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I. Immunizations

All health care providers should be immunized against the hepatitis B virus as well as childhood diseases.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. There are several types but the greatest risk to health care workers is Hepatitis B (HBV). 200-300 health care workers contract hepatitis each year. It can be transmitted by contact with infected blood or blood products. It is not transmitted by casual contact.

Approximately 80% of all Hepatitis B infections are undiagnosed because they never have symptoms. The symptoms of acute infections include fatigue, mild fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and jaundice. More severe infections can be fatal.

The Hepatitis B vaccine has been avai1able since 1982.It is considered safe and effective and is recommended for the prevention of HBV infection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At this time, no booster is recommended.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (1-11V) is the agent, which initiates the first stage of a complex disease known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). This disease is another major concern of health care workers. At this point a vaccine has not been developed to prevent the disease. This fact places tremendous stress on prudent infection control practices to prevent cross-contamination.

HIV is a bloodborne and sexually transmitted disease in which a virus invades the body and damages the immune system. This allows other infectious agents to invade the body and cause other opportunistic diseases. At this time there is no cure for the AIDS virus and it is fatal.

Like Hepatitis B, HIV is spread through body fluids. For the health care worker, any blood or blood contaminated item could transmit the disease. FRV is not transmitted by casual contact.

Symptoms of the disease may include enlarged lymph nodes, oral fungal infections, fatigue, weight loss, flu like symptoms, and problems with the immune system; however, some people in the early stages may have no symptoms. 95% of all AIDS patients have head, neck and oral symptoms.

To be as protected as possible, immunizations for diseases that are available should be taken. Universal infection control procedures should be routinely practiced. In case of an accident involving a sharp or mucous membrane, refer to the “Needlestick Protocol” in this manual. A declination form for HBV is also available in this section . All employees who have contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials in this facility will be offered the hepatitis vaccine after training. Any new employee will be offered the vaccine within 10 days of assignment. If the employee refuses the vaccine, a declination will be signed and placed in the employee’s file. A list of employees and their job description is found in the “Training Log” section of this manual.