Infection control and occupational health


  • The potentially infectious nature of all blood and body substances necessitates the implementation of infection control practices and policies in the health-care setting.
  • The current best-practice guidelines for infection control procedures in Australian health-care settings are outlined in the Australian guidelines for the prevention and control of infection in healthcare (2010) (1).
  • The universal application of standard precautions is the minimum level of infection control required in the treatment and care of all patients to prevent transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV).
  • Vaccination is an important infection control strategy for the prevention of HBV. All health-care workers should be vaccinated and be aware of their vaccination and immune status.
  • Health-care workers who regularly perform exposure-prone procedures have a responsibility to be regularly tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HBV if they are not immune.
  • Hepatitis B infection alone does not disqualify health-care workers with the infection from practice.
  • Health-care workers with HBV can perform exposure-prone procedure if their HBV viral load is below 200 IU/mL, provided they have regular, 3 monthly, testing to monitor viral load.

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  10. Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA). Australian national guidelines for the management of health care workers known to be infected with blood-borne viruses. Appendix 1. Canberra: Australian Government. Department of Health and Ageing; 2012. Available at: (last accessed 4 July 2018).
  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Updated CDC recommendations for the management of hepatitis B virus-infected health-care providers and students. MMWR Recomm Rep 2012;61(RR-3):1–12.
  12. European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL). EASL 2017 Clinical Practice Guidelines on the management of hepatitis B virus infection. J Hepatol 2017;67:370–98.
  13. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). Infection prevention and control standards for general practice and other office-based and community-based practices. 5th edition. 2014. Available at: (last accessed 4 July 2018).