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J Lab Physicians. 2009 Jul;1(2):41-8. doi: 10.4103/0974-2727.59697.

Hepatitis B in health care workers: Indian scenario.

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1
Division of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029, India.

Abstract

Healthcare workers have a high risk of occupational exposure to many blood-borne diseases including HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C viral infections. Of these Hepatitis B is not only the most transmissible infection, but also the only one that is preventable by vaccination. In developing countries, Hepatitis B vaccination coverage among healthcare workers is very low for various reasons, including awareness, risk assessment, and low priority given by the health managements of both government and private hospitals. Most of the hospitals lack post-exposure management strategies including the coordination among various departments for reporting, testing, and vaccination. This review, therefore, focuses on the current situation of Hepatitis B vaccine status in the healthcare workers of India, and provides updated guidelines to manage the accidental exposure to hepatitis B virus-infected biological materials in healthcare workers. The review also emphasizes on what options are available to a healthcare worker, in case of exposure and how they can respond to the standard vaccination schedules, besides the need to educate the healthcare workers about Hepatitis B infection, available vaccines, post-vaccine immune status, and post-exposure prophylaxis.

KEYWORDS:

HBsAg; Healthcare worker; hepatitis B virus; non-responder; post-exposure prophylaxis; responders; vaccine

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