| Record Type:
| Old Directive Number:
||Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030
| Information Date:
NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.
OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.44C February 13, 1992 Office of Health Compliance
SUBJECT: Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne
Pathogens Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030
A. Purpose. This instruction establishes policies and provides
clarifications to ensure uniform inspection procedures are followed when
conducting inspections to enforce the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne
B. Scope. This instruction applies OSHA-wide.
C. Cancellation. This instruction cancels OSHA Instruction CPL
2-2.44B, February 27, 1990, (except as noted at M.9. of this instruction).
1. OSHA Instruction CPL 2.45B, June 15, 1989, the Revised Field
Operations Manual (FOM).
2. OSHA Instruction ADM 1-1.12B, December 29, 1989, the Integrated
Management Information System (IMIS) Forms Manual.
3. Centers for Disease Control Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
Report: "Recommendations for Prevention of HIV Transmission in Health Care
Settings." August 1987; Vol. 36, No. S-2.
4. Centers for Disease Control Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
Report: 1988 Agent Summary Statement for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and
Report on Laboratory-Acquired Infection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
April 1, 1988; Vol. 37, No. S-4.
5. Centers for Disease Control Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
Report: "Guidelines for Prevention of Transmission of HIV and HBV to Health
Care and Public Safety Workers." June 23, 1989; Vol. 38, No. S-6.
6. Centers for Disease Control Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
Report: "Update: Universal Precautions for the Prevention of Transmission
of HIV, HBV and Other Bloodborne Pathogens in Health Care Settings." June 24,
1988; Vol. 37, No. 24.
7. Centers for Disease Control Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
Report: "Public Health Service Statement on Management of Occupational
Exposure to Human Immuno - deficiency Virus, Including Consideration
Regarding Zidovudine Postexposure Use." January 1990; Vol. 139, No. RR2.
(See Appendix A.)
8. Centers for Disease Control Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
Report: "Protection Against Viral Hepatitis, Recommendations of the
Immunization Practices Advisory Committee." February 1990; Vol. 39, No.
S-2. (See Appendix B.)
9. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Biosafety in
Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories," Publication No. (NIH) 88-8395,
E. Action. OSHA Regional Administrators and Area Directors shall
use the guidelines in this instruction to ensure uniform enforcement of the
Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. The Directorate of Compliance Programs will
provide support as necessary to assist the Regional Administrators and Area
Directors in enforcing the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.
F. Federal Program Change. This instruction describes a Federal
program change which affects State programs. Each Regional Administrator
1. Ensure that this change is promptly forwarded to each State
designee, using a format consistent with the Plan Change Two-Way Memorandum
in Appendix P of OSHA Instruction STP 2.22A CH-3.
2. Explain the technical content of this change to the State
designee as requested.
3. Ensure that State designees are asked to acknowledge receipt of
this Federal program change in writing to the Regional Administrator as soon
as the State's intention is known, but not later than 70 calendar days after
the date of issuance (10 days for mailing and 60 days for response). This
acknowledgment must include the State's intention to follow OSHA's policies
and procedures described in this instruction, or a description of the State's
alternative policy and/or procedure which is "at least as effective" as the
4. Ensure that the State designees submit a plan supplement, in
accordance with OSHA Instruction STP 2.22A, Ch-3, as appropriate, following
the established schedule that is agreed upon by the State and Regional
Administrator to submit non-Field Operations Manual/ Technical Manual Federal
a. If a State intends to follow the revised inspection
procedures described in this instruction, the State must submit either a
revised version of this instruction, adapted as appropriate to reference
State law, regulations and administrative structure, or a cover sheet
describing how references in this instruction correspond to the State's
structure. The State's acknowledgment letter may fulfill the plan supplement
requirement if the appropriate documentation is provided.
b. If the State adopts an alternative to Federal enforcement
inspection procedures, the State's plan supplement must identify and provide
a rationale for all substantial differences from Federal procedures in order
for OSHA to judge whether a different State procedure is as effective as the
5. After Regional review of the State plan supplement and
resolution of any comments thereon, forward the State submission to the
National Office in accordance with established procedures. The Regional
Administrator shall provide a judgment on the relative effectiveness of each
substantial difference in the State plan change and an overall assessment
thereon with a recommendation for approval or disapproval by the Assistant
6. Advise State designees that the State is also responsible for
extending coverage under its procedures for addressing occupational exposure
to bloodborne pathogens to the public sector, such as police, firefighters,
ambulance and other emergency response employees.
7. Review policies, instructions and guidelines issued by the
State to determine that this change has been communicated to State program
G. Background. In September 1986, OSHA was petitioned by various
unions representing health care employees to develop an emergency temporary
standard to protect employees from occupational exposure to bloodborne
diseases. The agency decided to pursue the development of a Section 6(b) of
the Act standard and published a proposed rule on May 30, 1989.
1. The agency also concluded that the risk of contracting the
hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among members
of various occupations within the health care sector required an immediate
response and therefore issued OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.44, January 19, 1988.
That instruction was canceled by CPL 2-2.44A, August 15, 1988, and
subsequently, CPL 2-2.44B was issued February 27, 1990.
2. On December 6, 1991, the agency issued its final regulation on
occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030). Based on a
review of the information in the rulemaking record, OSHA has determined that
employees face a significant health risk as the result of occupational
exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) because
they may contain bloodborne pathogens. These pathogens include HBV which
causes Hepatitis B, a serious liver disease, and HIV, which causes Acquired
Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The agency further concludes that this
hazard can be minimized or eliminated using a combination of engineering and
work practice controls, personal protective clothing and equipment, training,
medical surveillance, hepatitis B vaccination, signs and labels, and other
H. Inspection Scheduling, and Scope.
1. Inspection scheduling shall be conducted in accordance with the
procedures outlined in the FOM, Chapter II, and for Federal agencies, Chapter
XIII, except as modified in paragraphs 2., 3., and 4. below.
2. All inspections, programmed or unprogrammed, shall include, if
appropriate, a review of the employer's exposure control plan and employee
interviews to assess compliance with the standard.
3. Expansion of an inspection to areas involving the hazard of
occupational exposure to body fluids (including onsite health care units and
emergency response or first aid personnel) shall be performed when:
a. The exposure control plan or employee interviews indicate
deficiencies in complying with OSHA requirements, as set forth in 29 CFR
1910.1030 or this instruction.
b. Relevant formal employee complaints are received which are
specifically related to occupational exposure to blood or
c. A fatality/catastrophe inspection is conducted as the
result of occupational exposure to blood or OPIM.
4. Regional Offices may develop and implement local emphasis
programs as a supplement to complaint-generated inspection activities. (See
the FOM, Chapter II.)
I. General Inspection Procedures. The procedures given in the FOM,
Chapter III, shall be followed except as modified in the following sections:
1. Where appropriate, the facility administrator, infection
control director or occupational health nurse, "in service" education (i.e.,
training) director, and head of central services and/or housekeeping shall be
included in the opening conference or interviewed early in the
2. If the facility maintains a file of "incident reports" or a
first aid log on injuries (e.g., needlesticks), this shall be reviewed as it
may contain injuries not included on the OSHA 200 log.
3. Compliance officers shall take necessary precautions to avoid
direct contact with body fluids and shall not participate in activities that
will require them to come into contact with body fluids, needles or other
sharp instruments contaminated with blood. To evaluate such activities,
compliance officers normally shall establish the existence of hazards and
adequacy of work practices through employee interviews and shall observe them
at a safe distance.
4. On occasions when entry into potentially hazardous areas are
judged necessary, the compliance officer shall be properly equipped as
required by the facility as well as by his/her own professional judgment,
after consultation with the supervisor.
5. Compliance officers shall use appropriate caution when entering
patient care areas of the facility. When such visits are judged necessary
for determining actual conditions in the facility, the privacy of patients
shall be respected. Photographs of patients normally will not be necessary
and in no event shall identifiable photographs be taken without their
J. Recording of Exposure Incidents. For OSHA 200 recordkeeping
purposes, an occupational bloodborne pathogens exposure incident (e.g.,
needlestick, laceration, or splash) shall be classified as an injury since it
is usually the result of an instantaneous event or exposure. It shall be
recorded if it meets one of the following recordability requirements:
1. The incident is a work-related injury that involves loss of
consciousness, transfer to another job, or restriction of work or
2. The incident results in the recommendation of medical treatment
beyond first aid (e.g., gamma globulin, hepatitis B immune globulin,
hepatitis B vaccine, or zidovudine) regardless of dosage.
3. The incident results in a diagnosis of seroconversion. The
serological status of the employee shall not be recorded on the OSHA 200. If
a case of seroconversion is known, it shall be recorded on the OSHA 200 as an
injury (e.g., "needlestick" rather than "seroconversion") in the following
a. If the date of the event or exposure is known, the original
injury shall be recorded with the date of the event or exposure in column
b. If there are multiple events or exposures, the most recent
injury shall be recorded with the date that seroconversion is determined in
K. Multi-Employer Worksite. The following citation guidelines
apply in multi-employer worksites (See FOM, Chapter V, F.):
1. Employers shall be cited for violations of the standard to
which their own employees are exposed.
2. They shall also be cited for violations to which employees of
other employers on their premises are exposed to the extent that they control
the hazard. For example, they shall be cited for not providing personal
protective equipment to unprotected employees of other employers on their
3. Physicians who are members of professional corporations are
generally considered to be employees of that corporation. Therefore, the
corporation may be cited for violations affecting those physicians, such as
failure to provide the hepatitis B vaccine. Also, the hospitals where they
work may be cited for violations to which they are exposed.
4. No citation shall be issued where the only persons exposed are
physicians who are sole practitioners or partners, and thus not employees
under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
L. Federal Agency Facilities. Agencies of the Federal Government
are covered by this instruction.
M. Clarification of the Standard on Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne
Pathogens, 29 CFR 1910.1030. The guidance that follows relates to
specific provisions of 29 CFR 1910.1030 and is provided to assist compliance
officers in conducting inspections where the standard may be applicable:
NOTE: Compliance officers shall refer to 29 CFR 1910.1030
regulatory text and preamble for further information.
1. Scope and Application - 29 CFR 1910.1030(a). This
section defines the range of employees covered by the standard.
a. Since there is no population that is risk free for HIV or
HBV infectivity, any employee who has occupational exposure to blood or other
potentially infectious material will be included within the scope of this
b. Although a list is included below of a number of job
classifications that may be associated with tasks that have occupational
exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials, the scope of
this standard is in no way limited to employees in these jobs. The
hazard of exposure to infectious materials affects employees in many types of
employment and is not restricted to the health care industry. At the same
time, employees in the following jobs are not automatically covered unless
they have occupational exposure:
o Physicians, physician's assistants, nurses, nurse
practitioners, and other health care employees in clinics and physicians'
o Employees of clinical and diagnostic
o Housekeepers in health care facilities;
o Personnel in hospital laundries or commercial laundries
that service health care or public safety institutions;
o Tissue bank personnel;
o Employees in blood banks and plasma centers who
collect, transport, and test blood;
o Freestanding clinic employees (e.g., hemodialysis
clinics, urgent care clinics, health maintenance organization (HMO) clinics,
and family planning clinics);
o Employees in clinics in industrial, educational, and
correctional facilities (e.g., those who collect blood, and clean and dress
o Employees assigned to provide emergency first
o Dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and
dental laboratory technicians;
o Staff of institutions for the developmentally
o Hospice employees;
o Home health care workers;
o Staff of nursing homes and long-term care
o Employees of funeral homes and mortuaries;
o HIV and HBV research laboratory and production facility
o Employees handling regulated waste;
o Medical equipment service and repair personnel;
o Emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and other
emergency medical service providers; and
o Firefighters, law enforcement personnel, and
correctional officers (employees in the private sector, the Federal
Government, or a State or local government in a State that has an
OSHA-approved State plan).
INSPECTION GUIDELINES. The scope section of this
standard states that it "applies to all occupational exposure to blood or
other potentially infectious materials as defined by paragraph (b)." The
compliance officer must take careful note of the phrase "as defined by
paragraph (b)" when determining coverage. Definitions of particular
importance that the compliance officer must clearly understand before
beginning an inspection are: Blood, Bloodborne Pathogens, Contaminated,
Exposure Incident, Occupational Exposure, Other Potentially Infectious
Materials, and Regulated Waste. These will be of use in determining if an
employee in either a health care or a non-health care setting is covered by
NOTES: 1. Part-time, temporary, and health care
workers known as "per diem" employees
are covered by this standard.
2. If an employee is trained in first aid and identified by
the employer as responsible for rendering medical assistance as part of
his/her job duties, that employee is covered by the
3. Employees in the construction and maritime industries
who have occupational exposure to blood or OPIM are covered by the
2. Definitions - 29 CFR 1910.1030(b). The following
provides further clarifications of some definitions found in this
a. "Blood": The term "human blood components" includes
plasma, platelets, and serosanguineous fluids (e.g., exudates from
b. "Bloodborne Pathogens": While HBV and HIV are
specifically identified in the standard, the term includes any pathogenic
microorganism that is present in human blood and can infect and cause disease
in persons who are exposed to blood containing the pathogen. Other examples
include hepatitis C, malaria, syphilis, babesiosis, brucellosis,
leptospirosis, arboviral infections, relapsing fever, Creutzfeld-Jakob
disease, Human T-lymphotrophic Virus Type 1, and viral hemorrhagic
c. "Exposure Incident": "Non-intact skin" includes
skin with dermatitis, hang-nails, cuts, abrasions, chafing,
d. "Occupational Exposure": The term "reasonably
anticipated" includes the potential for exposure as well as actual exposure.
Lack of history of blood exposures among first aid personnel of a particular
manufacturing site, for instance, does not preclude coverage.
NOTE: This definition does not cover "good Samaritan" acts
which result in exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials
from assisting a fellow employee, although OSHA encourages employers to offer
follow-up procedures in such cases.
e. "Other Potentially Infectious Materials"(OPIM):
Coverage under this definition also extends to blood and tissues of animals
who are deliberately infected with HIV or HBV.
f. "Parenteral": This definition includes human bites
that break the skin, which are most likely to occur in violent situations
such as may be encountered by prison personnel and police and in emergency
rooms or psychiatric wards.
g. "Regulated Waste": This definition is covered in
detail at M.4.d.(3) of this instruction.
3. Exposure Control Plan - 29 CFR 1910.1030(c). This
section requires the employer to identify those tasks and procedures in which
occupational exposure may occur and to identify the positions whose duties
include those tasks and procedures identified with occupational exposure.
The exposure control plan required by section (c)(1) is a key provision of
the standard because it requires the employer to identify the individuals who
will receive the training, protective equipment, vaccination, and other
benefits of the standard.
INSPECTION AND CITATION GUIDELINES. The compliance
officer shall review the facility's written exposure control plan. While the
plan may be part of a larger document, such as one addressing all health and
safety hazards in the workplace, in order for the plan to be accessible to
employees, it must be a cohesive entity by itself or there must be a guiding
document which states the overall policy goals and references the elements of
existing separate policies that comprise the plan.
- The compliance officer shall determine whether the plan is
reviewed annually and updated to reflect significant modifications in tasks
or procedures which may result in occupational exposure as required in
- The content of the exposure control plan shall be reviewed
for at least the following elements:
a. Sections (c)(1)(ii)(A) and (c)(2)(i). The exposure
determination requires employers to identify and document:
(1) Those job classifications in which all employees have
occupational exposure, and
(2) Those job classifications in which some employees have
(a) In the latter case, the specific tasks and
procedures, or groups of closely related tasks and procedures, which are
associated with occupational exposure must be delineated. For example, only
some of the employees in a hospital laundry room might be assigned the task
of handling contaminated laundry.
(b) The tasks and procedures that are grouped must be
related; i.e., they must share a common activity such as "vascular access
procedures," "handling of contaminated sharps," or "handling of deceased
(3) The exposure determination shall have been made without
taking into consideration the use of personal protective clothing or
b. Section (c)(1)(ii)(B). The schedule and method of
implementation for sections (d)-(h) in a manner appropriate to the
circumstances of the particular workplace must be addressed in the exposure
control plan. An annotated copy of the final standard may be adequate for
small facilities. An employer may state on a copy of the final standard when
and how he/she will implement the provisions of the standard. Larger
facilities could develop a broad facility-wide program incorporating
provisions from the standard that apply to their
c. Section (c)(1)(ii)(C). The exposure control plan
shall include the procedure for evaluating the circumstances surrounding
exposure incidents, including an evaluation of the policies and "failures of
control" at the time of the exposure incident. Also to be considered are the
engineering controls and work practices in place, as well as protective
equipment or clothing used, at the time of the exposure
d. Section (c)(1)(iii). The location of the plan may
be adapted to the circumstances of a particular workplace provided that the
employee can access a copy at the workplace, during the workshift (e.g., if
the plan is maintained solely on computer, employees must be trained to
operate the computer). In accordance with 29 CFR 1910.20, a hard copy of the
exposure control plan shall be made available to the employee within 15
working days of the employee's request.
e. Sections (c)(2)(i)(A) and (B). As previously
discussed in the exposure control plan, the employer is required to list the
job classifications covered by the plan. The list is part of the exposure
determination. If a job classification, task, or procedure with occupational
exposure is omitted from the list, but all employees in the job or performing
the task or procedure have been included in all other aspects of the plan
(i.e., vaccinations, training, etc.), it is to be considered a de minimis
4. Methods of Compliance - 29 CFR 1910.1030(d). Section
(d) sets forth the methods by which employers shall protect their employees
from the hazards of bloodborne pathogens and comply with this standard
through the use of universal precautions, engineering controls, work practice
controls, personal protective equipment, proper housekeeping and handling of
a. Universal Precautions - (d)(1). Universal
precautions is OSHA's accepted method of control to protect employees from
exposure to all human blood and OPIM. The term "universal precautions"
refers to a concept of bloodborne disease control which requires that all
human blood and OPIM be treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, or
other bloodborne pathogens regardless of the perceived "low risk" of a
patient or patient population.
(1) Another method of infection control is called Body
Substance Isolation (BSI). This method defines all body fluids and
substances as infectious. BSI incorporates not only the fluids and materials
covered by this standard but expands coverage to include all body fluids and
(2) BSI is an acceptable alternative to universal
precautions provided facilities utilizing BSI adhere to all other provisions
of this standard.
Citation Guidelines. If the employer has a policy of
treating the blood or OPIM of some patients as potentially infectious and the
blood or OPIM of others (e.g., the elderly or children) as not infectious, a
violation of this provision exists.
M.4.b. Engineering Controls and Work Practices - (d)(2).
This section requires the employer to institute engineering and work practice
controls as the primary means of eliminating or minimizing employee exposure.
In those circumstances in which occupational exposure remains after
institution of engineering and work practice controls, employers must
provide, and ensure that employees use, personal protective equipment as
INSPECTION GUIDELINES. The compliance officer shall
determine through interviews or observation of work involving the use of
needles whether proper engineering controls and work practices, such as
immediate disposal of used needles into a sharps container, are
- Most preferable is the use of devices which offer an
alternative to needles being used to perform the procedure. Examples of such
devices include stopcocks (on-off switch), needle-protected systems or
needleless systems which can be used in place of open needles to connect
intravenous lines. Other devices which are integral to the syringe, such as
self-sheathing needles, allow both hands to remain behind the needle and
require very little manipulation to isolate the needle
- When a health care worker must recap, such as during
intermittent administration of various drugs during certain procedures, and
when it is not feasible to use self-sheathing needle syringes, the employee
must use some type of device that protects the hand or allows a safe
one-handed recapping method. A proper one-handed scoop method is a work
practice which may also be used in these circumstances. (See M.4.b.(3)(b) of
this instruction on section (d)(2)(vii) for
- The compliance officer shall evaluate the work
practices used by health care providers to determine that they ensure the
effectiveness of engineering controls. For example, some devices provide a
fixed barrier between the hands and the needle after use. While some
finger/hand shields available on the market offer full protection of the hand
holding the needle sheath from accidental puncture, some do not. They may
leave much of the hand area uncovered and are not considered acceptable
protection for use in a two-handed recapping procedure. Both the shield and
the cap must be constructed so that an employee is not exposed to puncture
from a needle protruding from the side or end of the cap.
