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World Hepatitis Day: Take note of occupational prevention resources

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 [1].

“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” [2] 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.

Click here to download these free tools. [3]

Other hepatitis resources for healthcare settings are: