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Original Research

Hepatitis B Immunisation amongst doctors and laboratory personnel in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Feroza Y. Khan, Andrew J. Ross
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 5, No 1 | a452 | DOI: | © 2013 Feroza Y. Khan, Andrew J. Ross | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 April 2012 | Published: 15 April 2013

About the author(s)

Feroza Y. Khan, Department of Family Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Andrew J. Ross, Department of Family Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Background: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the most easily transmitted blood-bornepathogen and is an occupational hazard for health care workers (HCWs). Despite the factthat infection is preventable through vaccination and post-exposure immunoglobulin therapy, many HCWs are unaware of the risks of HBV infection and of appropriate preventative measures. This study is unique in the South African setting as it focuses on the exposure,attitude and knowledge of doctors to HBV infection.

Method: This was an observational descriptive study. Records of the HBV immune status ofall doctors who reported an occupational injury (OI) to the occupational health clinic between June 2010 and May 2011 were reviewed. A structured questionnaire was then distributed to all laboratory personnel and senior doctors employed at the hospital.

Results: Of the 67 doctors who reported an OI, 39% (26 out of 67) had no HBV immunityand only 19% (5 out of 26) had received Hepatitis B immunoglobulin. Of the 78 doctors whocompleted the questionnaire, 65% (51 out of 78) reported at least one OI during their career. Fifty-six percent of the respondents were unaware of their HBV immune status and only 31%had received a booster within the previous 5 years.

Conclusion: Poor compliance of HCWs to HBV vaccination and post-exposure prophylaxis is a concern. In-service training is needed to inform staff of the efficacy of HBV vaccination andimmunoglobulin therapy.


hepatitis b, needle stick injuries


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Crossref Citations

1. Evaluation of a hepatitis B virus protection intervention among interns at Zagazig University Hospitals, Egypt
Rehab H. El-Sokkary, Rehab M. ElSaid Tash, Eman M. Mortada, Omnia S. El Seifi
Infection, Disease & Health  vol: 25  issue: 1  first page: 50  year: 2020  
doi: 10.1016/j.idh.2019.10.002