- The compliance officer should note that sharps may
include more than the traditional needles or scalpels. They also include
anything that might produce a puncture wound which would expose employees to
blood or OPIM (e.g., the ends of contaminated orthodontia wires or broken
Citation Guidelines. Section (d)(2) shall be
cited for failure to use engineering/work practice controls. A citation for
the appropriate section of (g)(2)(vii) shall be grouped with it, if
the compliance officer determines that inadequate training caused the failure
to use such controls.
- Citations shall be issued if engineering or work
practice controls are not used to eliminate or minimize employee
- While employers do not automatically have to institute
the most sophisticated engineering controls (e.g., needleless IV connectors,
self-sheathing needles), it is the employer's responsibility to evaluate the
effectiveness of existing controls and to review the feasibility of
instituting more advanced engineering controls.
M.4.b.(1) Section (d)(2)(ii). This section requires that
engineering controls be examined and maintained or replaced on a regular
schedule to ensure their effectiveness. Regularly scheduled inspections are
required to confirm, for instance, that engineering controls such as
protective shields have not been removed or broken, that sharps disposal
containers are being replaced in sufficiently frequent intervals and that
other physical, mechanical or replacement-dependent controls are functioning
CITATION GUIDELINES. It is the employer's
responsibility to regularly examine and repair and/or replace engineering
controls as often as necessary to ensure that each control is maintained and
that it provides the protection intended. If the compliance officer finds
that there is no system for regular checking of the engineering controls,
section (d)(2)(ii) shall be cited.
- If there is a check system, but the compliance
officer finds, for example, that the biosafety cabinet is not functional,
filters are overloaded (in research laboratories or production facilities),
disposal containers are overfilled, or a hematron splash shield is broken or
missing, section (d)(2)(ii) shall be cited if an effective monitoring
system would have uncovered the deficiency.
- Additionally, if there is unprotected employee
exposure, section (d)(2)(i) shall be cited for failure to use personal
protective equipment after institution of engineering
M.4.b.(2) Sections (d)(2)(iii) through (d)(2)(vi). These
sections require employers to provide handwashing facilities which are
readily accessible to employees. Handwashing with soap and at least tepid
running water must be performed as soon as feasible, particularly in cases of
gross contamination, to adequately flush contaminated material from the
(a) Section (d)(2)(iv). This section allows the
use of alternative handwashing methods as an interim measure when soap and
water are not a feasible means of washing the hands or other parts of the
body. Antiseptic hand cleaner, in conjunction with clean cloth or paper
towels, or antiseptic towelettes are examples of alternative
1 When these types of alternatives are used,
employees shall wash their hands (or other affected area) with soap and
running water as soon as feasible thereafter.
2 The compliance officer may see these types of
alternative washing methods used by ambulance-based paramedics and emergency
medical technicians (EMT's), firefighters, police, and mobile blood
collection personnel who are exposed to blood or OPIM with no means of
washing up with running water.
M.4.b.(2)(b) Section (d)(2)(v). This section requires
employers to ensure that employees wash their hands immediately or as soon as
feasible after removal of gloves or other PPE. There is no requirement for
handwashing upon leaving the work area unless contact with blood or OPIM has
occurred or gloves/PPE have been removed.
CITATION GUIDELINES. If the compliance officer
finds that required handwashing facilities are not being provided, section
(d)(2)(iii) shall be cited unless the employer demonstrates that
handwashing facilities are not feasible. If infeasibility is demonstrated,
section (d)(2)(iv) shall be cited when the required alternatives are
not used. If handwashing is not performed by the employees after exposures
or removal of gloves, sections (d)(2)(iv), (v), or (vi) shall be
cited. This may be grouped with the pertinent training sections of
(g)(2) if employees have not been adequately trained in handwashing
- At a fixed establishment, if employees need to
perform handwashing, they must have a location for washing available at a
reasonable distance from their normal work area; i.e., no further than what
would be considered reasonable for location of
- If an employee must thread his/her way through
doorways and/or stairs to wash with appropriate frequency so that there is a
reasonable chance of resultant environmental surface contamination, a
violation of section (d)(2)(iii) exists.
M.4.b.(3) Section (d)(2)(vii). Shearing or breaking of
contaminated needles is completely prohibited by this section. Bending,
recapping, or removing contaminated needles by hand is prohibited as a
general practice. However, certain circumstances may exist in which these
actions are necessary; e.g., when performing blood gas analyses, inoculating
a blood culture bottle, administering incremental doses of a medication such
as an anesthetic to the same patient, or removing the needle from a
phlebotomy collection apparatus (e.g., vacutainer).
(a) In these procedures, if the employer can
demonstrate that no alternative is feasible or that such action is required
by a specific medical procedure, recapping is allowed by some method other
than the traditional two-handed procedure; e.g., by means of resheathing
instruments or forceps.
(b) The use of the properly performed one - hand scoop
method (in which the hand holding the sharp is used to scoop up the cap from
a flat surface) for recapping is a recognized and acceptable method; however,
the scoop method must be performed in a safe manner and must be limited to
situations in which recapping is necessary.
(c) An acceptable means of demonstrating that no
alternative is feasible would be a written justification included as part of
the exposure control plan and stating that the particular medical procedure
requires, for example, the bending of the needle and the use of forceps to
(4) Section (d)(2)(viii). Since reusable sharps,
such as large bore needles, scalpels, and saws, pose the same percutaneous
exposure hazard as disposable sharps, they must be contained in a manner that
eliminates or minimizes the hazard until they are reprocessed. Therefore,
the containers for reusable sharps must meet the same requirements as
containers for disposable sharps (See M.4.d.(3)(b) of this instruction on
section (d)(4)(iii)(A)(1).), with the exception that they are not
required to be closable since it is anticipated that containers used for
collecting and holding reusable sharps will, themselves, be reused. (See
M.4.d.(2)(e) of this instruction on section (d)(4)(ii)(E) for the
manner in which these reusable sharps are to be stored and processed, and
M.4.d.(3)(g) on section (d)(4)(iii)(A)(4) on the requirements for
cleaning and processing of these reusable containers.)
M.4.b.(5) Sections (d)(2)(ix) and (x). These sections
are intended primarily to eliminate or minimize indirect transmission of HBV
from contaminated environmental surfaces.
(a) Hand cream is not considered a "cosmetic" and is
permitted. It should be noted that:
1 Some petroleum-based hand creams can adversely
affect glove integrity, and
2 The handwashing requirements of section
(d)(2)(v) and (d)(2)(vi) shall be
(b) The term "work area" means the area where work
involving exposure or potential exposure to blood or OPIM exists, along with
the potential contamination of surfaces. Employees are permitted to eat and
drink in an ambulance cab, for example, as long as the employer has
implemented procedures to permit employees to wash up and change contaminated
clothing prior to entering the ambulance cab, and to ensure that patients and
contaminated material remain behind the separating
INSPECTION GUIDELINES. In addition to direct
contamination of food or drink by blood or OPIM, the compliance officer must
keep in mind that containers of food and beverage may also become
contaminated, resulting in unsuspected contamination of the hands. The key
to this section is whether food and drink may be contaminated by such
processes as leakage/spilling of specimen containers, contact with
contaminated items, or the performance of activities (e.g., laboratory
analysis) that could generate splashes, sprays, or droplets of blood or
CITATION GUIDELINES. Deficiencies of sections
(d)(2)(iv) through (x) shall be cited in conjunction with the
appropriate section of (g)(2) if inadequate training
M.4.b.(6) Section (d)(2)(xi). The intent of this
section is not only to decrease the chances of direct employee exposure
through spraying or splashing of infectious materials onto employees, but
also to reduce contamination of surfaces in the general work
(a) Surgical power tools, lasers, and electrocautery
devices may generate aerosols. However, OSHA does not believe that the data
currently support the mandatory use of respiratory protection for exposure to
aerosols, nor is there an effective engineering control to address aerosol
exposure or approved respirator and filter
(b) Particularly hazardous is the use of sprays,
brushes, and high pressure in equipment lines.
(c) Typically, spattering or generation of droplets
would necessitate use of eye protection and mask or a face shield. (See
M.4.c.(8) of this instruction on section
CITATION GUIDELINES. A citation shall normally
be issued for section (d)(2)(xi) if cleaning procedures unnecessarily
cause splashing, spraying, spattering, and generation of droplets of blood or
M.4.b.(7) Section (d)(2)(xii). While this section
prohibits mouth pipetting/suctioning, the agency allows a recognized
emergency care method of clearing an infant's airways called "DeLee
suctioning" in the following situation:
(a) In an emergency,
(b) When no other method is available; and
(c) Provided that a trap which prevents suctioned fluid
from reaching the employee's mouth is inserted in-line between the infant and
(8) Section (d)(2)(xiii)-(d)(2)(xiii)(C). These
sections deal with the containerization and labeling of specimens with the
intent to eliminate or minimize the possibility of inadvertent employee
contact with blood or OPIM which have leaked out of the container,
contaminated exterior surfaces of the container, and/or surrounding surfaces.
The labeling requirement warns employees that these substances are present
so that proper handling precautions can be taken.
(a) The labeling exemption listed in section
(d)(2)(xiii)(A) applies to facilities which handle all
specimens (not just those specimens which contain blood or OPIM) with
1 This exemption applies only while these specimens
remain within the facility.
2 All employees who will have contact with the
specimens must be trained to handle all specimens with universal
3 If the specimens leave the facility (e.g., during
transport, shipment, or disposal) a label or red color-coding would be
M.4.b.(8)(b) Extracted teeth are subject to the
containerization and labeling provisions of the standard.
(c) The use of pneumatic tube systems for transport of
small materials in hospitals now includes transmittal of laboratory specimens
and other more fragile items. The primary concern in the transportation of
clinical specimens in a pneumatic tube system is leakage of the specimen into
the carrier and potentially into the system tubing. Some systems have
virtually eliminated breakage as a cause of leakage by means of padded
inserts for carriers and soft delivery of the carrier. Leakage generally
results from improper packaging and/or the use of primary containers that do
not prevent leakage during transport.
1 All workers who might potentially open a carrier
shall be trained to regard the contents as biohazardous in nature. Employees
who open biohazard carriers shall wear gloves in accordance with section
(d)(3) when removing specimens from the tube system carrier, as it may be
contaminated with leakage. They shall be trained in decontamination of the
carrier and, if need be, the tube system in accordance with section
2 All precautions and standards for manual transport
of specimens also apply to the automated transport of specimens (e.g.,
containerization and tagging/labeling).
INSPECTION GUIDELINES. The compliance officer
must observe or document work practices to determine whether a secondary
container is being used when necessary. If a bloody glove contaminates the
outside of a primary container while the employee is placing a specimen, the
employee would need to use a secondary container. Also, primary containers
which may be punctured by their contents, including such items as pointed
bone slivers, must be placed in a puncture-resistant
M.4.b.(9) Section (d)(2)(xiv). When it is not possible
to decontaminate equipment prior to servicing or shipping (e.g., highly
technical or sensitive equipment and/or limited access to contaminated
parts), at least partial decontamination, such as flushing lines and wiping
the exterior, shall be accomplished.
INSPECTION AND CITATION GUIDELINES. The
compliance officer shall ensure that the employer's program makes provision
for the required equipment labels. A label shall be attached to equipment
stating which portions of the equipment remain contaminated in order to
inform downstream servicing/repair employees of the hazard and precautions
they need to take.
(a) Before citing (d)(2)(xiv), the compliance
officer shall document that equipment is being shipped and/or
(b) Compliance officers shall observe or document work
practices used when employees are decontaminating equipment. (See M.4.b.(6)
of this instruction on section (d)(2)(xi) for use of high pressure
(c) When decontaminating reusable equipment that is
heavily soiled, the employee will have to perform some prewashing before
proceeding with decontamination because most disinfectants/sterilants cannot
sufficiently penetrate the organic material that may remain on such heavily
soiled equipment. (See M.4.d.(2)(e) of this instruction for
M.4.c. Personal Protective Equipment - (d)(3). PPE must be
used to prevent blood or OPIM from passing through to, or contacting the
employees' work or street clothes, undergarments, skin, eyes, mouth, or other
mucous membranes, unless engineering controls and work practices have
eliminated occupational exposure.
(1) Section (d)(3)(i). The type and amount of PPE
shall be chosen to protect against contact with blood or OPIM based upon the
type of exposure and quantity of these substances which can be reasonably
anticipated to be encountered during the performance of a task or
INSPECTION AND CITATION GUIDELINES. The
financial responsibility for purchasing and providing PPE rests with the
employer. The employer is not obligated under this standard to provide
general work clothes to employees, but is responsible for providing PPE. If
laboratory coats or uniforms are intended to protect the employee's body from
contamination, they are to be provided by the
(a) Laboratory coats, uniforms and the like that are
used as PPE shall be laundered by the employer and not sent home with the
employee for cleaning. (See M.4.c.(4) of this instruction on section
M.4.c.(1)(b) Scrubs are usually worn in a manner similar to
street clothing, and normally should be covered by appropriate gowns, aprons
or laboratory coats when splashes to skin or clothing are
1 If a pullover scrub (as opposed to scrubs with snap
closures) becomes minimally contaminated, employees should be trained in
accordance with section (g)(2)(vii)(G) to remove the pull-over scrub
in such a way as to avoid contact with the outer surface; e.g., rolling up
the garment as it is pulled toward the head for
2 However, if the amount of blood exposure is such
that the blood penetrates the scrub and contaminates the inner surface, not
only is it impossible to remove the scrub without exposure to blood, but the
penetration itself would constitute exposure. It may be prudent to train
employees to cut such a contaminated scrub to aid removal and prevent
exposure to the face.
(c) A gown which is frequently ripped or falls apart
under normal use would not be considered "appropriate
(d) Resuscitator devices are to be readily available
and accessible to employees who can reasonably be expected to resuscitate a
1 Emergency ventilation devices also fall under the
scope of PPE and hence must be provided by the employer for use in
resuscitation (e.g., masks, mouthpieces, resuscitation bags, shields/overlay
M.4.c.(1)(d) 2 Improper use of these devices shall
be cited as a violation of section
(d)(3)(ii). In addition, section
(g)(2)(vii)(G) which requires
employees to be trained in the
types, proper use, location, etc.,
of the PPE shall be cited if
inadequate training exists. Improper
use includes failure to follow the
manufacturer's instructions and/or
accepted medical practice.
NOTE: The American Society for Testing Materials is
currently (at the publication date of this document) testing and evaluating
methods to be used for assessing the quality of PPE that is available for
(2) Section (d)(3)(ii). This section requires the
use of PPE. It also provides for a limited exemption from the use of PPE,
based on situations in which use of PPE would prevent the proper delivery of
health care or public safety services, or would pose an increased hazard to
the personal safety of the worker. The following represents examples of when
such a situation could occur:
(a) A sudden change in patient status occurs such as
when an apparently stable patient unexpectedly begins to hemorrhage
profusely, putting the patient's life in immediate
(b) A firefighter rescues an individual who is not
breathing from a burning building and discovers that his/her resuscitation
equipment is lost/damaged and he/she must administer
M.4.c.(2)(c) A bleeding suspect unexpectedly attacks a police
officer with a knife, threatening the safety of the officer and/or
NOTE: An employee's decision not to use PPE is to be
made on a case-by-case basis and must have been prompted by legitimate and
truly extenuating circumstances. In such cases, no citation shall be issued
when the employee temporarily and briefly abandons use of PPE. This does not
relieve the employer of the responsibility to ensure that PPE is readily
accessible at all times. The employer shall document why PPE was not used in
each case and evaluate the circumstances surrounding the incident to reduce
the likelihood of a future (unprotected) incident.
CITATION GUIDELINES. Section (d)(3)(ii)
shall be cited if PPE is not being used properly. Improper use would include
wearing the wrong PPE (e.g., wearing a laboratory coat when a rubber apron is
needed) or wearing the wrong size PPE.
- In addition, section (g)(2)(vii)(G) shall
also be cited if the employees have not been adequately
- Unless all elements of the exemption, including the
documentation requirement are met, the employer shall not receive the benefit
of this exemption and section (d)(3)(ii) shall be
(3) Section (d)(3)(iii). This section requires that
the employer provide PPE in appropriate sizes and accessible locations. In
addition, hypoallergenic gloves, glove liners, powderless gloves, or other
similar alternatives shall be readily accessible to those employees who are
allergic to the gloves normally provided. The compliance officer shall
review the employer's program and, through employee interviews, ensure that
these provisions have been met.
CITATION GUIDELINES. If PPE is not provided, the
compliance officer shall cite section (d)(3)(i). If PPE is not
readily available, the compliance officer shall cite section
(d)(3)(iii). For example, the clothing of paramedics out on an
emergency call may become blood-soaked. If they are unable to change before
the next emergency call because a second set of clothing is located at the
ambulance's home base, and the ambulance does not return to base for
prolonged periods, a violation of section (d)(3)(iii) would
- If it is common practice that PPE is not utilized
during certain situations or procedures where exposure to blood or OPIM is
anticipated, then a violation of section (d)(3)(ii) would exist. If
inaccessibility of PPE exists, section (d)(3)(iii) shall also be
M.4.c.(4) Section (d)(3)(iv). It is the employer's
responsibility not only to provide PPE, but to clean, maintain, and/or
dispose of it.
(a) While many employees have traditionally provided
and laundered their own uniforms or laboratory coats or the like, if the
item's intended function is to act as PPE, then it is the employer's
responsibility to provide, clean, repair, replace, and/or dispose of
(b) Home laundering is not permitted since the employer
cannot guarantee that proper handling or laundering procedures are being
followed; it could also lead to the migration of contaminants to the
(c) If the employee wishes to choose, wear, and
maintain his/her own uniform or laboratory coat, then he/she would need to
don additional employer-handled and employer-controlled PPE when performing
tasks where it is reasonable to anticipate exposure to blood or
CITATION GUIDELINES. If PPE is not cleaned/
laundered/disposed of by the employer, or if the employer cleans the PPE but
there is a charge to the employee, then section (d)(3)(iv) shall be
cited. If PPE is not repaired and/or replaced by the employer at no cost to
the employee then section (d)(3)(v) shall be
- If PPE is not removed when penetrated by blood or
OPIM, the compliance officer shall cite section
- If the PPE is not changed, and additional PPE was
available, section (g)(2)(vii)(G) may also be cited if employees have
not been adequately trained.
