Bulletin of Dental Education

Updated Recommendations on the Prevention of Hepatitis B Virus Transmission

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently approved new management of hepatitis B virus-infected (HBV-infected) health care workers and students, including dental health care professionals. The publication, “Updated CDC Recommendations for the Management of Hepatitis B Virus-Infected Health-Care Providers and Students,” published on July 5 in Morbidity and Mortality Recommendations and Reports, updated and replaced the 1991 CDC recommendations for preventing transmission of HBV to patients during the provision of exposure-prone invasive procedures. Since that time, several issues have evolved for further consideration, including increasing protection with hepatitis B vaccination and advances in the medical management of chronic HBV infection.

The document recommends that chronic HBV infection in itself should not preclude the practice or study of medicine, surgery, dentistry, or allied health professions. The publication contains information on the following items and is available on the web:

  • Guidance on the management of dental health care personnel and dental students with chronic HBV infection, including practice assessments and monitoring through laboratory testing.
  • Prevention strategies including use of standard precautions and work practices to prevent percutaneous injuries.
  • List of exposure-prone dental procedures, including major oral and maxillofacial surgery such as fracture reductions.
  • Ethical considerations and confidentiality of health care workers’ HBV infection status.
  • Recommendations for hepatitis B vaccinations and testing for susceptible personnel, which was previously provided in 2011 by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
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