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Calif Med. 1954 Sep; 81(3): 226–229.
PMCID: PMC1532125

PREVENTION OF INFECTIOUS HEPATITIS BY GAMMA GLOBULIN

Abstract

Infectious hepatitis, a viral disease, has become increasingly more important in recent years. It is believed that the great increase in reported cases is not due entirely to better reporting, but that there has been an actual increase in the incidence of this disease. The comparatively long incubation period in infectious hepatitis, the high incidence in persons in close contact with patients who have the disease, and the fact that in most instances contact between persons is the mode of spread, makes this disease particularly suitable for the use of an immunizing agent which would be administered after exposure.

From the studies reviewed it is apparent that gamma globulin is of value in preventing hepatitis both when administered as mass prophylaxis in an epidemic, and when given to persons in close contact with a person who has the disease. Widespread use of gamma globulin prophylactically among persons who have been in close contact with the occasional patients with infectious hepatitis seen by practicing physicians might often obviate the need for mass immunization. It should be stated that there is little evidence for the effectiveness of gamma globulin in the therapy of infectious hepatitis. In a study in which very large amounts (average dose 45 cc.) of gamma globulin were given very early in the disease, no significant difference was observed between those injected and a control group.

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Selected References

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