M.4.c.(5) Section (d)(3)(vii). To minimize migration of
contamination beyond the work area, employees who are provided designated
lunchrooms or break rooms are permitted to eat/ drink/smoke in these areas as
long as the employees wash up and change any contaminated clothing prior to
INSPECTION AND CITATION GUIDELINES. The "work
area" shall be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. While it is not the intent
of the standard to require employees to change PPE when traveling, for
example, from one hospital laboratory area to another, the compliance officer
shall evaluate on a case-by-case basis whether the employee received adequate
training in accordance with section (g)(2)(vii)(F) to ensure that no surface
contamination occurs during the employee's movement. A violation would exist
for the following:
- An employee wearing contaminated gloves exits from
a pathology laboratory to use a public telephone located in a public hallway
of the hospital. Under such circumstances, it can be reasonably anticipated
that another employee, without benefit of gloves or knowledge of the
potential surface contamination, could use the phone and unwittingly become
M.4.c.(6) Section (d)(3)(ix)(A)-(C). These sections
discuss the use of gloves. Gloves of appropriate sizes must be made
available in accordance with section (d)(3)(iii). Studies have shown
that gloves provide a barrier, but that neither vinyl nor latex procedure
gloves are completely impermeable. Thus, handwashing after glove removal is
(a) While disposable gloves shall be replaced as soon
as practical when contaminated, obviously some critical procedures (i.e.,
surgery, delivery) cannot be interrupted to change gloves. The key words to
evaluate are "practical" and "feasible".
(b) Disinfecting agents may cause deterioration of the
glove material; washing with surfactants could result in "wicking" or
enhanced pentration of liquids into the glove via undetected pores thereby
transporting potentially infectious materials into contact with the hand. For
this reason, disposable (single use) gloves may not be washed and
(c) The compliance officer should note that certain
solutions, such as iodine, may cause discoloration of gloves without
affecting their integrity and function.
(d) At a minimum gloves shall be used where there is
reasonable anticipation of employee hand contact with blood, OPIM, mucous
membranes, or nonintact skin; when performing vascular access procedures; or
when handling or touching contaminated surfaces or
M.4.c.(7) Section (d)(3)(ix)(D). The exemption
regarding the use of gloves during phlebotomy procedures applies only to
employees of volunteer donor blood collection centers, and does not apply to
phlebotomy conducted in other settings such as plasmapherisis centers or
INSPECTION GUIDELINES. Where an employer in a
volunteer donor blood collection center does not require routine gloving for
all phlebotomies, the compliance officer shall document that the employer has
fulfilled the requirements of sections (d)(3)(ix)(D)(1) through
(d)(3)(ix)(D)(4)(iii), and that employees have received the training
necessary to make an informed decision on the wearing of
CITATION GUIDELINES. Section
(d)(3)(ix)(D) shall not be cited. Rather, the other sections of
(d)(3) shall be cited if such an employer violates them and if the
employer has not demonstrated fulfillment of all the requirements of the
(8) Section (d)(3)(x). This section requires
protection for the mucous membranes of the face and upper respiratory tract
from droplet spattering. Minimum protection would consist of a mask in
conjunction with eye glasses with solid side shields or a chin length face
(a) The employer would not necessarily have to provide
prescription eyewear for employees. They could provide and mandate the use of
side shields, goggles, and/or protective face shields, and provide proper
training in decontamination procedures.
(b) During microsurgery, when it is not reasonably
anticipated that there would be any spattering, it would not constitute a
violation for the surgeon, while observing surgery through a microscope, not
to wear other eye protection.
M.4.c.(9) Sections (d)(3)(xi)-(xii). Use of protective
body clothing, such as gowns, aprons, laboratory coats, clinic jackets,
surgical caps, or shoe covers, and the degree to which such PPE must resist
penetration, are performance based. The employer must evaluate the task and
the type of exposure expected and, based on the determination, select the
"appropriate" personal protective clothing in accordance with section
(d)(3)(i). For example, laboratory coats or gowns with long sleeves
shall be used for procedures in which exposure of the forearm to blood or
OPIM is reasonably anticipated to occur.
INSPECTION GUIDELINES. The compliance officer
will need to evaluate the task being performed and the degree of anticipated
exposure by direct observation, employee interview, or review of written
standard operating procedures.
NOTE: There are no currently available standardized
methods of testing and classification of performance specifications for
resistance of clothing to biological hazards.
d. Housekeeping - (d)(4). The term "worksite" in this
section refers not only to permanent fixed facilities such as hospitals,
dental/medical offices, clinics, etc., but also covers temporary non-fixed
workplaces. Examples of such facilities include but are not limited to
ambulances, bloodmobiles, temporary blood collection centers, and any other
non-fixed worksites which have a reasonable possibility of becoming
contaminated with blood or OPIM.
M.4.d.(1) Section (d)(4)(i). Cleaning schedules and
methods will vary according to the factors outlined in this section. While
extraordinary attempts to disinfect or sterilize environmental surfaces such
as walls or floors are rarely indicated, routine cleaning and removal of soil
(a) The employer must determine and implement an
appropriate written schedule of cleaning and decontamination based upon the
location within the facility (e.g., surgical operatory versus patient room),
type of surface to be cleaned (e.g., hard-surfaced flooring versus
carpeting), type of soil present (e.g., gross contamination versus minor
splattering), and tasks and procedures being performed (e.g., laboratory
analyses versus normal patient care).
(b) The particular disinfectant used, as well as the
frequency with which it is used, will depend upon the circumstances in which
the housekeeping task occurs.
INSPECTION AND CITATION GUIDELINES. Compliance
officers should consult the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists of
registered sterilants (representing the highest level of antimicrobial
activity which destroys all viruses), tuberculocidal disinfectants (effective
against tuberculosis bacteria and the specific viruses named on the product
label as well as the hepatitis B virus), and antimicrobials with HIV efficacy
claims for verification that the disinfectant used is appropriate. These
lists are available from the Regional bloodborne pathogens
NOTE: Products registered by the EPA as HIV-effective
are not necessarily tuberculocidal and are therefore not necessarily
effective against HBV which is more resistant to inactivation than is HIV.
To determine the overall effectiveness of a particular product with an
HIV-efficacy claim for use in a cleanup where HBV or other bloodborne
pathogens are also of concern, the compliance officer must compare the
listing of HIV-effective products with the other two listings to check if
they overlap for the product of interest.
M.4.d.(2) Section (d)(4)(ii). Since environmental
contamination is an effective method of disease transmission for HBV (the CDC
states that HBV can survive for at least one week in dried blood on
environmental surfaces or contaminated needles and instruments), section
(d)(4)(ii) provides the minimum requirements for the cleaning and
decontamination of equipment and environmental and working surfaces that come
into contact with blood or OPIM.
(a) In section (d)(4)(ii)(A), cleaning of
contaminated work surfaces after completion of procedures is required to
ensure that employees are not unwittingly exposed to blood or OPIM remaining
on a surface from previous procedures.
1 Where procedures are performed on a continual basis
throughout a shift or a day, as may be the case with a clinical laboratory
technician performing blood analyses, it is not the agency's intent for the
work surface to be decontaminated before the technician can proceed to the
next analysis; rather for contaminated work surfaces to be decontaminated
after the procedures are completed which, in the above example, would include
a set of analyses. The completion of procedures might also occur when the
employee is going to leave the work area for a period of
M.4.d.(2)(a)2 Decontamination is not automatically required
after each patient care procedure, rather only after procedures resulting in
3 There may be some instances in which "immediate"
decontamination of overt contamination and spills may not be practical as
with, for example, an operating table during
4 The third instance of mandated work surface
decontamination is to be performed at the end of the work shift if the
work surface may have become contaminated since the last cleaning by, for
example, setting down contaminated instruments or specimens. This
requirement is based upon the existence of a contaminated work surface rather
than a particular worksite location. It does not, for example, encompass
desks, countertops, and so forth that remain
(b) The use of protective coverings described in
section (d)(4)(ii)(B) is an acceptable alternative for protecting
items and surfaces against contamination and is particularly useful in
situations in which a piece of equipment would be difficult to decontaminate
but could be protected by a cover.
1 If this option is chosen, the covering must be
removed and replaced at the stated minimum intervals; e.g., as soon as
feasible following overt contamination or at the end of a workshift if they
may have become contaminated during the shift.
M.4.d.(2)(b) 2 More stringent decontamination
rules, such as cleaning equipment
or changing coverings between
patients, may be prudent infection
control policy but do not fall
under OSHA's jurisdictional mandate
to safeguard employee (not patient)
(c) Section d(4)(ii)(C) requires both the
inspection and decontamination on a regularly scheduled basis of cans, bins,
pails, and so forth which are intended for reuse.
1 Since these containers may be used in a manner
which presents the potential for their becoming contaminated with blood or
OPIM, they must be cleaned immediately or as soon as feasible upon visible
contamination. For example, a reusable metal trash can may be lined with a
disposable plastic regulated waste bag which leaks and contaminates the can.
In addition, regular decontamination will prevent the can from leaking,
spilling, or contaminating the outside of successive
2 Disinfection of these containers is not necessary
to ensure their safety for their intended use; it may be possible to achieve
their proper decontamination by means of a soap and water
(d) Since contaminated broken glass is capable of
inflicting percutaneous injury and direct inoculation of bloodborne pathogens
into the bloodstream, section (d)(4)(ii)(D) stipulates that broken
glassware which may be contaminated shall not be picked up directly with the
hands. The tools which are used in cleanup must be properly decontaminated
or discarded after use and the broken glass placed in a sharps container and
employees must be given specific information and training with respect to
this task in accordance with the requirements of section (g)(2).
Vacuum cleaners are not appropriate for cleanup of contaminated broken
M.4.d.(2)(e) Section (d)(4)(ii)(E) prohibits employers
from allowing employees to place their hands into containers whose contents
include reusable sharps contaminated with blood or OPIM. (See M.4.d.(3)(g)
of this instruction on section (d)(4)(iii)(A)(4).)
NOTE: The final standard recognizes that proper
decontamination of reusable equipment, such as glassware or hand instruments,
cannot be achieved in the presence of organic debris (e.g., blood) as it
interferes with the efficacy of the disinfecting/sterilizing process and the
number of products which can successfully penetrate a heavy bioburden is
(f) Violations of sections (d)(4)(ii) and
(d)(4)(ii)(A)-(E) may result from a failure to adequately train
employees in proper housekeeping procedures. If the compliance officer
determines this is the case, violations should be grouped with the
appropriate section(s) of (g)(2).
(3) Regulated Waste - (d)(4)(iii). This section
requires regulated waste to be properly contained and disposed of, so as not
to become a means of transmission of disease to workers.
M.4.d.(3)(a) To eliminate the implication that OSHA has
determined the "infectivity" of certain medical wastes, the bloodborne
pathogens standard uses the term "regulated waste" to refer to the following
categories of waste which require special handling, at a
1 Liquid or semi-liquid blood or
2 Items contaminated with blood or OPIM and
which would release these substances in a liquid or semi-liquid state if
3 Items that are caked with dried blood or
OPIM and are capable of releasing these materials during
4 Contaminated sharps.
5 Pathological and microbiological wastes
containing blood or OPIM.
INSPECTION AND CITATION GUIDELINES. The
compliance officer shall not use the actual volume of blood as the
determining factor as to whether or not a particular material is to be
considered regulated waste since 10 ml of blood on a disposable bed sheet
would appear as a spot (not regulated waste) while the same amount of blood
on a cotton ball would likely cause saturation and dripping (regulated
waste). Similarly, an item may adequately contain these materials when in a
static state yet liberate them when compacted in the waste
- Rather, the potential for dripping of liquid blood
or OPIM, or flaking off of dried blood or OPIM should be
- Under no circumstances should a bag of waste be
squeezed or shaken to determine this. The compliance officer shall exercise
professional judgment to make a determination based on visual factors such as
a pool of liquid in the bottom of the container or dried blood flaking or
falling off during handling, or based on employee
NOTES: 1. The compliance officer should
keep in mind that while OSHA specifies certain
features of the regulated waste containers, including appropriate tagging,
the ultimate disposal method (landfilling, incinerating, and so forth) for
medical waste falls under the purview of the EPA and possibly State and local
2. The EPA's Standard for the Tracking and
Management of Medical Waste and a number of State regulations consider used
needles to be regulated medical waste regardless of the presence of
infectious agents. Failing information to the contrary, the compliance
officer should consider a used needle to be
M.4.d.(3)(b) Section (d)(4)(iii)(A)(1). The
construction of the sharps containers must meet at least four criteria, two
of which will be easily discernible. The compliance officer shall examine a
container, preferably empty, to check that it is closable and color-coded or
1 Sharps containers are made from a variety of
products, from cardboard to plastic. As long as they meet the definition of
a sharps container, the compliance officer should consider them to be
acceptable no matter what the composition.
M.4.d.(3)(b)2 At the time of publication of this
instruction, the American Biological Safety Association was in the process of
developing a standard for puncture-resistance of sharps disposal
a If questions arise, the compliance
officer shall consult the manufacturer's literature or contact the
manufacturer directly to determine if the container is leak-proof on the
sides and bottom, as well as puncture
b If the container is considered
puncture-resistant by the manufacturer, but there is evidence, through
observation or employee statements that sharps have been protruding through a
container, section (d)(4)(iii)(A)(1)(ii) shall be
3 The sharps container should not create
additional hazards. Some sharps containers have unwinders that are used to
separate needles from syringes.
a If this situation is encountered, the
compliance officer shall determine if the circumstances warrant needle
removal. If they do not, section (d)(2)(vii)(A) which prohibits
needle removal unless no alternative is feasible or it is required by a
specific medical procedure, shall be cited.
b If needle removal must be accomplished,
the employee shall be trained in the correct procedure as required by
M.4.d.(3)(b)4 The needle sheath is not to be
considered a "waste container" because it is viewed as a temporary measure.
Self-sheathing needle products must be disposed of in a sharps
a Some self-sheathing devices contain a
fast-curing colored liquid adhesive which is released inside the sheath after
completion of administration of a substance through the needle. This product
is intended to permanently adhere all components of the syringe needle and
needle sheath, rendering the syringe and needle assembly inoperable and
incapable of causing injury.
b These devices shall still be disposed of
in sharps containers since there is no guarantee of correct usage or proper
functioning of the device.
5 Duct tape may be used to secure a sharps
container lid but is not acceptable if it serves as the lid
(c) Section (d)(4)(iii)(A)(2)(i). The
compliance officer shall ensure that the sharps container is as close as
feasible to where sharps are used or can be reasonably anticipated to be
M.4.d.(3)(c)1 If an employee must travel to a remote
location to discard a sharp, it will increase the possibility of an
accidental needlestick and increase the chances that needles and sharps will
be improperly discarded and create potential hazards for other staff
a Areas such as correctional facilities,
psychiatric units, or pediatric units may have difficulty placing containers
in the immediate use area. If a mobile cart is used by health care workers in
these units, an alternative would be to lock a sharps container in the
b The determination of whether or not the
container is as close as feasible shall be made on a case-by-case basis.
After interviewing employees, if the compliance officer believes there is a
better location for the container, management shall be given the opportunity
to explain the present location of the container. The acceptability of the
new site shall also be discussed. The compliance officer shall then decide
if a violation of this section exists.
2 Laundries shall also have sharps containers
easily accessible due to the incidence of needles being mixed with laundry.
Facilities that handle shipments of waste which may contain contaminated
sharps, shall also have sharps containers available in the event a package
accidentally opens and releases sharps.
M.4.d.(3)(d) Section (d)(4)(iii)(A)(2)(iii). The
compliance officer shall ensure the employer's exposure control plan
specifies how and when the sharps containers will be replaced and that the
program is followed.
1 The employer's plan must include the method
by which sharps containers will be determined to need to be replaced, such as
sharps containers which have a transparent window or are at a height which
allows employees to see if the container needs to be
2 If the employer has a plan but it is not
followed, a citation for inadequate training on work practices,
(g)(2)(vii)(F), shall be grouped with this section if a training
(e) Section (d)(4)(iii)(A)(3)(i) and (ii). If
work practice violations of these sections exist (e.g., not closing the
container prior to movement or not placing the container in a secondary
container if leakage is possible), they shall be grouped with
(g)(2)(vii)(F) if employees have not received adequate
(f) Section (d)(4)(iii)(A)(3)(ii)(B). It is
reasonable to presume that some sharps containers will contain residual
liquids. If the container cannot be sealed to prevent leakage, it must be
placed in a secondary container.
(g) Section (d)(4)(iii)(A)(4). A reusable
sharps container system will be acceptable if it does not expose employees to
the risk of percutaneous injury system involving the manual opening,
emptying, or cleaning of the containers will be allowed. The only acceptable
system is a fully automated container cleaning system that eliminates
employee exposure to sharps.
M.4.d.(3)(h) Section (d)(4)(iii)(B). While this section
requires that regulated waste containers be closable, simply being closed
does not ensure that wastes will be contained. Waste-containing bags may
break and spill their contents, including liquid blood, while, for example,
being loaded onto incinerator hoppers, thus contaminating both the employees
and the work area.
1 Also, small medical offices which generate
only a small volume of regulated waste may place that waste in a large
holding container until the container is filled. In such a case, the design
of the container must be such that it is able to retain the waste over an
extended period of time between pick-ups by a specialized waste
2 The compliance officer should, therefore,
check for visual signs of leakage of fluids during handling, storage,
transport, or shipping.
3 Any failures to comply with the container
construction requirements would be cited under this section. If the
compliance officer determines that the employee was not properly trained to
recognize the problem or use the containers correctly, a citation for the
appropriate section of (g)(2) should be grouped with violations of
M.4.d.(3)(i) Sections (d)(4)(iii)(B)(1)(iii) and
(2)(iii). Regulated waste containers are required to be labeled with the
biohazard symbol or color coded to warn employees who may have contact with
the containers of the potential hazard posed by their
1 Even if a facility considers all of its
waste to be regulated waste, the waste containers must still bear the
required label or color-coding in order to protect new employees, who would
not normally come into contact with wastes, and employees from outside the
facility. This requirement is in contrast to the labeling alternative
allowed when laundries use universal precautions for the handling of all
soiled laundry. (See M.4.d.(4)(a) of this instruction on section
2 Regulated waste that has been decontaminated
need not be labeled or color-coded. The compliance officer in such a case
shall verify that the employer's exposure control plan states the
decontamination procedures to be followed.
a In order to ensure that the
decontamination process is successful, the employer must monitor factors such
as the content, volume, density, configuration, and organic content of the
load of waste. (See M.7.a.(2) of this instruction on section
b The temperature needed for the complete
breakdown of plastics, as required by EPA, is sufficient to decontaminate
M.4.d.(3)(i)2 c Autoclave efficiency can be
verified by means of biological or chemical
indicators. While most disposal bags used will contain an indicative color
strip, if this is not the case a review may be made of the documentation kept
for the sterilizer. Such documentation should include (1) date, time, and
operator of each run, (2) type and approximate amount of waste tracked, (3)
post-treatment reading of temperature-sensitive tape, (4) dates and results
of calibration of the sterilizer, and (5) results of routine spore
d For a more detailed discussion of
chemical decontamination, see guidelines at M.4.d.(1) of this
3 Although these sections contain label
requirements, failure to label can also be cited under section
(j) Section (d)(4)(iii)(B)(2). A second
container is required to be used when outside contamination of the first
waste container occurs. This provision does not require routine
double-bagging but rather requires double-bagging in such circumstances as a
waste container being splashed with blood during surgery or autopsy, when a
container has been handled by an employee with bloody gloves, or when a waste
bag leaks blood or OPIM onto an adjacent bag.
M.4.d.(4) Laundry - (d)(4)(iv). This section reduces
employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens by reducing the amount of manual
handling of contaminated laundry. Restricting the sorting to the laundry
area will also reduce contamination of additional surfaces.
