Health care workers positive for hepatitis B surface antigen: Are their contacts at risk?

H. J. Alter, T. C. Chalmers, B. M. Freeman, J. L. Lunceford, T. L. Lewis, P. V. Holland, P. A. Pizzo, P. H. Plotz, W. J. Meyer IIIrd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


To assess the hepatitis risk to patients exposed to HB(s) AG positive health care workers, 228 contacts were followed prospectively, for 6 to 9 mth. Health workers included 2 physicians with chronic hepatitis, a chronic asymptomatic carrier nurse, a food handler with acute HB(s) Ag positive hepatitis and a physician who was HB(s) Ag positive for 25 days before the onset of acute hepatitis. Controls (167) consisted of identically followed patients who had not been exposed to an HB(s) Ag positive health worker. No exposed or control patient acquired clinical hepatitis or HB(s) Ag. Isolated elevations in serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase occurred equally in both groups and did not correlate with serologic evidence for hepatitis B infection. One exposed patient demonstrated antibody seroconversion (anti HB(2)), as did two of the controls. These data do not demonstrate hepatitis B transmission from HB(2) Ag positive health workers to their patients. Restriction of such carriers is not warranted at present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-457
Number of pages4
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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