The transmission of viral hepatitis from health care workers (HCW) to patients is of worldwide concern. Since the introduction of serologic testing in the 1970s there have been over 45 reports of hepatitis B virus (HBV) transmission from HCW to patients, which have resulted in more than 400 infected patients. In addition there are six published reports of transmissions of hepatitis C virus (HCV) from HCW to patients resulting in the infection of 14 patients. Additional HCV cases are known of in the US and UK, but unpublished. At present the guidelines for preventing HCW to patient transmission of viral hepatitis vary greatly between countries. It was our aim to reach a Europe-wide consensus on this issue. In order to do this, experts in blood-borne infection, from 16 countries, were questioned on their national protocols. The replies given by participating countries formed the basis of a discussion document. This paper was then discussed at a meeting with each of the participating countries in order to reach a Europe-wide consensus on the identification of infected HCWs, protection of susceptible HCWs, management and treatment options for the infected HCW. The results of that process are discussed and recommendations formed. The guidelines produced aim to reduce the risk of transmission from infected HCWs to patients. The document is designed to complement existing guidelines or form the basis for the development of new guidelines. This guidance is applicable to all HCWs who perform EPP, whether newly appointed or already in post.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Immunology and Allergy
- Infectious Diseases