INSPECTION AND CITATION GUIDELINES. Sections
(d)(4)(iv)(A) and (A)(1) limit the handling of laundry to removal and
bagging or containerization. The compliance officer shall check the laundry
collection program as well as the training of the employees assigned to these
(a) Section (d)(4)(iv)(A)(2). The employer has
been given the choice, by this section, to either:
1 Label or color-code according to section
2 Utilize universal precautions in the
handling of all soiled (i.e., used) laundry.
a If universal precautions are used for
handling all soiled laundry, the employer may use an alternative color or
label for the bags/containers, as long as all employees are trained to
recognize them as containing soiled laundry which requires the use of
b Training violations would be cited under
the appropriate section of (g)(2)(vii).
3 Refer to M.4.d.(4)(d) on section
(d)(4)(iv)(C) for labeling when laundry is shipped
M.4.d.(4)(b) Section (d)(4)(iv)(A)(3). The material for
the bags or containers used in laundry collection must prevent soak-through
or leakage of fluids to the exterior, if the contaminated laundry is wet and
presents a reasonable likelihood of soak-through or leakage. Not all
contaminated laundry must be placed in such bags or containers, only laundry
wet enough to leak or soak through and expose workers handling the bags/
containers to blood or OPIM.
(c) Section (d)(4)(iv)(B). Employees having
direct contact with contaminated laundry must wear protective gloves and any
other appropriate personal protective equipment, in order to prevent or
reduce contact exposure to blood or OPIM. Any other personal protective
equipment required must be determined on a case-by-case basis. Gowns,
aprons, eyewear, and masks may be necessary to prevent employee
(d) Section (d)(4)(iv)(C). The generator of the
laundry must have determined if the facility to which it is shipped utilizes
universal precautions. If not, all bags or containers of contaminated
laundry must be labeled or color-coded in accordance with section
(g)(1)(i). In this instance, if the generator of the laundry chooses
to color-code rather than label, the color of the bag must be
INSPECTION AND CITATION GUIDELINES. The
compliance officer shall check the employer's program to determine if laundry
is shipped to another facility for cleaning and shall evaluate the methods
used to ship contaminated laundry (CL) to a facility that does not utilize
universal precautions in the handling of all soiled laundry. The following
are unacceptable shipment methods and constitute violations of this
M.4.d.(4)(d)1 The CL is not shipped labeled or in a
red bag. Section (d)(4)(iv)(C) would be cited and grouped with the
applicable subsection of (g)(1)(i).
2 The CL is shipped with an improper label.
Section (d)(4)(iv)(C) would be cited and grouped with the applicable
subsections of (g)(1)(i)(B),(C), and/or
3 The CL is shipped in a bag color-coded for
in-house use (in a color other than red). Section (d)(4)(iv)(C) would
be cited and grouped with section
5. HIV and HBV Research Laboratories and Production Facilities
- 29 CFR 1910.1030(e). This section includes additional requirements
that must be met by research laboratories and production facilities engaged
in the culture, production, concentration, and manipulation of HIV and
- "Research laboratory" means a laboratory which
produces or uses research laboratory scale amounts of HIV or HBV. Although
research laboratories may not have the volume found in production facilities,
they deal with solutions containing higher viral titers than those normally
found in patients' blood. Academic research laboratories are included in
this definition. Laboratories that conduct research unrelated to HIV or HBV
on blood and other body fluids, or who use unconcentrated blood or blood
components as the source of HIV or HBV, are not considered research
laboratories for the purpose of this section.
- "Production facilities" are those engaged in
industrial scale, large volume, or high concentration production of HIV or
NOTES: 1. Employers in such a facilities remain
responsible for complying with the entire standard.
Requirements stated elsewhere in the standard are not
2. These requirements are based largely on information
from published guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) (See D.9. of this instruction, "Biosafety
in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories.")
INSPECTION AND CITATION GUIDELINES. The compliance
officer shall review the covered facility's plan, interview a sufficient
number of employees, and observe work practices as necessary to determine if
the requirements of this section are met. Care shall be taken to ensure the
compliance officer understands the special practices and precautions in place
at the facility, so that the compliance officer is not placed at risk.
Specific requirements include:
a. Section (e)(2)(i). The term "regulated waste"
refers to the OSHA definition as found in section (b) of this standard. The
purpose of decontaminating regulated waste is to prevent the accidental
exposure of other employees to the concentrated virus.
b. Sections (e)(2)(ii)(A) through (M). Sections
(A), (C), and (D) limit access to the laboratory and warn of the
hazards associated with bloodborne pathogens. The compliance officer must
review the written policies and procedures to determine if they are adequate
to ensure that unauthorized individuals are not placed at risk nor that they
can distract or otherwise interfere with the work of the authorized
employees. Interviews with employees should be used to determine if the
policies are followed.
(1) Section (e)(2)(ii)(E). The "other physical
containment device" must be sufficient to ensure that virus-containing
material will be kept away from the worker's mucous membranes, unprotected
skin, and breathing zone.
(2) Sections (e)(2)(ii)(H) and (I). These sections
prevent the spread of contamination to other work areas. Section (I) allows
for an alternative to a HEPA filter as long as it is of equivalent or
superior efficiency. HEPA filters may be ineffective in humid
(a) The employer must also have made provisions for
routine maintenance and/or replacement of all filters and
(b) If the compliance officer suspects that the
engineering controls are failing to prevent the spread of the virus, the
manufacturer should be contacted to establish the limits and required
maintenance of the filters and traps.
(3) Section (e)(2)(ii)(J). The compliance officer
shall determine if the use of needles and syringes is kept to a minimum and
that they are properly handled as required, paying particular attention to
establishing if the puncture-resistant containers are properly autoclaved or
decontaminated before being discarded, reused, or
(4) Section (e)(2)(ii)(M). This section ensures
that any necessary additional procedures are developed to protect employees
in situations unique to a research/production facility. The biosafety manual
required by this section shall be reviewed and updated annually or more often
if necessary. The facility will thus be required to review its procedures
and determine if they are adequate to protect workers.
c. Section (e)(2)(iii). Specific containment equipment
is required by this section to minimize or eliminate exposure to the
(1) If the compliance officer determines that biological
safety cabinets (BSC) have been chosen as the means of containment, they must
be certified (Class I, Class II, or Class III) when installed or moved, and
at least annually.
(a) The compliance officer shall check that a dated tag
is affixed to the BSC indicating who performed the certification.
Alternatively, a certification report attesting to a minimum inward face
velocity of at least 75 linear feet per minute and the integrity of the HEPA
filters shall be reviewed by the compliance officer. The report must be
dated and signed by the trained technician performing the measurements and
(b) See Appendix C for details on biological safety
(2) In the alternative, appropriate combinations of PPE or
physical containment devices (examples listed in the standard) will be
d. Sections (e)(3)(i) and (e)(4)(iii). The handwashing
facility must be supplied with at least tepid water, soap, and hand towels.
The eyewash must supply a sufficient quantity of water to completely flush
the eyes. A 15-minute supply of continuous free-flowing water is acceptable.
The hands must be free to hold the eyelids open to aid in the complete
flushing of the eyes. Portable facilities are acceptable only if they meet
e. Section (e)(4) covers additional requirements for
production facilities only. The requirement in section (e)(4)(v)
minimizes the potential for accidental exposure to other employees from the
transport of culture fluids, plastic ware, and other contaminated
f. Training Requirements - (e)(5). The additional
training requirements are specified in section (g)(2)(ix). Any
violations found would be cited under that section of the standard. (See
M.7.b.(5) of this instruction for details.)
6. Hepatitis B Vaccination and Post Exposure Evaluation and
Followup - 29 CFR 1910.1030(f). This section provides a means to protect
employees from infection caused by the hepatitis B virus by requiring
employers to make the hepatitis B vaccination available to employees with
occupational exposure to blood or OPIM. It also ensures that employees
receive appropriate medical followup after each specific exposure incident.
Appendix D provides general algorithms for these requirements.
a. General - (f)(1). This section refers to the
hepatitis B vaccination as both the hepatitis B vaccine and vaccination
series. These are to be made available to all occupationally exposed
employees. In addition, a post-evaluation and followup procedures are to be
made available to all employees who experience an exposure incident. While
it is OSHA's intent to have the employer remove, as much as possible,
obstacles to the employee's acceptance of the vaccine, the term "made
available" emphasizes that it is the employee's option to participate in the
vaccination and followup programs.
INSPECTION GUIDELINES. The compliance officer shall
examine the employer's program to determine if the vaccination series and
post-exposure followup procedures meet the requirements of section
(1) Section (f)(1)(ii)(A). The term "no cost to the
employee" means no "out of pocket" expense to the
(a) The employer may not require the employee to use
his/her health care insurance to pay for the series unless the employer pays
all of the cost of the health insurance and unless there is no cost to the
employee in the form of deductibles, co-payments, or other expenses. Even
partial employee contribution to the insurance premium means the employee
could be affected by a rise in the total premium caused by insurance company
reaction to widespread hepatitis B vaccinations and is therefore
(b) The employer may not institute a program in which
the employee pays the original cost of the vaccine and is reimbursed by the
employer if she/he remains employed for a specified period of
(c) An "amortization contract" which requires employees
to reimburse the employer for the cost of the vaccination should they leave
his/her employ prior to a specified period of time is similarly
(2) Section (f)(1)(ii)(B). The term "reasonable
time and place" requires the medical procedures and evaluations to be
convenient to the employee. They shall be offered during normally scheduled
work hours. If participation requires travel away from the worksite, the
employer must bear the cost.
(3) Section (f)(1)(ii)(C). The compliance officer
may have to contact the Regional bloodborne pathogens coordinator to
determine if the State board of nursing licensing allows licensed health care
professionals other than physicians to carry out the procedures and
evaluations required by section (f).
(4) Section (f)(1)(ii)(D). This section takes into
consideration the changing nature of medical treatment relating to bloodborne
pathogens. The CDC is the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) agency
responsible for issuing guidelines and making recommendations regarding
infectious agents. OSHA will accept the CDC guidelines current at the time
of the evaluation or procedure. Copies of the current guidelines can be
obtained by contacting the Regional bloodborne pathogens coordinator or CDC.
(See Appendices A and B.)
NOTE: This section requires that the current USPHS/CDC
guidelines be followed for all vaccinations, evaluations, and followup
procedures. Any additional requirements (such as obtaining a written health
care professional's opinion) specified in section (f) must also be
(5) Section (f)(1)(iii) requires that all laboratory
tests be conducted by an accredited laboratory. The compliance officer must
determine by means of employer documentation (e.g., certificate) that the
laboratory is accredited by a national accrediting body (such as CDC or
College of American Pathologists) or equivalent State agency which
participates in a recognized quality assurance program.
b. Hepatitis B Vaccination - (f)(2). The compliance
officer shall determine whether or not all occupationally exposed employees
have the hepatitis B vaccination series made available to them after training
required by section (g)(2)(vii)(I) and within 10 working days of their
initial assignment. The term "made available" includes the health care
professional's evaluation and arranging for the administration of the first
dose of the hepatitis B vaccination series to begin within the 10 days. This
includes all employees with reasonably anticipated occupational exposure,
regardless of how often the exposure may occur. Part-time and temporary
employees are included in this coverage. The vaccine does not have to be
made available if the employer documents (1) the exemption(s) set forth in
section (f)(2), or (2) the signature of the employee on the mandatory
declination form. (See Appendix A of 29 CFR
(1) Section (f)(2)(i) states the circumstances under
which an employer is exempted from making the vaccination available. If, (a)
the complete hepatitis B vaccination series was previously received, or (b)
antibody testing shows the employee to be immune, or (c) the vaccine cannot
be given for medical reasons, the series does not have to be made available.
If the employer claims one of these exemptions, it must be documented in the
employee's medical record.
(a) The hepatitis B vaccination must be given in the
standard dose and through the standard route of administration as recommended
in the USPHS/CDC guidelines. At the time of publication of this standard,
intradermal inoculation of 0.1 of the normal dose of the hepatitis B vaccine
is not recommended by the USPHS and therefore is not an acceptable
(b) Current USPHS guidelines do not recommend routine
post-vaccination testing. Therefore, employers are not currently required to
routinely test immune status after vaccination has been
(2) Section (f)(2)(ii). Prevaccination screening
for antibody status cannot be required of an employee, although if an
employer wishes, he/she can make it available at no cost to employees. An
employee may decline the prescreening, and the employer must still make the
vaccination series available to the employee.
(3) Section (f)(2)(iii). The signing of the
hepatitis B vaccine declination form by the employee, at the time the
vaccination is made available, does not relieve the employer from the
requirement to provide the vaccine at a later date if the employee so
(4) Section (f)(2)(iv). Although the declination
form set forth in 29 CFR 1910.1030, Appendix A, does not have to be
reproduced, the declination statement used by the employer must contain the
same language as that found in Appendix A--no words may be added or
(5) Section (f)(2)(v). At the time of this
publication, the possible need for booster doses of the hepatitis B vaccine
is still being assessed. There is no current requirement to provide boosters
unless the USPHS recommends it at a later date.
c. Post-Exposure Evaluation and Followup - (f)(3). This
section requires the employer to make immediately available a confidential
medical evaluation and followup to an employee reporting an exposure
NOTE: Employees who do not fall within the scope of this
standard may still experience a specific exposure incident at work that is
unrelated to the performance of their job duties. In such a case, OSHA
strongly encourages their employer to offer them the followup procedures set
forth in this section.
INSPECTION GUIDELINES. The compliance officer must
determine if the employer's plan provides for immediate and confidential
procedures. At sites where an exposure incident has occurred it should be
determined if the procedures were properly followed through interviews,
incident report reviews, and, if necessary, medical records
- The word "immediately" is used in the standard to
emphasize the importance of prompt medical evaluation and prophylaxis. An
exact time was not given in the standard since medical knowledge concerning
the effectiveness of post-exposure prophylactic measures is constantly
changing. OSHA requires the evaluation and followup procedures to be given
as soon as possible after exposure.
- If the compliance officer believes that an employer is
not properly following accepted post-exposure procedures, or needs specific
information about current accepted procedures, the Regional bloodborne
pathogens coordinator should be contacted. A health care professional in the
National Office will then be consulted.
- The employer must also have established a system that
maintains the required medical records in a way that protects the
confidentiality of the employee's identity and test results. If the employer
has contracted with a clinic or other health care facility to provide the
followup programs, the confidentiality requirements must be part of the
(1) Section (f)(3)(i). Documentation of the
circumstances surrounding an exposure incident will help the employer and the
compliance officer determine, for example, if PPE is being used or if
training is lacking.
(2) Section (f)(3)(ii). This section requires the
employer to identify the source individual in an exposure incident, unless
this is infeasible. The employer must document in writing the identity of,
or infeasibility of identifying, the source individual. Examples of when it
may not be feasible to identify the source individual include incidents of
needlesticks by unmarked syringes left in laundry or those involving blood
samples which are not properly labeled, as well as prohibition by State or
(a) Section (f)(3)(ii)(A). This section
requires testing of the source individual's blood after consent is obtained.
The employer must ask for consent from the source individual or anyone
legally authorized to give consent on his/her behalf. If consent is not
obtained, the employer must document this in writing. The compliance officer
shall ensure that the employer's plan includes this
1 For those jurisdictions that do not require
consent of the individual, available blood must be tested. The term "if
available" applies to blood samples that have already been drawn from the
2 OSHA does not require redrawing of blood
specifically for HBV and HIV testing without consent of the source
(b) Section (f)(3)(ii)(C). This section does
not authorize the employer to be informed of the results of source individual
or exposed employee testing. However, the results of the source individual's
testing must be made available to the exposed
1 The boundary between employer and health
care professional may be blurred in a medical setting in which, for example,
the physician is both the employer and the evaluating health care
professional. In such cases, the compliance officer shall ensure that
requirements for consent and confidentiality have been
2 "Applicable laws and regulations concerning
disclosure" refers to State and Federal laws that specifically cover medical
privacy and confidentiality.
(c) Section (f)(3)(iii). The compliance officer
must determine if the employer's program offers covered employees all of the
listed requirements, in the event of an exposure incident. Counseling and
evaluation of reported illnesses is not dependent on the employee's electing
to have baseline HBV and HIV serological testing.
1 Section (f)(3)(iii)(A). Although the
consent of the employee must also be obtained before collection of blood and
before hepatitis B serological testing, the 90-day holding requirement in
section (f)(3)(iii)(B) does not apply.
2 Section (f)(3)(iii)(B). This section allows
employees the opportunity for future testing without the need for an
a Employees involved in an exposure
incident have at least 90 days following baseline blood collection to decide
if they wish to have their blood tested for
b Employers are required to preserve the
blood the employee consented to have drawn, if it was not tested for HIV
initially, for at least the 90-day period. Compliance officers shall check
that if the employer contracts for post-exposure followup, the contractor has
been informed of the 90-day requirement.
(d) Section (f)(3)(iv). See Appendices A and B
for CDC's current guidelines on management of occupational exposure to HIV
d. Information Provided to the Health Care Professional -
(f)(4). This section requires the employer to provide information to the
health care professional responsible for the employee's hepatitis B
vaccination and post-exposure incident followup.
INSPECTION GUIDELINES. The compliance officer must
determine if the employer's plan includes providing a copy of this standard
to the health care professional responsible for the employee's hepatitis B
(1) In the case of an exposure incident, the plan must
provide for the transmission of the information required by
(f)(4)(ii)(A-C) and (E) to the health care professional. The
information required by (f)(4)(ii)(D) must be provided only if
(2) The employer does not have a specific right to know the
actual results of the source individual's blood testing, but must ensure that
the information is provided to the evaluating health care
(3) If the evaluating health care professional is also the
employer, the information must still be in the employee's record and made
available at the time of a post-exposure incident. All applicable laws and
standards of confidentiality apply in this situation.
e. Health Care Professional's Written Opinion - (f)(5).
The employer is required to obtain and provide a written opinion to the
employee within 15 working days of completion of the original evaluation.
Employer access is allowed to the health care professional's written
(1) Section (f)(5)(i) limits the health care
professional's written opinion to very specific information regarding the
employee's hepatitis B vaccine status, including indication for vaccine and
whether such vaccination was completed.
(2) Section (f)(5)(ii) requires documentation that a
post-exposure evaluation was performed and that the exposed employee was
informed of the results as well as any medical conditions resulting from
exposure which require further evaluation and treatment.
7. Employee Information and Training - 1910.1030(g).
Section (g) ensures that employees receive sufficient warning through
labels, signs, and training to eliminate or minimize their exposure to
a. Labels - (g)(1). Labels must be provided on
containers of regulated waste, on refrigerators and freezers that are used to
store blood or OPIM, and on containers used to store, dispose of, transport,
or ship blood or OPIM. This requirement alerts employees to possible
exposure since the nature of the material or contents will not always be
readily identifiable as blood or OPIM. (See Appendix E.)
NOTE: This does not preempt either the U.S. Postal Service
labeling requirements (39 CFR Part III) or the Department of Transportation's
Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR Parts 171-180).
INSPECTION AND CITATION GUIDELINES. The compliance
officer shall determine that the warning labels in the facility are used as
required by sections (g)(1)(i)(A) through (D) and include the term
"BIOHAZARD". OSHA does not require nor prohibit the use of warning signs or
labels indicating source individuals' or specimens' known infectivity status
although, in accordance with universal precautions, the agency strongly
recommends against such warning signs.
