June 1978

The Dilemma of the HBsAg-Positive Physician

Author Affiliations

University of Maryland Hospital Baltimore, MD 21201

Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(6):905-906. doi:10.1001/archinte.1978.03630310005004

An Approach to Preventing Transmission  The dilemma of the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive physician has been well described.1 He or she has the potential of transmitting hepatitis B to patients, but the risk of transmission is not known. The dilemma lies in whether this risk is great enough to warrant prohibition of clinical practice. A working formulation is necessary in the face of our incomplete knowledge about the risk and even the routes of transmission.

PREVENTION OF TRANSMISSION  What should be done with the HBsAg-positive physician? What can this physician do to prevent transmission? A consensus exists in the handling of the following situations: First, the physician with acute hepatitis B2 should be excluded from patient contact until resolution of the clinical illness and clearance of HBsAg from the serum; and second, the physician documented to have transmitted hepatitis B3 should

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