected by the DIS will allow MDPH to develop targeted public health interventions to prevent further transmission of the hepatitis C virus.
This pilot highlights new ways to use existing resources, such as the DIS, to investigate emerging problems. DIS are ideal for following up on youth HCV cases, as they are trained to collect sensitive risk information.