(1) Sections (g)(1)(i)(E) through (G). These
sections list exemptions from the labeling requirements which are additional
to those exemptions listed for specimens in section (d)(2)(xiii)(A)
and for laundry in section (d)(4)(iv)(A)(2). (See M.4.b.(8)(a) and
M.4.d.(4)(a) of this instruction.)
(a) Blood and blood products bearing an identifying
label as specified by the Food and Drug Administration, which have been
screened for HBV and HIV antibodies and released for transfusion or other
clinical uses, are exempted from the labeling
(b) When blood is being drawn or laboratory procedures
are being performed on blood samples, then the individual containers housing
the blood or OPIM do not have to be labeled provided the larger container
into which they are placed for storage, transport, shipment, or disposal
(e.g., test tube rack) is labeled.
(2) Section (g)(1)(i)(I). Regulated waste that has
been decontaminated by incineration, autoclaving, or chemical means, prior to
disposal is not required to bear the BIOHAZARD warning
(a) Decontamination is discussed at
M.4.d.(3)(i)(2) of this instruction.
(b) Failure to ensure adequate decontamination
procedures prior to removal of the hazard label shall be cited under
(g)(1)(i)(A), since the material would still be regulated
b. Information and Training - (g)(2). All employees
with occupational exposure must receive initial and annual training on the
hazards associated with blood and OPIM, and the protective measures to be
taken to minimize the risk of occupational exposure. Retraining shall take
place when changes in procedures or tasks occur which affect occupational
exposure. While the provisions for employee training are performance
oriented, with flexibility allowed to tailor the program to, for example, the
employee's background and responsibilities, the categories of information
listed in section (g)(2)(vii) must be covered at a minimum. These
requirements include some site-specific information.
INSPECTION GUIDELINES. The compliance officer shall
verify that the training is provided at the time of initial employment or on
or before June 4, 1992, and at least annually thereafter as well as whenever
a change in an employee's responsibilities, procedures, or work situation is
such that an employee's occupational exposure is affected. "At the time of
initial assignment to tasks where occupational exposure may take place" means
that employees shall be trained prior to being placed in positions where
occupational exposure may occur.
- Employees who received training on bloodborne pathogens
within the year preceding March 6, 1992, shall receive information on the
sections of the standard which were not included in their training. The
annual retraining for these employees shall be provided within one year of
their original training.
- Part-time and temporary employees, and health care
employees known as "per diem" employees are covered and are also to be
trained on company time.
- The compliance officer shall interview a representative
number of employees from different work areas to determine that the training
(including written material, oral presentations, films, videos, computer
programs, or audiotapes) was presented in a manner that was appropriate to
the employee's education, literacy level, and language, and also that the
trainer was able to answer questions as needed. If an employee is only
proficient in a foreign language, the trainer or an interpreter must convey
the information in that foreign language.
(1) Sections (g)(2)(vii)(B) and (C). These
sections require that HIV and HBV and other bloodborne diseases be described.
The employer must convey the idea that a number of bloodborne diseases other
than HIV and HBV exist, such as hepatitis C or syphilis. At the same time,
the employer need not cover such uncommon diseases as Cruetzfeld-Jacob
disease unless, for example, it is appropriate for employees working in a
research facility with that particular virus.
(2) Section (g)(2)(vii)(J). The word "emergency" in
this section refers to blood exposure outside the normal scope of work. This
does not refer to hospital emergency rooms or emergency medical technicians'
(3) Section (g)(2)(vii)(N). This section requires
that there be an opportunity for interactive questions and answers with the
person conducting the training session.
(a) Training the employees solely by means of a film or
video without the opportunity for a discussion period would constitute a
violation of this section.
(b) Similarly, a generic computer program, even an
interactive one, is not considered appropriate unless the employer
supplements such training with the site-specific information required (e.g.,
the location of the exposure control plan and the procedures to be followed
if an exposure incident occurs) and a person is accessible for
(4) Section (g)(2)(viii). The person conducting the
training is required to be knowledgeable in the subject matter covered by the
elements contained in the training program as it relates to the workplace
that the training will address. In addition to demonstrating expertise in
the area of the occupational hazard of bloodborne pathogens, the trainer must
be familiar with the manner in which the elements in the training program
relate to the particular workplace.
(a) The compliance officer shall verify the competency
of the trainer based on the completion of specialized courses, degree
programs, or work experience, if he/she determines that deficiencies in
(b) Possible trainers include a variety of health care
professionals such as infection control practitioners, nurse practitioners,
registered nurses, physician's assistants, or emergency medical
(c) Non-health care professionals, such as industrial
hygienists, epidemiologists, or professional trainers, may conduct the
training provided they can demonstrate evidence of specialized training in
the area of bloodborne pathogens.
(d) In some workplaces, such as dental or physicians'
offices, the individual employer may conduct the training provided he or she
is familiar with bloodborne pathogen exposure control and the subject matter
required by sections (g)(2)-(viii)(A) through
(5) Section (g)(2)(ix)(A)-(C). "Standard
microbiological practices" in these sections refer to procedures outlined in
"Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories." (See D.9. of this
(a) The requirement that "proficiency" be demonstrated
means that employees who are experienced laboratorians may not need to be
retrained in accordance with these sections.
(b) Education such as a graduate degree in the study of
HIV or HBV, or another closely related subject area with a period of related
laboratory research experience, would also constitute
(c) The employer is responsible for evaluating the
employee's proficiency and for documenting the mechanism used to determine
8. Recordkeeping - 1910.1030(h). Records are required to
be kept for each employee covered by this standard for training, as well as
for medical evaluations, treatment, and surveillance.
a. Medical records required by section (h)(1) will be
of particular importance to the health care professional in determining
vaccination status and courses of treatment to follow in the event of and
exposure incident. Although the employer is required to establish and
maintain medical records, he/she may contract for the services of a health
care professional located off-site and that person or company may retain the
NOTE: While section (h)(1)(iii) requires that medical
records are to be kept confidential, section (h)(1)(iii)(B) stipulates
that disclosure is permitted when required by this standard or other Federal,
State, or local regulations.
INSPECTION GUIDELINES. All medical records required to
be kept by this standard are also required to be made available to OSHA. The
compliance officer must protect the confidentiality of these records. If
they are copied for the case file, the provisions of 29 CFR 1913.10 must be
- The compliance officer shall review the employer's
recordkeeping program to ensure that the required information is collected,
and provision has been made to ensure the confidentiality of the medical
records in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.20.
b. Section (h)(2) requires accurate recordkeeping of
training sessions, including titles of the employees who attend. The records
are necessary to assist the employer and OSHA in determining whether the
training program adequately addresses the risks involved in each job.
Additionally, this information is helpful in tracking the relationship
between exposure incidents (e.g., needlesticks) and various jobs and the
corresponding level of training.
(1) Training records may be stored on-site and therefore
the actual documents will be easily accessible for review. In order to
ensure that the employee training is complete, all the components of the
program required by section (g)(2)(vii) must be
(2) Training records are not considered to be confidential
and may be maintained in any file. They must be retained for 3 years from
the training date.
9. Dates - 1910.1030(i). The effective dates of the
requirements of the standard appear in Appendix F of this
NOTE: OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.44B shall remain in effect until
the effective dates of the requirements of 29 CFR
N. Interface with Other Standards.
1. The hazard communication standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200, applies
only to the hazards of chemicals in the workplace and does not apply to
biological hazards such as bloodborne diseases.
2. Records concerning employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens
and records about HIV and/or HBV status are considered employee medical
records within the meaning of 29 CFR 1910.20. Under 29 CFR 1913.10, the
compliance officer may review these records for purposes of determining
compliance with 29 CFR 1910.20.
3. Generally, the respiratory protection standard, 29 CFR 1910.134
does not apply since there are no respirators approved for biohazards.
However, placing respirators in areas where they could be contaminated by
body fluids constitutes a violation of 29 CFR 1910.134 (b)(6).
4. The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response
(HAZWOPER) standard, 29 CFR 1910.120, covers three groups of
employees--workers at uncontrolled hazardous waste remediation sites; workers
at Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permitted hazardous waste
treatment, storage and disposal facilities; and those workers expected to
respond to emergencies caused by the uncontrolled release of a hazardous
a. The definition of hazardous substance includes any
biological agent or infectious material which may cause disease or death.
There are potential scenarios where the bloodborne and HAZWOPER standards may
interface such as:
(1) Workers involved in cleanup operations at hazardous
waste sites involving infectious waste;
(2) Workers responding to an emergency caused by the
uncontrolled release of infectious material; e.g., a transportation accident;
(3) Workers at RCRA permitted incinerators that burn
b. Employers of employees engaged in these types of activities
must comply with the requirements in 29 CFR 1910.120 as well as the
bloodborne pathogens standard. If there is a conflict or overlap, the
provision that is more protective of employee safety and health
O. Recording in the IMIS. Current instructions for completing the
appropriate inspection classification boxes on the OSHA-1, Inspection Report,
as found in the IMIS Manual, shall be applied when recording bloodborne
1. For any inspection which includes an evaluation of the hazards
of bloodborne pathogens, Item 42 of the OSHA-1 shall be recorded as
N 02 Blood
2. If local emphasis programs are approved at a later date, Item
25C of the OSHA-1 shall be completed with the appropriate value.
P. Referrals. When a complaint or inquiry regarding occupational
exposure to bloodborne disease in a State or local government facility is
received in a State without an OSHA approved State plan, the Regional
Administrator should refer it to the appropriate State public health agency
or local health agency with jurisdiction over the facility.
Dorothy L. Strunk Acting Assistant Secretary
DISTRIBUTION: National, Regional and Area Offices Compliance Officers State
Designees NIOSH Regional Program Directors 7(c)(1) Project Managers
Centers for Disease Control Atlanta, Georgia
Public Health Service Statement on Management of Occupational Exposure to
Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Including Considerations Regarding Zidovudine
Postexposure Use [Reprinted from Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
39(Suppl. RR-1): 1-14, Jan. 26, 1990]
CDC has issued guidelines to reduce the risk of human immunodeficiency virus
(HIV) infection among health-care workers, emergency-response and
public-safety workers, and others who might be exposed to HIV while
performing job duties (1-4). The safety practices outlined in these
guidelines remain the primary means of preventing occupational acquisition of
HIV infection (5). Additionally, some physicians and some institutions have
offered the option of using zidovudine (azidothymidine, AZT, ZDV, Retrovir)
after occupational exposure to HIV (6). Data collected in an ongoing CDC
surveillance project of health-care workers who have been occupationally
exposed to blood from HIV-infected patients (7) indicate that during the
period April-December 1989, 13 (8.6%) of 151 newly enrolled participants
began a postexposure regimen of zidovudine.
This report reviews Public Health Service (PHS) recommendations for
postexposure management of workers who have occupational exposures that may
place them at risk of acquiring HIV infection, provides background
information on zidovudine and experience with zidovudine postexposure
prophylaxis, and presents considerations relevant to a decision to offer
Definition of Occupational Exposure
For purposes of this document, an occupational exposure (i.e., exposure
that occurs during the performance of job duties) that may place a worker at
risk of HIV infection is defined as a percutaneous injury (e.g., a
needlestick or cut with a sharp object), contact of mucous membranes, or
contact of skin (especially when the exposed skin is chapped, abraded, or
afflicted with dermatitis or the contact is prolonged or involving an
extensive area) with blood, tissues, or other body fluids to which universal
precautions apply, including: a) semen, vaginal secretions, or other body
fluids contaminated with visible blood, because these substances have been
implicated in the transmission of HIV infection (2); b) cerebrospinal fluid,
synovial fluid, pleural fluid, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, and
amniotic fluid, because the risk of transmission of HIV from these fluids has
not yet been determined (2); and c) laboratory specimens that contain HIV
(e.g., suspensions of concentrated virus).
PHS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT OF PERSONS AFTER OCCUPATIONAL
EXPOSURES THAT MAY PLACE THEM AT RISK OF ACQUIRING HIV INFECTION
Employers should make available to workers a system for promptly initiating
evaluation, counseling, and follow-up after a reported occupational exposure
that may place the worker at risk of acquiring HIV infection. Workers should
be educated to report exposures immediately after they occur, because certain
interventions that may be appropriate, e.g., prophylaxis against hepatitis B,
must be initiated promptly to be effective (3,8,9). Workers who might
reasonably be considered at risk of occupational exposure to HIV should be
familiarized with the principles of postexposure management as part of job
orientation and ongoing job training.
If an exposure occurs, the circumstances should be recorded in the worker's
confidential medical record. Relevant information includes the following:
* date and time of exposure * job duty being performed by
worker at time of exposure * details of exposure, including amount of
fluid or material, type of fluid or material, and severity of exposure (e.g.,
for a percutaneous exposure, depth of injury and whether fluid was injected;
for a skin or mucous-membrane exposure, the extent and duration of contact
and the condition of the skin, e.g., chapped, abraded, intact) *
description of source of exposure--including, if known, whether the source
material contained HIV or HBV * details about counseling, postexposure
management, and follow-up After an occupational exposure, both the exposed
worker and the source individual should be evaluated to determine the
possible need for the exposed worker to receive prophylaxis against hepatitis
B according to previously published CDC recommendations (3,8,9). Because of
the potentially severe consequences of hepatitis B virus infection, hepatitis
B vaccine, which is both safe and highly effective (10), should be offered to
any susceptible health-care worker who has an occupational exposure and has
not previously been vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis B immune
globulin may also be indicated, particularly if the source patient or
material is found to be positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)
In addition, the source individual should be informed of the incident and,
if consent is obtained, tested for serologic evidence of HIV infection. If
consent cannot be obtained (e.g., patient is unconscious), policies should be
developed for testing source individuals in compliance with applicable state
and local laws. Confidentiality of the source individual should be
maintained at all times.
If the source individual has AIDS, is known to be HIV-seropositive, or
refuses testing, the worker should be evaluated clinically and serologically
for evidence of HIV infection as soon as possible after the exposure
(baseline) and if seronegative, should be retested periodically for a minimum
of 6 months after exposure (e.g., 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and 6 months after
exposure) to determine whether HIV infection has occurred. The worker should
be advised to report and seek medical evaluation for any acute illness that
occurs during the follow-up period. Such illness, particularly if
characterized by fever, rash, myalgia, fatigue, malaise, or lymphadenopathy,
may be indicative of acute HIV infection, drug reaction, or another medical
condition. During the follow-up period, especially the first 6-12 weeks
after the exposure when most infected persons are expected to seroconvert,
exposed workers should follow PHS recommendations for preventing transmission
of HIV. These recommendations include refraining from blood, semen, or organ
donation and abstaining from or using measures to prevent HIV transmission
during sexual intercourse (11-14). In addition, in countries such as the
United States where safe and effective alternatives to breast-feeding are
available, exposed women should not breast-feed infants during the follow-up
period in order to prevent the infant's possible exposure to HIV in breast
milk. During all phases of follow-up, confidentiality of the worker should
If the source individual is HIV-seronegative and has no clinical
manifestations of AIDS or HIV infection, no further HIV follow-up of the
exposed worker is necessary unless epidemiologic evidence suggests that the
source individual may have recently been exposed to HIV or if testing is
desired by the worker or recommended by the health-care provider. In these
instances, the guidelines may be followed as described above.
If the source individual cannot be identified, decisions regarding
appropriate follow-up should be individualized, based on factors such as
whether potential sources are likely to include a person at increased risk of
The employer should make serologic testing available to all workers who are
concerned about possible infection with HIV through an occupational exposure.
Appropriate psychological counseling may be indicated as well.
Zidovudine is a thymidine analogue that has been shown in vitro to inhibit
replication of some retroviruses, including HIV, by interfering with the
action of viral ribonucleic acid (RNA)-dependent deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
polymerase (reverse transcriptase) and possibly also by other mechanisms
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, zidovudine was shown to
increase the length and quality of life of patients with advanced HIV
infection and AIDS (16). Largely on the basis of the results of this trial,
zidovudine was approved for marketing by the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) and is indicated for treatment of adults with symptomatic HIV
infection, including AIDS, who have a history of cytologically confirmed
Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia or an absolute CD4 lymphocyte count of less
than 200/mm(3). The dose of zidovudine originally approved for oral use by
patients who have AIDS and advanced symptomatic HIV infection was 200 mg
every 4 hours. On January 16, 1990, FDA approved a change in the labeling
that now recommends administering the drug at 600 mg/day (100 mg every 4
hours) after a patient has received 1 month of zidovudine therapy at a dose
of 1,200 mg/day (200 mg every 4 hours).
Later studies (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
AIDS Clinical Trial Group Protocols #016 and #019) have indicated that
zidovudine can delay disease progression in patients with less advanced HIV
infection (patients with an absolute CD4 count of less than 500/mm3, whether
symptomatic or asymptomatic) (NIAID Administrative Report: "AIDS Clinical
Trials Alert," August 29, 1989).
Among patients who have AIDS or symptomatic HIV infection and who are
treated with zidovudine, the most frequently reported adverse events are
granulocytopenia and anemia. Other adverse events that affect greater than
or equal to 5% of zidovudine recipients include one or more of the following:
headache, nausea, insomnia, myalgia, diaphoresis, fever, malaise,
anorexia, diarrhea, dyspepsia, vomiting, dyspnea, rash, and taste
abnormalities (17). Occurrences less commonly reported in the published
literature include polymyositis, peripheral neuropathy, and seizures.
Among 3,200 patients with asymptomatic HIV infection treated in NIAID
protocol #019 with placebo or with zidovudine doses of either 1,500 mg or 500
mg daily (either 300 mg or 100 mg given every 4 hours, five times daily),
investigators have reported the following toxicity after a median of 44 weeks
of therapy: in the 1,500-mg/day group, approximately 12% of the subjects
developed moderate to severe hematologic toxicity, defined as hemoglobin of
less than 8 g/1, granulocytes of less than 750/mm3, or platelets of less than
50,000/mm3. In the 500-mg/day group, this toxicity occurred at a rate of
about 3%, compared with approximately 2% in the placebo group. Nausea was
rarely reported in the placebo group; however, 3%-5% of zidovudine
recipients, irrespective of dose group, experienced moderate to severe
nausea. No statistically significant difference was observed between
zidovudine dose and placebo for any other moderate to severe clinical adverse
experiences (NIAID Administrative Report: "AIDS Clinical Trials Alert,"
August 29, 1989).
Preliminary data from a study sponsored by the Burroughs-Wellcome Company of
health-care workers who received 200 mg of zidovudine or placebo every 4
hours for 6 weeks after occupational exposure to HIV indicate that adverse
effects most frequently consisted of nausea and vomiting. In no instance did
the prescribing physician discontinue a participant's study drug or placebo
because of hematologic or other serious toxicity; however, during the therapy
period, 14 (28.6%) of 49 participants who received zidovudine had a
hemoglobin concentration between 9.5 and 12 g/1, compared with one (2.9%) of
35 participants in the placebo group. Seven (14.3%) of the 49 participants
who received zidovudine, compared with one (2.9%) of the 35 placebo
recipients, elected to discontinue therapy because of subjective, reversible
symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, myalgia, or cough.
Several anecdotal reports of short-term toxicity among health-care workers
receiving zidovudine have been received by PHS. Symptoms include fever,
myalgia, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Single reports have been received of
severe anemia, reversible peripheral neuropathy, and transient clinical
Although the risk of acute zidovudine toxicity for exposed health-care
workers cannot be determined from this limited information, data from the
NIAID protocol #019 trial and from the Burroughs-Wellcome study of exposed
health-care workers suggest that the risk of acute toxicity associated with
short-term use of the drug is lower than the risk observed during long-term
therapy of symptomatic HIV-infected individuals.
