CDC updates guidelines for healthcare workers with hepatitis B

By: July 9th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

The CDC updated the guidelines for how facilities should manage healthcare providers with hepatitis B so as to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to patients.

The goal of “Recommendations for the Management of Hepatitis B Virus–Infected Health-Care Providers and Students,” which appeared in a July 6 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, is to promote patient safety while providing risk management and practice guidance to HBV-infected health-care providers and students, particularly those performing exposure-prone procedures such as certain types of surgery.”

The report reaffirms “the 1991 CDC recommendation that HBV infection alone should not disqualify infected persons from the practice or study of surgery, dentistry, medicine, or allied health fields.”

Updates and changes to the previous recommendations include:

  • Patients do not have to be prenotifed of their healthcare providers’ HBV status
  • Use HBV DNA serum levels rather than hepatitis B e-antigen status to monitor infectivity
  • For those health-care professionals requiring oversight, specific suggestions for composition of expert review panels and threshold value of serum HBV DNA considered “safe” for practice

The report identifies criteria for HBV-infected providers performing exposure-prone procedures. Generally, these procedures include “major abdominal, cardiothoracic, and orthopedic surgery, repair of major traumatic injuries, abdominal and vaginal hysterectomy, caesarean section, vaginal deliveries, and major oral or maxillofacial surgery (e.g., fracture reductions).”




By Carol Hoffmann on July 10th, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Does the federal government mandate that this be a condition of employment for surgical health care workers. Every HCW be tested for Hepatitis surface antigen including physicians.

By Justine Larado on July 11th, 2012 at 12:23 pm

What is OSHA’s position on this?

Will this become part of the credentialing licensing requirements for LIPs?

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