The Viral Hepatitis Prevention Board (VHPB) convened a meeting of international experts from the public and private sectors in order to review and evaluate the epidemiology of blood-borne infections in healthcare workers, to evaluate the transmission of hepatitis B and C viruses as an occupational risk, to discuss primary and secondary prevention measures and to review recommendations for infected healthcare workers and (para)medical students. This VHPB meeting outlined a number of recommendations for the prevention and control of viral hepatitis in the following domains: application of standard precautions, panels for counselling infected healthcare workers and patients, hepatitis B vaccination, restrictions on the practice of exposure-prone procedures by infected healthcare workers, ethical and legal issues, assessment of risk and costs, priority setting by individual countries and the role of the VHPB. Participants also identified a number of terms that need harmonisation or standardisation in order to facilitate communication between experts.
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Funding and competing interests: The Viral Hepatitis Prevention Board is supported by unrestricted educational grants from the pharmaceutical industry (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Sanofi Pasteur MSD), several European universities and other institutions.
This article was written on behalf of the Viral Hepatitis Prevention Board (VHPB) (www.vhpb.org). A group of experts was convened and met at the Istituto Nazionale per le Malattie Infettive ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani,’ Rome, Italy, on 17–18 March 2005, to review and evaluate the global epidemiology of blood-borne infections in healthcare workers, to evaluate the transmission of hepatitis B and C viruses as an occupational risk, to discuss primary and secondary prevention measures, and to review recommendations for infected healthcare workers and (para)medical students. Participants were: Selim Badur, Turkey; Paolo Bonanni, Italy; Gabriella De Carli, Italy; Antoon De Schryver, Belgium; Nedret Emiroğlu, Denmark; David FitzSimons, Switzerland; Annarosa Floreani, Italy; Guido François, Belgium; Susan Goldstein, USA; Peter Grob, Switzerland; Andrew Hall, UK; Johannes Hallauer, Germany; Giuseppe Ippolito, Italy; Tessa James, Belgium; Wolfgang Jilg, Germany; Andreas Kopka, UK; Daniel Lavanchy, Switzerland; André Meheus, Belgium; Fortune Ncube, UK; Isabel Pachón, Spain; Lidia Proietti, Italy; Annette Prüss-Üstün, Switzerland; Vincenzo Puro, Italy; Françoise Roudot-Thoraval, France; Kirsty Roy, UK; Daniel Shouval, Israel; Sarah Tomkins, UK; Pierre Van Damme, Belgium; Annemiek van der Eijk, the Netherlands; Alex Vorsters, Belgium; Steven Wiersma, Switzerland; Ian Williams, USA; Yazdan Yazdanpanah, France; Alessandro Zanetti, Italy.