For healthy persons not infected with HIV, the risk of long-term toxicity,
including teratogenic and carcinogenic effects, related to a course of
zidovudine is not known. It is not known whether zidovudine can cause fetal
harm when administered to a pregnant woman or whether it can affect
reproductive capacity (17). To assess the safety of zidovudine use during
pregnancy, the Burroughs-Wellcome Company has developed a registry to
evaluate pregnancy outcomes of women who took zidovudine during pregnancy.
Physicians are encouraged to register such persons by telephoning the
pregnancy registry, (919) 248-8465 (collect) or 1-800-722-9292. It is also
not known whether zidovudine is excreted in human milk. However, because of
the potential for adverse side effects among breast-fed infants, as well as
the potential for transmission of HIV if the mother is infected, mothers
should be instructed to discontinue breast-feeding whether or not they are
receiving zidovudine (17).
In other studies conducted by the Burroughs-Wellcome Company (Appendix I),
vaginal tumors, including carcinomas, were observed in mice and rats
receiving zidovudine at doses that the FDA has determined resulted in plasma
levels in mice approximately equal to human plasma levels at the dose
originally approved for treatment of persons with symptomatic HIV infection
(200 mg every 4 hours). In rats, the plasma levels were determined by the
FDA to be about 10 times higher than human plasma levels achieved with the
originally approved dose. The results of these rodent carcinogenicity
studies are of uncertain predictive value for humans.
Studies of Zidovudine Postexposure Prophylaxis Involving Animals
Data involving studies of laboratory animals (Appendix II) are limited and
must be interpreted with caution, as they have most often been derived by
using nonhuman retroviruses having pathogenic mechanisms different from the
pathogenesis of HIV infection in humans. In one study using HIV in a mouse
model, zidovudine prophylaxis was begun 24 hours before intrathymic injection
of a large inoculum of HIV and continued for 2 weeks thereafter. HIV
infection was not prevented in any of the animals studied, although the
course of infection was modified. It is not known whether prophylaxis would
be effective in conditions that more closely resemble occupational exposures,
i.e., zidovudine begun after exposure, with the exposure consisting of a
percutaneous injection of a lower inoculum of HIV. Data from animal
studies are inadequate to support or reject the hypothesis that zidovudine
may be effective prophylaxis for persons who have been occupationally exposed
Studies of Zidovudine Postexposure Prophylaxis Involving Humans
The efficacy of zidovudine prophylaxis for humans after exposure to HIV
cannot be assessed because of insufficient data. The Burroughs-Wellcome
Company recently sponsored a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to
evaluate 6 weeks of zidovudine prophylaxis (200 mg orally every 4 hours)
involving health-care workers who had experienced occupational percutaneous,
mucous-membrane, or nonintact-skin exposures to HIV-infected blood. Of 84
workers who initially enrolled in the study (49 of whom were given
zidovudine), none developed HIV infection after at least 6 months of
follow-up. The risk of transmission of HIV per episode of percutaneous
exposure to HIV-infected blood is, on the average, approximately 0.4% (7).
Thus, the absence of seroconversions in this small group of participants is
not unexpected, regardless of whether they took zidovudine. Enrollment in
this study was terminated in June 1989.
NIAID has enrolled three persons in an ongoing open trial of zidovudine
prophylaxis after a "massive exposure" to HIV. The first person received a
blood transfusion from an HIV-infected donor, was started on zidovudine 7
days after exposure, and was culture-positive for HIV 4 months after
completing 6 weeks of chemotherapy. The second person was exposed to a high
concentration of HIV on abraded skin in a research laboratory, was started on
zidovudine within 24 hours postexposure, and remains HIV-seronegative after
11 months. The risk of seroconversion after this type of laboratory exposure
is unknown. The third person was exposed to a high concentration of HIV on
broken skin in a research laboratory, was started on zidovudine within 24
hours after the exposure, and is HIV-seronegative 3 months after the
exposure. The risk of seroconversion after this type of laboratory exposure
also is unknown. All individuals were able to complete a 6-week course of
therapy (200 mg orally every 4 hours) without clinically significant adverse
effects. Information regarding enrollment in this study can be obtained by
calling the NIAID study coordinator at (800) 537-9978.
Prophylaxis Schedules Currently Used After Occupational Exposure
Various regimens have been prescribed for zidovudine prophylaxis after
occupational exposure. No data are available to enable investigators to
determine the efficacy or compare the toxicity of these or other regimens.
At the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, workers who elect to
receive zidovudine are treated with 200 mg every 4 hours (six times daily)
for 6 weeks (6). At San Francisco General Hospital, workers who elect to
receive zidovudine are treated with 200 mg every 4 hours (five times daily;
no dose is given at 4: 00 a.m.) for 4 weeks (6). Some clinicians have used
an initial dose of 400 mg, and others have prescribed treatment courses
ranging from 4 days to 4 months. At several institutions, attempts are made
to begin prophylaxis within 1 hour after exposure for workers who elect to
receive the drug.
Data from animal and human studies are inadequate to establish the
efficacy or safety of zidovudine for prophylaxis after occupational exposure
to HIV. However, some physicians believe that zidovudine should be
offered as prophylaxis to persons after certain occupational exposures for
the following reasons: the severity of the illness that may result from HIV
infection, the documented antiviral effect of zidovudine in the treatment of
persons with established HIV infection, the apparent reversibility of acute
toxicity in persons taking zidovudine for a brief period, and the suggestion
that in some animal studies, zidovudine postexposure may modify the course of
some retroviral infections. Other physicians believe that zidovudine should
not be recommended for uninfected persons after occupational exposures
because of the lack of data demonstrating efficacy in postexposure
prophylaxis, the limited data on toxicity in uninfected individuals, and the
fact that zidovudine has been shown to be carcinogenic in rats and mice.
At this time, prophylaxis with zidovudine cannot be considered a necessary
component of postexposure management. However, workers who might be at risk
of occupational exposure to HIV should be informed, as part of job
orientation and ongoing job training, of the considerations pertaining to the
use of zidovudine for postexposure prophylaxis. The PHS recommends that if a
physician decides to offer zidovudine to a worker after an exposure incident,
that decision by the physician and the decision by the worker to take
zidovudine should take into account the following considerations.
Considerations Regarding Use of Zidovudine After an Occupational
Risk of HIV infection after exposure
Evaluation of the risk of HIV infection after exposure should take into
account existing knowledge from prospective studies of exposed workers, which
demonstrate that on the average the risk of transmission of HIV per episode
of percutaneous exposure (e.g., a needlestick or cut with a sharp object) to
HIV-infected blood is approximately 0.4%. These studies also suggest that
the risk of HIV transmission per episode of mucous-membrane or skin exposure
to HIV-infected blood is less than that after a percutaneous exposure
(7,18-21). The risk of HIV transmission after occupational exposure to body
fluids other than blood, for which universal precautions are recommended, is
unknown. The risk of HIV infection for persons who take zidovudine
postexposure prophylaxis cannot be determined at present because of the small
number of persons studied.
Risk evaluation should also include an assessment of factors that may
increase or decrease the probability of HIV transmission after an individual
occupational exposure. These factors are not well understood, but include
the likelihood that the source fluid contained HIV and probably also the
concentration of HIV in the source fluid, the route of exposure, and the
volume of fluid involved. For example, a percutaneous exposure to
concentrated HIV in a research laboratory is probably more likely to result
in transmission of infection than a similar exposure to HIV-infected blood in
a clinical setting. A percutaneous exposure to HIV-infected blood is
probably more likely to result in transmission than a mucous-membrane
exposure to the same blood. Finally, an exposure to a larger quantity of
HIV-infected blood, such as injection of several milliliters, is probably
more likely to result in HIV transmission than an exposure to a smaller
quantity of the same blood, such as in a needlestick exposure.
Interval between exposure and initiation of prophylaxis, if given
Data from animal studies suggest that prophylaxis against certain retroviral
infections other than HIV may be more effective when started within hours
after exposure (22,23). Because in vitro studies indicate that human HIV
infection may be established in human lymphocytes within hours after exposure
(24), and epidemiologic studies of exposed health-care workers indicate that
acute retroviral illness may occur as early as 2 weeks after exposure (7), it
appears that if the decision is made to use postexposure prophylaxis,
prophylaxis should be initiated promptly.
Counseling and informed consent
If zidovudine prophylaxis is being considered, the worker should be
counseled regarding a) the theoretical rationale for postexposure
prophylaxis, b) the risk of occupationally acquired HIV infection due to the
exposure, c) the limitations of current knowledge of the efficacy of
zidovudine when used as postexposure prophylaxis, d) current knowledge of the
toxicity of zidovudine (including the data from animal and human studies) and
the limitations of this knowledge in predicting toxicity in uninfected
individuals who take the drug after occupational exposures, and e) the need
for postexposure follow-up (including HIV serologic testing), regardless of
whether zidovudine is taken. The worker should also be informed that
there are diverse opinions among physicians regarding the use of zidovudine
for postexposure prophylaxis, and the PHS cannot make a recommendation for or
against the use of zidovudine for this purpose because of the limitations of
The duration of follow-up needed to detect evidence of HIV transmission or
delayed toxicity among workers who take zidovudine is presently unknown.
Workers taking zidovudine postexposure may require follow-up to detect HIV
seroconversion for a longer period than that recommended for workers who do
not take zidovudine. Regardless of the length of follow-up, mechanisms
should be developed to permit workers taking zidovudine to be contacted if
future information indicates the need for additional evaluation.
If a physician offers zidovudine as prophylaxis after an occupational
exposure and the exposed worker elects to take the drug, the physician or
other appropriate health-care provider should obtain written informed consent
from the worker for this use of this drug. The consent document should
reflect the information presented in the counseling session, as outlined
above, emphasizing the need for follow-up medical evaluations and for
precautions to prevent the transmission of HIV infection during the follow-up
period, including refraining from blood, semen, or organ donation, refraining
from breast-feeding, and either abstaining from sexual intercourse or using
latex condoms during sexual intercourse, as discussed below.
Considerations regarding sexual intercourse for exposed workers taking
zidovudine include 1) the possible risk of teratogenesis associated with
zidovudine use, and 2) the risk of transmission of HIV to a sexual partner.
The risk of teratogenesis among offspring of either men or women taking
zidovudine is unknown. Therefore, men and women of reproductive age who are
receiving zidovudine should abstain from, or use effective contraception
during, sexual intercourse throughout the time zidovudine is being taken. In
addition, to prevent HIV transmission to sexual partners, all exposed
workers, including pregnant women, should abstain from, or use latex condoms
during, sexual intercourse throughout the follow-up period.
Further data are needed to determine risk factors for occupational exposure
to HIV, to evaluate measures for preventing these exposures, and to identify
risk factors for HIV transmission after occupational exposure. Appropriate
animal models of HIV infection are needed, and animal studies should be
conducted under experimental conditions that mimic the circumstances of
occupational exposure affecting humans. Studies involving humans should be
conducted to determine whether postexposure prophylaxis with zidovudine or
other agents is effective, and, if effective, should define the optimal time
that postexposure prophylaxis should be initiated and the optimal duration of
prophylaxis. Studies should also assess the toxicity of candidate
prophylactic agents, establish the optimal dosage for healthy individuals and
for persons with preexisting hepatic or renal dysfunction, and define the
duration of follow-up needed to detect evidence of HIV infection in persons
receiving prophylaxis. Strains of HIV isolated from treated workers should
be monitored to detect development of drug resistance.
Expanded Surveillance of Workers with Occupational Exposures to HIV
CDC has expanded its ongoing surveillance of workers with occupational
exposures to HIV (7) to collect additional information on postexposure
chemoprophylaxis. No names or other personal identifiers of workers are
Information is collected on the following:
* circumstances associated with exposures * extent to which
zidovudine and other antiretroviral agents are prescribed for postexposure
chemoprophylaxis, including dosage and timing * incidence of associated
toxicity * rate of HIV seroconversion among workers who do and do not
receive postexposure chemoprophylaxis
All physicians who provide care to a worker within 1 month after an
occupational exposure to HIV, regardless of whether an antiretroviral agent
is prescribed, are encouraged to enroll the worker in the CDC surveillance
system. Enrollment and follow-up requirements have been simplified; in
particular, it is no longer necessary to send blood specimens to CDC for HIV
serologic testing unless the enzyme immunoassay (EIA) performed by a licensed
local laboratory is reactive or equivocal. CDC will continue, however, to
offer EIA testing at no charge on specimens from surveillance participants on
request. Additional information and enrollment materials can be obtained
from the Hospital Infections Program, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers
for Disease Control, Mail Stop C-10, Atlanta, GA 30333; telephone (404)
CONTACTS FOR PHYSICIANS AND FOR INFECTION CONTROL AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
* To enroll persons who have had a "massive exposure" to HIV in NIAID
study of zidovudine prophylaxis, telephone (800) 537-9978.
* To report adverse effects associated with zidovudine to FDA, use
"Adverse Reaction Report" forms (FDA #1639), obtainable from:
Food and Drug Administration Office of Epidemiology and
Biostatistics HFD-730 Rockville, MD 20857 (301) 443-4580.
* To enroll an exposed worker in the CDC prospective surveillance system,
telephone (404) 639-1644.
* To enroll pregnant women who receive zidovudine during pregnancy,
Zidovudine in Pregnancy Registry Epidemiology, Information, and
Surveillance Division Burroughs-Wellcome Company 3030 Cornwallis Road
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 (919) 248-8465 (collect) or (800)
References 1. CDC. Recommendations for prevention of HIV transmission in
health-care settings. MMWR 1987;36(no. 2S).
2. CDC. Update: universal precautions for prevention of transmission of
human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, and other bloodborne
pathogens in health-care settings. MMWR 1988;37: 377-88.
3. CDC. Guidelines for prevention of transmission of human
immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B virus to health-care and public-safety
workers. MMWR 1989;38(no. S-6).
4. CDC. 1988 Agent summary statement for human immunodeficiency virus and
report on laboratory-acquired infection with human immunodeficiency virus.
MMWR 1988;37 (no. S-4).
5. US Department of Labor, US Department of Health and Human Services.
Joint advisory notice: protection against occupational exposure to hepatitis
B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Washington, DC: US
Department of Labor, US Department of Health and Human Services, 1987.
6. Henderson DK, Gerberding JL. Prophylactic zidovudine after
occupational exposure to the human immunodeficiency virus: an interim
analysis. J Infect Dis 1989;160: 321-7.
7. Marcus R, CDC Cooperative Needlestick Study Group. Surveillance of
health-care workers exposed to blood from patients infected with the human
immunodeficiency virus. N Engl J Med 1988;319: 1118-23.
8. CDC. Recommendations for protection against viral hepatitis:
recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP).
MMWR 1985;34: 313-35.
9. CDC. Protection against viral hepatitis: recommendations of the
Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP). MMWR 1990 (in press).
10. CDC. Update on hepatitis B prevention. MMWR 1987;36: 353-66. 11.
CDC. Public Health Service guidelines for counseling and antibody testing to
prevent HIV infection and AIDS. MMWR 1987;36: 509-15.
12. CDC. Additional recommendations to reduce sexual and drug
abuse-related transmission of human T-lymphotropic virus type
III/lymphadenopathy-associated virus. MMWR 1986;35: 152-5.
13. CDC. Prevention of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS): report
of inter-agency recommendations. MMWR 1983;32: 101-3.
14. CDC. Provisional Public Health Service inter-agency recommendations
for screening donated blood and plasma for antibody to the virus causing
acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. MMWR 1985;34: 1-5.
15. Yarchoan R, Mitsuya H, Myers C, Broder S. Clinical pharmacology of
3'-azido-2', 3'-dideoxythymidine (zidovudine) and related dideoxynucleosides.
N Engl J Med 1989;321: 726-38.
16. Fischl MA, Richman DD, Grieco MH, et al. The efficacy of
azidothymidine (AZT) in the treatment of patients with AIDS and AIDS-related
complex. N Engl J Med 1987;317: 185-91.
17. Huff BB, ed. 1989 Physicians' desk reference. 43rd ed. Oradell, New
Jersey: Edward R. Barnhart, 1989: 793-5.
18. Henderson DK, Fahey BJ, Saah AJ, Schmitt JM, Lane HC. Longitudinal
assessment of risk for occupational/nosocomial transmission of human
immunodeficiency virus, type 1 in health care workers (Abstract). In:
Program and abstracts of the twenty-eighth Interscience Conference on
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (Los Angeles). Washington, DC:
American Society for Microbiology, 1988: 221.
19. Gerberding JL, Littell CG, Chambers HF, et al. Risk of occupational
HIV transmission in intensively exposed health-care workers: follow-up
(Abstract). In: Program and abstracts of the twenty-eighth Interscience
Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (Los Angeles).
Washington, DC: American Society for Microbiology, 1988: 169.
20. Elmslie K, Mulligan L, O'Shaughnessy M. National surveillance program:
occupational exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection in
Canada. V International Conference on AIDS. Montreal, June 4-9, 1989: 148.
21. McEvoy M, Porter K, Mortimer P, Simmons N, Shanson D. Prospective study
of clinical, laboratory, and ancillary staff with accidental exposures to
blood or body fluids from patients infected with HIV. Br Med J 1987;294:
22. Ruprecht RM, O'Brien LG, Rossoni LD, Nusinoff-Lehrman S. Suppression of
mouse viraemia and retroviral disease by 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine. Nature
23. Tavares L, Roneker C, Johnston K, Nusinoff-Lehrman S, de Noronha F.
3'-Azido-3'-deoxythymidine in feline leukemia virus-infected cats: a model
for therapy and prophylaxis of AIDS. Cancer Res 1987;47: 3190-4.
24. Sunyoung K, Byrn R, Groopman J, Baltimore D. Kinetics of HIV gene
expression during the one-step multiplication of HIV (Abstract). IV
International Conference on AIDS. Book 1. Stockholm, June 12-16, 1988: 119.
Centers for Disease Control Atlanta, Georgia
Protection against Viral Hepatitis: Recommendations of the Immunization
Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP) [Reprinted from Morbidity and Mortality
Weekly Report 39(Suppl. S-2): 1-26, Feb. 9, 1990]
The following statement updates all previous recommendations on protection
against viral hepatitis, including use of hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis B
immune globulin for prophylaxis of hepatitis B (MMWR 1985;34: 313-24,329-35
and MMWR 1987;36: 353-66), universal screening of pregnant women to prevent
perinatal hepatitis B transmission (MMWR 1988;37: 341-46,51), and use of
immune globulin to prevent other types of viral hepatitis (MMWR 1985;34:
The term "viral hepatitis" is commonly used for several clinically similar
diseases that are etiologically and epidemiologically distinct (1). Two of
these, hepatitis A (formerly called infectious hepatitis) and hepatitis B
(formerly called serum hepatitis), have been recognized as separate entities
since the early 1940s and can be diagnosed with specific serologic tests. A
third category, currently known as non-A, non-B hepatitis, includes two
epidemiologically distinct types of hepatitis: parenterally transmitted and
enterically transmitted non-A, non-B hepatitis. Parenterally transmitted
non-A, non-B hepatitis is associated with both posttransfusion and sporadic
cases of acute hepatitis and may be caused by at least two different agents.
