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To the Editor.—
Since viral hepatitis type B is a major public health problem in the United States, the reevaluation of dermatological office procedures seems to be in order. Hepatitis B was formerly called serum hepatitis and was thought to be transmitted only by parenteral routes such as inoculation or blood transfusion. Recent evidence indicates that viral hepatitis type B can enter the body orally through mucous membranes or per cutaneously. Minute fissures of the hands could easily be a source of entrance of the virus. It is not an uncommon practice to perform various surgical procedures without gloves, including the curettement of warts, basal cell carcinomas, and incision and drainage of acne lesions. A good source with regard to the epidemiology of viral hepatitis type B, particularly in health personnel, is a supplement on the control of viral hepatitis type B found in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (25
Moss EM. Viral Hepatitis Type B. Arch Dermatol. 1977;113(4):523-524. doi:10.1001/archderm.1977.01640040131035