The prevalence of hepatitis B serological markers in emergency physicians

Kenneth V. Iserson, Elizabeth Criss, Steve Barrett, Michael Clark, John Moorhead, Thomas Stair, Alexander Trott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Hepatitis B (HBV) is a well-documented, increasing occupational hazard to those in the medical and dental professions. While the prevalence of markers of hepatitis B in the general population in the United States is approximately 3% to 5%, the prevalence in the health professions has been found to be higher. The prevalence of markers in 260 emergency physicians, consisting of teaching and nonteaching staff and emergency medicine residents, was the focus of this study. Two hundred fourteen participants had not received hepatitis B vaccine; 46 had received the vaccine. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), surface antibody (anti-HBs) and core antibody (anti-HBc) were tested. The overall prevalence of markers in the nonvaccinated group was 11.7% ( 25 214). Forty-one of 46 participants (89%) who had received hepatitis B vaccine demonstrated anti-HBs, evidence of immunity to hepatitis B. Thirty-nine of them had anti-HBs alone, and two had anti-HBs and anti-HBc. Of the five vaccinees who failed to demonstrate anti-HBs, one demonstrated anti-HBc alone. There was no statistically significant difference between the three groups in prevalence or type of markers. The prevalence of hepatitis B serological markers in this survey of emergency physicians was two and a half to four times that of the general population. Because of the increased risk of exposure to hepatitis B virus, early immunization against this disease through the use of hepatitis B vaccine should be considered by physicians in the practice of emergency medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-398
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 1984


  • Emergency medicine
  • hepatitis B
  • physicians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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