Part of the genome for one of these agents has recently been cloned, and a
candidate serologic assay for antibody to this virus (proposed as hepatitis C
virus) has been developed (2,3). Enterically transmitted non-A, non-B
hepatitis, which is spread by the fecal-oral route and is different from the
types seen in the United States, has been reported in parts of Asia, Africa,
and Mexico (4). Another distinct type of hepatitis, delta hepatitis, is an
infection dependent on the hepatitis B virus. It may occur as a coinfection
with acute hepatitis B infection or as superinfection of a hepatitis B
Approximately 28,500 cases of hepatitis A, 23,200 cases of hepatitis B,
2,620 cases of non-A, non-B hepatitis, and 2,470 cases of hepatitis type
unspecified were reported in 1988 in the United States. Most cases of each
type occur among young adults. Since reporting from many localities is
incomplete, the actual number of hepatitis cases occurring annually is
thought to be several times the reported number.
Immune globulins are important tools for preventing infection and disease
before or after exposure to hepatitis viruses. Immune globulins used in
medical practice are sterile solutions of antibodies (immunoglobulins) from
human plasma. They are prepared by cold ethanol fractionation of large
plasma pools and contain 10%-18% protein. In the United States, plasma is
primarily obtained from paid donors. Only plasma shown to be free of
hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibody to human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV) is used to prepare immune globulins.
Immune globulin (IG) (formerly called immune serum globulin, ISG, or gamma
globulin) produced in the United States contains antibodies against the
hepatitis A virus (anti-HAV) and the Hbsag (anti-HBs). Hepatitis B immune
globulin (HBIG) is an IG prepared from plasma containing high titers of
There is no evidence that hepatitis B virus (HBV), HIV (the causative agent
of acquired immunodeficiency syndromes [AIDS]), or other viruses have ever
been transmitted by IG or HBIG commercially available in the United States
(6). Since late April 1985, all plasma units for preparation of IGs have
been screened for antibody to HIV, and reactive units are discarded. No
instances of HIV infection or clinical illness have occurred that can be
attributed to receiving IG or HBIG, including lots prepared before April
1985. Laboratory studies have shown that the margin of safety based on the
removal of HIV infectivity by the fractionation process is extremely high
(7). Some HBIG lots prepared before April 1985 have detectable HIV antibody.
Shortly after being given HBIG, recipients have occasionally been noted to
have low levels of passively acquired HIV antibody, but this reactivity does
not persist (8).
Serious adverse effects from IGs administered as recommended have been rare.
IGs prepared for intramuscular administration should be used for hepatitis
prophylaxis. IGs prepared for intravenous administration to immunodeficient
and other selected patients are not intended for hepatitis prophylaxis. IG
and HBIG are not contraindicated for pregnant or lactating women.
Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV), a 27-nm ribonucleic
acid (RNA) agent that is classified as a picornavirus. Patients with illness
caused by HAV characteristically have abrupt onsets of symptoms including
fever, malaise, anorexia, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, and
jaundice. Severity is related to age. Among children, most infections are
asymptomatic, and illness is usually not accompanied by jaundice. Most
infected adults become symptomatically ill with jaundice. The case-fatality
rate among reported cases is about 0.6%.
Hepatitis A is primarily transmitted by person-to-person contact, generally
through fecal contamination and oral ingestion. Transmission is facilitated
by poor personal hygiene, poor sanitation, and intimate (intrahousehold or
sexual) contact. In recent years, cases of hepatitis A among intravenous
drug users, most likely due to person-to-person contact, have been reported
with increasing frequency (9). Common-source epidemics from contaminated
food and water also occur. Sharing utensils or cigarettes or kissing is not
believed to transmit the hepatitis A virus.
The incubation period of hepatitis A is 15-50 days (average 28). High
concentrations of HAV (10(8) particles/g) are found in stool specimens from
infected persons. Virus in the feces reaches its highest concentration late
in the incubation period and early in the prodromal phase of illness, and it
diminishes rapidly once jaundice appears. Greatest infectivity is during the
2-week period immediately before the onset of jaundice. Viremia probably
occurs during the period that the virus is shed in feces. Virus has not been
found in urine. A chronic carrier state with HAV in blood or feces has not
been demonstrated. Transmission of HAV by blood transfusion has been reported
but is uncommon (10).
The diagnosis of acute hepatitis A is confirmed by finding IgM anti-HAV in
serum collected during the acute or early convalescent phase of the disease.
IgM anti-HAV, which appears in the convalescent phase of the disease and
remains detectable in serum thereafter, confers enduring protection against
the disease. Commercial tests are available to detect IgM anti-HAV and total
anti-HAV in serum.
Although the incidence of hepatitis A in the United States in the 1980s was
lower than that in the 1970s, a 26% increase in incidence was observed
between 1983 and 1988. It is still a common infection among older children
and young adults. In 1988, 50% of reported cases of hepatitis in this
country were attributable to hepatitis A.
Recommendations for IG Prophylaxis for Hepatitis A
Numerous field studies conducted in the past 4 decades confirm that IG given
before exposure or during the incubation period of hepatitis A is protective
against clinical illness (11-13). Its prophylactic value is greatest
(80%-90%) when given early in the incubation period and declines thereafter
(13). Recent tests have shown slightly decreased titers of anti-HAV in
current IG lots compared with lots tested 8 years previously; however, no
differences in IG efficacy have been noted.
The major group for whom preexposure prophylaxis is recommended is
international travelers. The risk of hepatitis A for U.S. citizens traveling
abroad varies with living conditions, length of stay, and the incidence of
hepatitis A infection in areas visited (14-16). In general, travelers to
developed areas of North America, western Europe, Japan, Australia, and New
Zealand are at no greater risk of infection than they would be in the United
States. For travelers to developing countries, risk of infection increases
with duration of travel and is highest for those who live in or visit rural
areas, trek in back country, or frequently eat or drink in settings of poor
sanitation. Nevertheless, recent studies have shown that many cases of
travel-related hepatitis A occur in travelers with "standard" tourist
itineraries, accommodations, and food and beverage consumption behaviors (16
and CDC unpublished data). In developing countries, travelers should minimize
their exposure to hepatitis A and other enteric diseases by avoiding
potentially contaminated water or food. Travelers should avoid drinking
water (or beverages with ice) of unknown purity and eating uncooked shellfish
or uncooked fruits or vegetables that they did not prepare.
IG is recommended for all susceptible travelers to developing countries
(17). IG is especially important for persons who will be living in or
visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain
sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially
young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Persons who plan
to reside in developing areas for long periods should receive IG regularly.
For travelers, a single dose of IG of 0.02 ml/kg of body weight is
recommended if travel is for < < 3 months. For prolonged travel or residence
in developing countries, 0.06 ml/kg should be given every 5 months. For
persons who require repeated IG prophylaxis, screening for total anti-HAV
before travel is useful to define susceptibility and eliminate unnecessary
doses of IG for those who are immune. IG produced in developing countries
may not meet the standards for purity required in most developed countries.
Persons needing repeat doses overseas should use products that meet U.S.
Hepatitis A cannot be reliably diagnosed on clinical presentation alone, and
serologic confirmation of index patients is recommended before contacts are
treated. Serologic screening of contacts for anti-HAV before they are given
IG is not recommended because screening is more costly than IG and would
delay its administration.
For postexposure IG prophylaxis, a single intramuscular does of 0.02 ml/kg
is recommended. IG should be given as soon as possible after last exposure;
giving IG more than 2 weeks after exposure is not indicated.
Specific recommendations for IG prophylaxis for hepatitis A depend on the
nature of the HAV exposure.
1. Close personal contact. IG is recommended for all household and
sexual contacts of persons with hepatitis A.
2. Day-care centers. Day-care facilities attended by children in
diapers can be important settings for HAV transmission (18-20). IG should be
administered to all staff and attendees of day-care centers or homes if a)
one or more children or employees are diagnosed as having hepatitis A, or b)
cases are recognized in two or more households of center attendees. When an
outbreak (hepatitis cases in three or more families) occurs, IG should also
be considered for members of households that have children (center attendees)
in diapers. In centers not enrolling children in diapers, IG need only be
given to classroom contacts of an index patient.
3. Schools. Contact at elementary and secondary schools is usually
not an important means of transmitting hepatitis A. Routine administration
of IG is not indicated for pupils and teachers in contact with a patient.
However, when an epidemiologic investigation clearly shows the existence of a
school- or classroom-centered outbreak, IG may be given to persons who have
close contact with patients.
4. Institutions for custodial care. Living conditions in some
institutions, such as prisons and facilities for the developmentally
disabled, favor transmission of hepatitis A. When outbreaks occur, giving IG
to residents and staff who have close contact with patients with hepatitis A
may reduce the spread of disease. Depending on the epidemiologic
circumstances, prophylaxis can be limited or can involve the entire
5. Hospitals. Routine IG prophylaxis for hospital personnel is not
indicated. Rather, sound hygienic practices should be emphasized. Staff
education should point out the risk of exposure to hepatitis A and should
emphasize precautions regarding direct contact with potentially infective
Outbreaks of hepatitis A occur occasionally
among hospital staff, usually in association with an unsuspected
index patient who is fecally incontinent. Large outbreaks have occurred from
contact with infected infants in neonatal intensive care units (10). In
outbreaks, prophylaxis of persons exposed to feces of infected patients may
6. Offices and factories. Routine IG administration is not
indicated under the usual office or factory conditions for persons exposed to
a fellow worker with hepatitis A. Experience shows that casual contact in
the work setting does not result in virus transmission.
7. Common-source exposure. IG use might be effective in preventing
foodborne or waterborne hepatitis A if exposure is recognized in time.
However, IG is not recommended for persons exposed to a common source of
hepatitis infection after cases have begun to occur, since the 2-week period
during which IG is effective will have been exceeded.
If a food handler is diagnosed as having hepatitis
A, common-source transmissions is possible but uncommon. IG
should be administered to other food handlers but is usually not recommended
for patrons (22). However, IG administration to patrons may be considered if
all of the following conditions exist: a) the infected person is directly
involved in handling, without gloves, foods that will not be cooked before
they are eaten, and b) the hygienic practices of the food handler are
deficient or the food handler has diarrhea, and c) patrons can be identified
and treated within 2 weeks of exposure. Situations in which repeated
exposures may have occurred, such as in institutional cafeterias, may warrant
stronger consideration of IG use.
Hepatitis B infection is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), a 42-nm,
double-shelled deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) virus of the class hepadnaviridae.
Several well-defined antigen-antibody systems are associated with HBV
infection (Table 1). HBsAg is found on the surface of the virus and is also
produced in excess amounts, circulating in blood as 22-nm spherical and
tubular particles. HBsAg can be identified in serum 30-60 days after
exposure to HBV and persists for variable periods. Anti-HBs develops after a
resolved infection and is responsible for long-term immunity. Antibody to
the core antigen (anti-HBc) develops in all HBV infections and persists
indefinitely. IgM anti-HBc appears early in infection and persists for >>6
months. It is a reliable marker of acute or recent HBV infection. A third
antigen, hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg), may be detected in samples from
persons with acute or chronic HBV infection. The presence of HBeAg
correlates with viral replication and high infectivity. Antibody to HBeAg
(anti-HBe) develops in most HBV infections and correlates with the loss of
replicating virus and with lower infectivity.
TABLE 1. Hepatitis nomenclature
ABBREVIATION TERM DEFINITION/COMMENTS
A. Hepatitis A HAV Hepatitis A Etiologic agent of
virus "infectious" hepatitis; a
picornavirus; single serotype.
Anti-HAV Antibody to Detectable at onset HAV
IgM anti-HAV IgM class Indicates recent
antibody to infection with HAV hepatitis
detectable for 4-6 months after
B. Hepatitis B HBV Hepatitis B Etiologic agent of
virus "serum" hepatitis; also known as Dane
HBsAg Hepatitis B Surface antigen(s) surface
of HBV detectable antigen in large quantity in serum; several subtypes
HBeAg Hepatitis B Soluble antigen; e antigen
correlates with HBV replication, high titer HBV in serum, and infectivity of
HBcAg Hepatitis B No commercial test core
available. antigen Anti-HBs Antibody to Indicates past HBsAg
infection with and immunity to HBV, passive antibody from HBIG, or immune
response from HB vaccine.
Anti-HBe Antibody to Presence in serum of HBeAg
HBsAg carrier indicates lower titer of HBV.
Anti-HBc Antibody to Indicates prior HBcAg
infection with HBV at some undefined time.
IgM anti-HBc IgM class Indicates recent
antibody to infection with HBV;
HBcAg detectable for 4-6 months after
C. Delta HDV Hepatitis D Etiologic agent of hepatitis
virus delta hepatitis; can cause infection only in
presence of HBV.
HDAg Delta Detectable in early antigen
acute delta infection.
Anti-HDV Antibody to Indicates present or delta
past infection with antigen delta virus.
D. Non-A, PT-NANB Parenterally Diagnosis by non-B
transmitted exclusion. At least hepatitis
two candidate viruses, one of which has been proposed as hepatitis C
virus; shares epidemiologic features with hepatitis B.
ET-NANB Enterically Diagnosis by transmitted
exclusion. Causes large epidemics in Asia, Africa and Mexico; fecal-oral or
waterborne E. Immune IG Immune Contains antibodies
globulins globulin to HAV, low-titer (previously
antibodies to HBV. ISG, immune serum globulin, or gamma globulin) HBIG
Hepatitis B Contains high-titer immune antibodies to HBV.
The incubation period of hepatitis B is long (45-160 days; average =120),
and the onset of acute disease is generally insidious. Clinical symptoms and
signs include anorexia, malaise, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and
jaundice. Extrahepatic manifestations of disease--such as skin rashes,
arthralgias, and arthritis--can also occur. The case-fatality rate for
reported cases is approximately 1.4%.
A variable proportion of individuals infected with HBV will become
chronically infected with the virus. The HBV carrier is central to the
epidemiology of HBV transmission. A carrier is defined as a person who is
either Hbsag-positive on at least two occasions (at least 6 months apart) or
who is HBsAg-positive and IgM anti-HBc negative when a single serum specimen
is tested. Although the degree of infectivity is best correlated with
HBeAg-positivity, any person positive for HBsAg is potentially infectious.
The likelihood of becoming chronically infected with HBV varies inversely
with the age at which infection occurs. HBV transmitted from HBsAg-positive
mothers to their newborns results in HBV carriage for up to 90% of infants.
Between 25% and 50% of children infected before 5 years of age become
carriers, whereas only 6%-10% of acutely infected adults become carriers.
Carriers and persons with acute infection have the highest concentrations of
HBV in blood and serous fluids. A lower concentration is present in other
body fluids, such as saliva and semen. Transmission occurs via percutaneous
or permucosal routes, and infective blood or body fluids can be introduced at
birth, through sexual contact, or by contaminated needles. Infection can
also occur is settings of continuous close personal contact (such as in
households or among children in institutions for the developmentally
disabled), presumably vi inapparent or unnoticed contact of infective
secretions with skin lesions or mucosal surfaces. Transmission of infection
by transfusion of blood or blood products is rare because of routine
screening of blood for HBsAg and because of current donor selection
procedures. Transmission of HBV from infected health-care workers to
patients is uncommon but has been documented during types of invasive
procedures (e.g., oral and gynecologic surgery) (23,24). HBsAg-positive
health-care workers need not be restricted from patient contact unless they
have been epidemiologically associated with HBV transmission. Rather, they
should be educated about the potential mechanisms of HBV transmission.
Adherence to aseptic techniques minimizes the risk of transmission. HBV is
not transmitted via the fecal-oral route.
Worldwide, HBV infection is a major cause of acute and chronic hepatitis,
cirrhosis, and primary hepatocellular carcinoma. The frequency of HBV
infection and patterns of transmission vary markedly in different parts of
the world. In the United States, Western Europe, and Australia, it is a
disease of low endemicity, with infection occurring primarily during
adulthood and with only 0.2%-0.9% of the population being chronically
infected. In contrast, HBV infection is highly endemic in China and
Southeast Asia, most of Africa, most Pacific Islands, parts of the Middle
East, and in the Amazon Basin. In these areas, most persons acquire
infection at birth or during childhood, and 8%-15% of the population are
chronically infected with HBV. In other parts of the world, HBV infection is
moderately endemic, with 2%-7% of the population being HBV carriers.
Prevention strategies for population in which HBV infection is highly endemic
are directed at vaccinating infants with hepatitis B vaccine, usually
beginning at birth, to prevent both perinatal and childhood transmission of
infection (25). Recommendations for hepatitis B prophylaxis in other areas
should be designed to maximize the interruption of HBV transmission in
accordance with local patterns of transmission. The recommendations that
follow are intended for use in the United States.
Hepatitis B Virus Infection in the United States
Each year, an estimated 300,000 persons, primarily young adults, are
infected with HBV. One-quarter become ill with jaundice, more than 10,000
patients require hospitalization, and an average of 250 die of fulminant
disease. The United States currently contains an estimated pool of
750,000-1,000,000 infectious carriers. Approximately 25% of carriers develop
chronic active hepatitis, which often progresses to cirrhosis. Furthermore,
HBV carriers have a risk of developing primary liver cancer that is 12-300
times higher than that of other persons. An estimated 4,000 persons die each
year from hepatitis B-related cirrhosis, and more than 800 die from hepatitis
B-related liver cancer.
Serologic surveys demonstrate that, although HBV infection is uncommon among
adults in the general population, it is highly prevalent in certain groups.
Those at risk, based on the prevalence of serologic markers of infection, are
described in Table 2. Persons born in areas of high HBV endemicity and their
descendants remain at high risk of infection, as do certain populations in
which HBV is highly endemic (Alaskan Natives and Pacific Islanders). Certain
lifestyles (e.g. homosexual activity, intravenous drug abuse) result in early
acquisition of HBV infection and high rates of infection. Persons who have
heterosexual activity with multiple partners are at significant risk of
infection. Inmates of prisons have a high prevalence of HBV markers, usually
because of parenteral drug abuse before or during imprisonment. Patients in
custodial institutions for the developmentally disabled are also at increased
risk of having HBV infection. Household contacts and sexual partners of HBV
carriers are at an increased risk, as are hemodialysis patients and
recipients of certain plasma-derived products that have not been inactivated
(e.g., anti-hemophilic factor).
Those at occupational risk of HBV infection include medical and dental
workers, related laboratory and support personnel, and public service
employees who have contact with blood, as well as staff in institutions or
classrooms for the mentally retarded.
Hepatitis B Prevention Strategies in the United States
The incidence of reported acute hepatitis B cases increased steadily over
the past decade and reached a peak in 1985 (11.50 cases/105/year), despite
the introduction of hepatitis B vaccine 3 years previously. Incidence
decreased modestly (18%) by 1988, but still remains higher than a decade ago.
This minimal impact of hepatitis B vaccine on disease incidence is
attributable to several factors. The sources of infection for most cases
include intravenous drug abuse (28%), heterosexual contact with infected
persons or multiple partners (22%), and homosexual activity (9%). In
addition, 30% of patients with Hepatitis B deny any of the recognized risk
factors for infection.
The present strategy for hepatitis B prevention is to vaccinate those
individuals at high risk of infection. Most persons receiving vaccine as a
result of this strategy have been persons at risk of acquiring HBV infection
through occupational exposure, a group that accounts for approximately 4% of
cases. The major deterrents to vaccinating the other high-risk groups
include their lack of knowledge about the risk of disease and its
consequences, the lack of public-sector programs, the cost of vaccine, and
the inability to access most of the high-risk populations.
