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Arch Hellen Med, 18(1), January-Febuary 2001, 39-42


Hepatitis B as an occupational risk for the anesthesiologist

Department of Anesthesia, «Henry Dunant» Hospital, Athens, Greece

Hepatitis B infection represents a continuing threat to the anesthesiologist despite the development of a safe and effective vaccine and the application of universal infection-control precautions. The prevalence of seropositivity among anesthesiologists averages 18% worldwide, while it is estimated that the individual risk of infection during forty years of anesthetic practice is 4%. Percutaneous injury is responsible for most cases of hepatitis B transmission, but contact with other biological fluids may also be a source of exposure. Patients are also potentially at risk from infected anesthesiologists. It is essential to educate practitioners, and to apply more strict measures for the prevention of viral transmission, as well as to institute universal vaccination against hepatitis B, in order to control the spread of the disease with its devastating consequences.

Key words: Anesthesia, Hepatitis B, Occupational risk.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine