June 1991

Protecting Tomorrow's Health Care Professionals Against Hepatitis B Virus Today

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics and Human Development Michigan State University East Lansing, Mich; Infectious Disease Section Veterans Administration Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pa

Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(6):1069-1070. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400060017004

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major infectious occupational hazard for health-care workers. Despite strong recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga, and demonstration of safe and effective vaccines, reportedly only 34% to 40% of health-care workers at risk have been vaccinated with an HBV vaccine.1 It is estimated that 18 000 infections with HBV occur in health-care workers each year and that of these, 12 000 infections occur in employees with occupational exposure.2 Given that approximately 1% of hospitalized patients are HBV carriers, most of whom are asymptomatic, neither the patients nor their health-care providers may be aware of their HBV status.3 The risk of HBV infection has been estimated to increase from 5% in the general population to 15% to 20% in health care workers.4 Growing concerns about the risk of HBV and other serious infectious diseases occurring in health-care workers have

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