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Post-Exposure Treatment for Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B Post-Exposure TreatmentiStock 57288338 MEDIUM

If an uninfected, unvaccinated person - or anyone who does not know their hepatitis B status - is exposed to the hepatitis B virus through contact with infected blood, a timely “postexposure prophylaxis” (PEP) can prevent an infection and subsequent development of a chronic infection or liver disease. This means a person should seek immediate medical attention to start the hepatitis B vaccine series. In some circumstances a drug called “hepatitis B immune globulin” (HBIG) is recommended in addition to the hepatitis B vaccine for added protection.

Key Points:

  • Any person who is uninfected/unvaccinated or does not know their hepatitis B status should receive “postexposure prophylaxis” after contact with potentially infected blood.
  • Neither pregnancy nor breastfeeding should be considered a contraindication to administration of the hepatitis B vaccination and HBIG to women.
  • Employers are required to establish exposure-control plans that include follow-up for their employees and to comply with incident reporting requirements mandated by the 1992 OSHA bloodborne pathogen standard.

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