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January 16, 1978

Hepatitis B Infection in PhysiciansResults of a Nationwide Seroepidemiologic Survey

Author Affiliations

From the Hepatitis Laboratories Division, Bureau of Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control (Drs Denes, Maynard, and Berquist, and Ms Doto), US Public Health Service, US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Phoenix, Ariz; the Department of Medicine (Dr Smith), Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, Calif; and the American Medical Association (Dr Finkel), Chicago.

JAMA. 1978;239(3):210-212. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280300042018

To define the epidemiologic features of occupationally acquired hepatitis B infection among physicians, we conducted a seroepidemiologic survey of physicians attending three American Medical Association conventions in 1975 and 1976. Of 1,192 participating physicians, 220 (18.5%) had serologic evidence of prior hepatitis B virus infection (positive hepatitis B surface antibody). The infection rate was higher among those practicing in urban communities; it increased with the number of years in practice; and among specialties, it was highest in pathologists (27%) and surgeons (28%). The serologic data demonstrated a changing pattern of viral hepatitis related to entry into the medical profession, with hepatitis B accounting for a majority of clinical hepatitis experienced after beginning medical practice.

(JAMA 239:210-212, 1978)