Hepatitis B Infection Control Among Physicians, Dentists and Laboratory Personnel
In 1949, Liebowitz and his coworkers provided the first description of a health worker, in this instance a blood bank technician, who developed hepatitis B as a consequence of her employment (1). Their observations on hepatitis B as a hazard to health care personnel have been extended by many others, especially after the emergence of new medical techniques, such as hemodialysis, which introduced into the hospital setting a new source of infection in the form of frequently transfused chronic renal disease patients who manifested a high prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) carriage (2,3,4). Other developments, including increasing parenteral drug abuse, the migration to the United States of population groups from areas of high hepatitis B endemicity, and disease transmission among male homosexuals also may have contributed to greater probability of exposure of health care workers to the hepatitis B virus. As a consequence, it is now well recognized that the effective control of this problem is of major importance. In defining a suggested approach to this problem, I will describe the extent to which physicians, dentists and laboratory personnel are subject to the risk of hepatitis B as well as the specific risk factor involved, the real and possible outcomes of infection, and, finally, the potentialities and shortcomings of the environmental, immunological, epidemiological and clinical modalities of infection control.
KeywordsHealth Worker Infection Control Dental Student Laboratory Personnel Health Care Personnel
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