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Who is at Highest Risk for Getting Hepatitis B?

hepatitis b virus

In the U.S., individuals at highest risk for hepatitis B infection are those, who have sexual contact with a person infected with hepatitis B or engage in risky behaviors such as illegal IV drug abuse, prostitution, men who have sex with men, heterosexuals with multiple sexual partners and people who have received blood transfusions using infected blood.1 Healthcare workers, who are exposed to infected blood or body fluids of patients through contact with needles or medical devices used on patients, or when breaches in proper hygiene and/or infection control practices occur, are at high risk for becoming infected with hepatitis B.2

In 2016, there were 3,218 reported cases of acute hepatitis B in the U.S.3 which included 32 reported cases of perinatal hepatitis B.4 In December 2011, the ACIP recommended that all adults with diabetes, aged 19 to 59, be vaccinated with the hepatitis B vaccine. This recommendation was based on reports of 29 outbreaks of hepatitis B over a 15 year span in long-term care (LTC) facilities. Twenty-five of the 29 outbreaks were attributed to blood glucose monitoring devices. This recommendation was made for all adults with diabetes and not only those in LTC facilities, even though they appear to be at a greater risk due to lapses in infection control practices.5

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Hepatitis B and the Hepatitis B vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents , which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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1 CDC. Viral Hepatitis – Hepatitis B – Hepatitis B FAQs for the Public. Revised May 22, 2018.

2 CDC. Guidance for Evaluating Health-Care Personnel for Hepatitis B Virus Protection and for Administering Postexposure Management, MMWR. Dec. 20, 2013,  62(RR10);1-19

3 CDC. Viral Hepatitis- Statistics and Surveillance - Surveillance for Viral Hepatitis – United States, 2016. Table 3.1. Apr. 16, 2018

4 CDC. Viral Hepatitis- Statistics and Surveillance - Surveillance for Viral Hepatitis – United States, 2016. Table 3.6. Apr. 16, 2018

5 CDC. Use of Hepatitis B Vaccination for Adults with Diabetes Mellitus: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)MMWR. Dec. 23, 2011 60(50);1709-1711

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