Occupational exposure to hepatitis is a concern among healthcare workers, so take note of today, July 28, World Hepatitis Day.
The date was chosen because it is the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg (1925-2011), who “discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967 and two years later developed the first hepatitis B vaccine and for these achievements won the Nobel Prize,” according to the CDC .
“Approximately 1 in 12 persons worldwide, or some 500 million people, are living with chronic viral hepatitis; 1 million of those who are infected die each year, primarily from cirrhosis or liver cancer resulting from their hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections,” says the CDC.
Hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) infections from needlsticks and other sharps injuries are actually more of a risk to healthcare workers than HIV. Here is what “Exposure to Blood What Healthcare Personnel Need to Know”  by NIOSH says about the risk of infection:
HBV: For a susceptible person, the risk from a single needlestick or cut exposure to HBV-infected blood ranges from 6-30%…”
HCV: The average risk for infection after a needlestick or cut exposure to HCV infected blood is approximately 1.8%.
Just for the record, NIOSH says “the average risk of HIV infection after a needlestick or cut exposure to HlV-infected blood is 0.3% (i.e., three-tenths of one percent, or about 1 in 300).”
Some popular hepatitis prevention-related resources available under the Bloodborne Pathogens heading on the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Tools page include.
- Bloodborne Pathogens PPE Compliance Checklist
- Bloodborne Pathogens Postexposure Checklist
- Common English/Spanish Bloodborne Pathogens Training Terms
- Healthcare Worker Medical Glove Checklist
- Hepatitis B Employee Vaccination Declination
- Hepatitis B Employee Vaccination Form
- Hepatitis B and the Healthcare Worker (from the Immunization Action Coalition)
- Needlestick Tool: What to do, who to call, what to draw
- Nine Steps to Avoiding Needlesticks
- Safety Needles and Sharps Checklist
- When to Wear PPE in Ambulatory Healthcare Settings
Other hepatitis resources for healthcare settings are:
- OSHA. eTool on Bloodborne Pathogens 
- NIOSH. Workplace Safety & Health Topics: Bloodborne Infectious Diseases: HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C 
- Updated U.S. Public Health Service Guidelines for the Management of Occupational Exposures to HBV, HCV, and HIV and Recommendations for Postexposure Prophylaxis