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April 1979

Spread of Hepatitis B Virus Antigen

Arch Ophthalmol. 1979;97(4):776. doi:10.1001/archopht.1979.01020010412036

To the Editor.  —I wish to thank Drs Richard W. Darrell and Ginette B. Jacob for confirming my 1975 research results' in their recent article in the Archives (96:674-676, 1978). Both articles point to the possibility of spread of hepatitis B surface (HBs) virus antigen by the ophthalmologist.The possibility of spreading hepatitis virus from patients undergoing dialysis or blood transfusions and addicts is quite real. Slit-lamp examinations, tonometry, cataract extractions, and contact lens fittings are endangered with the risk of hepatitis virus antigen spread. Dialyzed patients often require ophthalmic treatment, and the history of use of dialysis is easy to obtain. Even the history of positive hepatitis B antigenemia may be known to the patient. Office examinations of patients with a history of positive antigenemia should be performed with great care so as not to contaminate office equipment. Office equipment is extremely difficult to sterilize completely after direct

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