Dental Students with Hepatitis B e Antigen: A Survey of Canadian Dental Schools

October 1, 2001
Health care workers who are e-antigen-positive carriers of hepatitis B virus have become a significant focus of concern in the development of public health policy. In cases of needle-stick injury, the risk of transmission of HBV has been estimated at 60-fold greater if the carrier is positive for e antigen than if the carrier does not have the e antigen. Debate continues regarding proposed public health policies to restrict e-antigen-positive health care workers from performing “exposure-prone procedures.” Given the potentially greater risk of disease transmission to patients and the potential career implications for infected students, dental schools must responsibly address the issue of dental students and dental school applicants who have the hepatitis B e antigen. This paper reviews the controversies surrounding this issue and reports a survey of Canadian dental schools.

MeSH Key Words: hepatitis B/prevention & control; schools, dental; students, dental

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