For vaccine to have an impact on the incidence of hepatitis B, a
comprehensive strategy must be developed that will provide hepatitis B
vaccination to persons before they engage in behaviors or occupations that
place them at risk of infection. Universal HBsAg screening of pregnant women
was recently recommended to prevent perinatal HBV transmission. The previous
recommendations for selective screening failed to identify most
HBsAg-positive pregnant women (27). As an alternative to high-risk-group
vaccination, universal vaccination of infants and adolescents needs to be
examined as a possible strategy to control the transmission of disease.
TABLE 2. Prevalence of hepatitis B serologic markers in various
population groups Prevalence of serologic markers of HBV infection POPULATION
GROUP HBsAg (%) Any marker (%)
Immigrants/refugees from areas of high HBV endemicity
13 70-85 Alaskan Natives/Pacific Islanders 5-15
40-70 Clients in institutions for the developmentally disabled
10-20 35-80 Users of illicit parenteral drugs
7 60-80 Sexually active homosexual men 6
35-80 Household contacts of HBV carriers 3-6
30-60 Patients of hemodialysis units 3-10 20-80
frequent blood contact 1-2 15-30 Prisoners
(male) 1-8 10-80 Staff of
institutions for the developmentally disabled 1
10-25 Heterosexuals with multiple partners 0.5 5-20
no or infrequent blood contact 0.3 3-10 General
population (NHANES II) (*) Blacks 0.9
14 Whites 0.2
(*) Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (26).
Hepatitis B Prophylaxis
Two types of products are available for prophylaxis against hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccines, first licensed in 1981, provide active immunization
against HBV infection, and their use is recommended for both preexposure and
postexposure prophylaxis. HBIG provides temporary, passive protection and is
indicated only in certain postexposure settings.
HBIG is prepared from plasma preselected to contain a high titer of
anti-HBs. In the United States, HBIG has an anti-HBs titer of >>100,000 by
radioimmunoassay (RIA). Human plasma from which HBIG is prepared is screened
for antibodies to HIV; in addition, the Cohn fractionation process used to
prepare this product inactivates and eliminates HIV from the final product.
There is no evidence that the causative agent of AIDS (HIV) has been
transmitted by HBIG (6).
Hepatitis B Vaccine
Two types hepatitis B vaccines are currently licensed in the United States.
Plasma-derived vaccine consists of a suspension of inactivated,
alum-adsorbed, 22-nm, HBsAg particles that have been purified from human
plasma by a combination of biophysical (ultracentrifugation) and biochemical
procedures. Inactivation is a threefold process using 8M urea, pepsin at pH
2, and 1: ,000 formalin. These treatment steps have been shown to
inactivate representatives of all classes of viruses found in human blood,
including HIV (28). Plasma-derived vaccine is no longer being produced in
the United States, and use is now limited to hemodialysis patients, other
immunocompromised hosts, and persons with known allergy to yeast.
Currently licensed recombinant hepatitis B vaccines are produced by
Saccharomyces cerevisiae (common baker's yeast), into which a plasmid
containing the gene for the HBsAg has been inserted. Purified HBsAg is
obtained by lysing the yeast cells and separating HBsAg from yeast components
by biochemical and biophysical techniques. These vaccines contain more than
95% HBsAg protein. Yeast-derived protein constitutes no more than 5% of the
Hepatitis B vaccines are packaged to contain 10-40 mg HBsAg protein/ml and
are adsorbed with aluminum hydroxide (0.5 mg/ml). Thimerosal (1: 20,000
concentration) is added as a preservative.
The recommended series of three intramuscular doses of hepatitis B vaccine
induces an adequate antibody response* in >>90% of healthy adults and in
>>95% of infants, children, and adolescents from birth through 19 years of
age (29-31). The deltoid (arm) is the recommended site for hepatitis B
vaccination of adults and children; immunogenicity of vaccine for adults is
substantially lower when injections are given in the buttock (32). Larger
vaccine doses (two to four times normal adult dose) or an increased number of
doses (four doses) are required to induce protective antibody in a high
proportion of hemodialysis patients and may also be necessary for other
immunocompromised persons (such as those on immunosuppressive drugs or with
HIV infection) (33,34).
(*) An adequate antibody response is >>10 milliInternational Units (mIU)/ml,
approximately equivalent to 10 sample ration units (SRU) by RIA or positive
by enzyme immunoassay (EIA), measured 1-6 months after completion of the
Field trials of the vaccines licensed in the United States have shown
80%-95% efficacy in preventing infection or clinical hepatitis among
susceptible persons (31,35). Protection against illness is virtually
complete for persons who develop an adequate antibody response after
vaccination. The duration of protection and need for booster doses are not
yet fully defined. Between 30% and 50% of persons who develop adequate
antibody after three doses of vaccine will lose detectable antibody within 7
years, but protection against viremic infection and clinical disease appears
to persist (36-38). Immunogenicity and efficacy of the licensed vaccines for
hemodialysis patients are much lower than in normal adults. Protection in
this group may last only as long as adequate antibody levels persist (33).
Primary vaccination comprises three intramuscular doses of vaccine, with the
second and third doses given 1 and 6 months, respectively, after the first.
Adults and older children should be given a full 1.0 ml/dose, while children
< < 11 years of age should usually receive half (0.5 ml) this dose. See
Table 3 for complete information on age-specific dosages of currently
available vaccines. An alternative schedule of four doses of vaccine given
at 0, 1, 2, and 12 months has been approved for one vaccine for postexposure
prophylaxis or for more rapid induction of immunity. However, there is no
clear evidence that this regimen provides greater protection than the
standard three-dose series. Hepatitis B vaccine should be given only in the
deltoid muscle for adults and children or in the anterolateral thigh muscle
for infants and neonates.
For patients undergoing hemodialysis and for other immunosuppressed
patients, higher vaccine doses or increased numbers of doses are required.
A special formulation
TABLE 3. Recommended doses and schedules of currently licensed HB
Vaccine Heptavax-B(*),(t) Recombivax HB(*) +
Engerix-B(*s) GROUP DOSE (ug) (ml) DOSE (ug) (ml)
DOSE (ug) + (ml) Infants of HBV- carrier mothers 10 (0.5)
5 (0.5) 10 (0.5)
Other infants and children < < 11 years 10 (0.5) 2.5
(0.25) 10 (0.5)
Children and adolescents 11-19 years 20 (1.0) 5
(0.5) 20 (1.0)
Adults >>19 year 20 (1.0) 10 (1.0) 20 (1.0)
Dialysis patients and other immunocompromised persons
40 (2.0) (*) 40 (1.0) (**) 40 (2.0) + (c,tt)
(*) Usual schedule: three doses at 0, 1, 6 months. (t) Available only for
hemodialysis and other immunocompromised patients and for persons with known
allergy to yeast. (s) Alternative schedule: four doses at 0, 1, 2, 12
months. (c) Two 1.0-ml doses given at different sites. (**) Special
formulation for dialysis patient. (tt) Four-dose schedule recommended at 0,
1, 2, 6 months.
of one vaccine is now available for such persons (Table 3). Persons with
HIV infection have an impaired response to hepatitis B vaccine. The
immunogenicity of higher doses of vaccine is unknown for this group, and firm
recommendations on dosage cannot be made at this time (34).
Vaccine doses administered at longer intervals provide equally satisfactory
protection, but optimal protection is not conferred until after the third
dose. If the vaccine series is interrupted after the first dose, the second
and third doses should be given separated by an interval of 3-5 months.
Persons who are late for the third dose should be given this dose when
convenient. Postvaccination testing is not considered necessary in either
In one study, the response to vaccination by the standard schedule using one
or two doses of one vaccine, followed by the remaining doses of a different
vaccine, was comparable to the response to vaccination with a single vaccine.
Moreover, because the immunogenicities of the available vaccines are
similar, it is likely that responses in such situations will be comparable to
those induced by any of the vaccines alone.
The immunogenicity of a series of three low doses (0.1 standard dose) of
plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccine administered by the intradermal route has
been assessed in several studies. The largest studies of adults show lower
rates of developing adequate antibody (80%-90%) and twofold to fourfold lower
antibody titer than with intramuscular vaccination with recommended doses (39
and CDC unpublished data). Data on immunogenicity of low doses of
recombinant vaccines given intradermally are limited. At this time,
intradermal vaccination of adults using low doses of vaccine should be done
only under research protocol, with appropriate informed consent and with
postvaccination testing to identify persons with inadequate response who
would be eligible for revaccination. Intradermal vaccination is not
recommended for infants or children.
All hepatitis B vaccines are inactivated (noninfective) products, and there
is no evidence of interference with other simultaneously administered
Data are not available on the safety of hepatitis B vaccines for the
developing fetus. Because the vaccines contain only noninfectious HBsAg
particles, there should be no risk to the fetus. In contrast, HBV infection
of a pregnant woman may result in severe disease for the mother and chronic
infection of the newborn. Therefore, pregnancy or lactation should not be
considered a contraindication to the use of this vaccine for persons who are
Vaccine storage and shipment
Vaccine should be shipped and stored at 2 C-8 C but not frozen. Freezing
destroys the potency of the vaccine.
Side effects and adverse reactions
The most common side effect observed following vaccination with each of the
available vaccines has been soreness at the injection site. Postvaccination
surveillance for 3 years after licensure of the plasma-derived vaccine showed
an association of borderline significance between Guillain-Barre syndrome and
receipt of the first vaccine dose (40). The rate of this occurrence was very
low (0.5/100,000 vaccinees) and was more than compensated by disease
prevented by the vaccine even if Guillain-Barre syndrome is a true side
effect. Such postvaccination surveillance information is not available for
the recombinant hepatitis B vaccines. Early concerns about safety of
plasma-derived vaccine have proven to be unfounded, particularly the concern
that infectious agents such as HIV present in the donor plasma pools might
contaminate the final product.
Effect of vaccination on carriers and immune persons
Hepatitis B vaccine produces neither therapeutic nor adverse effects for HBV
carriers (41). Vaccination of individuals who possess antibodies against HBV
from a previous infection is not necessary but will not cause adverse
effects. Such individuals will have a postvaccination increase in their
anti-HBs levels. Passively acquired antibody, whether acquired from HBIG or
IG administration or from the transplacental route, will not interfere with
active immunization (42).
Prevaccination serologic testing for susceptibility
The decision to test potential vaccine recipients for prior infection is
primarily a cost-effectiveness issue and should be based on whether the costs
of testing balance the costs of vaccine saved by not vaccinating individuals
who have already been infected. Estimation of cost-effectiveness of testing
depends on three variables: the cost of vaccination, the cost of testing for
susceptibility, and the expected prevalence of immune individuals in the
Testing in groups with the highest risk of HBV infection (HBV marker
prevalence >>20%, Table 2) is usually cost-effective unless testing costs are
extremely high. Cost-effectiveness of screening may be marginal for groups
at intermediate risk. For groups with a low expected prevalence of HBV
serologic markers, such as health professionals in their training years,
prevaccination testing is not cost-effective.
For routine testing, only one antibody test is necessary (either anti-HBc or
anti-HBs). Anti-HBc identifies all previously infected persons, both
carriers and those who are not carriers, but does not differentiate members
of the two groups. Anti-HBs identifies persons previously infected, except
for carriers. Neither test has a particular advantage for groups expected to
have carrier rates of < < 2%, such as health-care workers. Anti-HBc may be
preferred to avoid unnecessary vaccination of carriers for groups with higher
carrier rates. If RIA is used to test for anti-HBs, a minimum of 10 sample
ratio units should be used to designate immunity (2.1 is the usual
designation of a positive test). If EIA is used, the positive level
recommended by manufacturers is appropriate.
Postvaccination testing for serologic response and revaccination of
Hepatitis B vaccine, when given in the deltoid, produces protective antibody
(anti-HBs) in >>90% of healthy persons. Testing for immunity after
vaccination is not recommended routinely but is advised for persons whose
subsequent management depends on knowing their immune status (such as
dialysis patients and staff). Testing for immunity is also advised for
persons from whom a suboptimal response may be anticipated, such as those who
have received vaccine in the buttock, persons >>50 years of age, and persons
known to have HIV infection. Postvaccination testing should also be
considered for persons at occupational risk who may have needle-stick
exposures necessitating postexposure prophylaxis. When necessary,
postvaccination testing should be done between 1 and 6 months after
completion of the vaccine series to provide definitive information on
response to the vaccine.
Revaccination of persons who do not respond to the primary series
(nonresponders) produces adequate antibody in 15%-25% after one additional
dose and in 30%-50% after three additional doses when the primary vaccination
has been given in the deltoid (36). For persons who did not respond to a
primary vaccine series given in the buttock, data suggests that revaccination
in the arm induces adequate antibody in >>75%. Revaccination with one or more
additional doses should be considered for persons who fail to respond to
vaccination in the deltoid and is recommended for those who have failed to
respond to vaccination in the buttock.
Need for vaccine booster doses
Available data show that vaccine-induced antibody levels decline steadily
with time and that up to 50% of adult vaccinees who respond adequately to
vaccine may have low or undetectable antibody levels by 7 years after
vaccination. Nevertheless, both adults and children with declining antibody
levels are still protected against hepatitis B disease. Current data also
suggest excellent protection against disease for 5 years after vaccination
among infants born to hepatitis B-carrier mothers. For adults and children
with normal immune status, booster doses are not routinely recommended within
7 years after vaccination, nor is routine serologic testing to assess
antibody levels necessary for vaccine recipients during this period. For
infants born to hepatitis B-carrier mother, booster doses are not necessary
within 5 years after vaccination. The possible need for booster doses after
longer intervals will be assessed as additional information becomes
For hemodialysis patients, for whom vaccine-induced protection is less
complete and may persist only as long as antibody levels remain above 10
mIU/ml, the need for booster doses should be assessed by annual antibody
testing, and booster doses should be given when antibody levels decline to <
< 10 mIU/ml.
Groups recommended for preexposure vaccination
Persons at substantial risk of HBV infection who are demonstrated or judged
likely to be susceptible should be vaccinated. They include the following:
1. Persons with occupational risk. HBV infection is a major
infectious occupational hazard for health-care and public-safety workers.
The risk of acquiring HBV infection from occupational exposures is dependent
on the frequency of percutaneous and permucosal exposure to blood or blood
products. Any health-care or public-safety worker may be at risk for HBV
exposure depending on the tasks that he or she performs. If those tasks
involve contact with blood or blood-contaminated body fluids, such workers
should be vaccinated. Vaccination should be considered for other workers
depending on the nature of the tasks (43).
Risks among health-care professional vary during
the training and working career of each individual but are often
highest during the professional training period. For this reason, when
possible, vaccination should be completed during training in schools of
medicine, dentistry, nursing, laboratory technology, and other allied health
professions before workers have their first contact with
2. Clients and staff of institutions for the developmentally
disabled. Susceptible clients in institutions for the developmentally
disabled should be vaccinated. Staff who work closely with client should
also be vaccinated. The risk in institutional environments is associated not
only with blood exposure but may also be consequent to bites to bites and
contact with skin lesions and other infective secretions. Susceptible
clients and staff who live or work in smaller (group) residential settings
with known HBV carriers should also receive hepatitis B vaccine. Clients
discharged from residential institutions into community settings should be
screened for HBsAg so that the community programs may take appropriate
measures to prevent HBV transmission. These measures should include both
environmental controls and appropriate use of vaccine.
Staff of nonresidential day-care programs (e.g.,
schools, sheltered workshops for the developmentally disabled)
attended by known HBV carriers have a risk of HBV infection comparable to
that among health-care workers and therefore should be vaccinated (44). The
risk of HBV infection for clients appears to be lower than the risk for
staff. Vaccination of client in day-care programs may be considered.
Vaccination of classroom contacts is strongly encouraged if a classmate who
is an HBV carrier behaves aggressively or has special medical problems that
increase the risk of exposure to his/her blood or serous
3. Hemodialysis patients. Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended
for susceptible hemodialysis patients. Although seroconversion rates and
anti-HBs titers are lower than those for healthy persons, for those patients
who do respond, hepatitis B vaccine will protect them from HBV infection and
reduce the necessity for frequent serologic screening (45). Some studies have
shown higher seroconversion rates and antibody titers for patients with
uremia who were vaccinated before they required dialysis (46). Identification
of patients for vaccination early in the course of the renal disease is
4. Sexually active homosexual men. Susceptible sexually active
homosexual men should be vaccinated regardless of their age or the duration
of their homosexual practices. Persons should be vaccinated as soon as
possible after their homosexual activity begins. Homosexual and bisexual men
known to have HIV infection should be tested for anti-HBs response after
completion of the vaccine series and should be counseled
5. Users of illicit injectable drugs. All users of illicit
injectable drugs who are susceptible to HBV should be vaccinated as early as
possible after their drug abuse begins.
6. Recipients of certain blood products. Patients with clotting
disorders who receive clotting-factor concentrates have an increased risk of
HBV infection. Vaccination is recommended for these persons, and it should
be initiated at the time their specific clotting disorder is identified.
Prevaccination testing is recommended for patients who have already received
multiple infusions of these products.
7. Household and sexual contacts of HBV carriers. Household
contacts of HBV carriers are at high risk of HBV infection. Sexual contacts
appear to be at greatest risk. When HBV carriers are identified through
routine screening, screening of donated blood, diagnostic testing in
hospitals, prenatal screening, screening of refugees from certain areas, or
other screening programs, they should be notified of their status. All
household and sexual contacts should be tested and susceptible contacts
8. Adoptees from countries of high HBV endemicity. Families
accepting orphans or unaccompanied minors from countries of high or
intermediate HBV endemicity should have the children screened for HBsAg. If
the children are HBsAg-positive, family members should be vaccinated
9. Other contacts of HBV carriers. Persons in casual contact with
carriers in setting such as schools and offices are at minimal risk of HBV
infection, and vaccine is not routinely recommended for them. At child-care
centers, HBV transmission between children or between children and staff has
rarely been documented. Unless special circumstances exist, such as behavior
problems (biting or scratching) or medical conditions (sever skin disease)
that might facilitate transmission, vaccination of contacts of carriers in
child care is not indicated.
10. Populations with high endemicity of HBV infection. In certain
U.S. populations, including Alaskan Natives, Pacific Islander, and refugees
from HBV-endemic areas, HBV infection is highly endemic, and transmission
occurs primarily during childhood. In such groups, universal hepatitis B
vaccination of infants is recommended to prevent disease transmission during
childhood. In addition, more extensive programs of "catch-up" childhood
vaccination should be considered if resources are available.
Immigrants and refugees from areas with highly
endemic HBV disease (particularly Africa and eastern Asia)
should be screened for HBV markers upon resettlement in the United States.
If an HBV carrier is identified, all susceptible household contacts should be
vaccinated. Even if no HBV carriers are found within a family, vaccination
should be considered for susceptible children < < 7 years of age because of
the high rate of interfamilial HBV infection that occurs among these children
(48). Vaccination is recommended for all infants of women who were born in
areas in which infection is highly endemic.
11. Inmates of long-term correctional facilities. The prison
environment may provide a favorable setting for the transmission of HBV
because of the use of illicit injectable drugs and because of male homosexual
practices. Moreover, it provide an access point for vaccination of
percutaneous drug abusers. Prison officials should consider undertaking
screening and vaccination programs directed at inmates with histories of
12. Sexually active heterosexual persons. Sexually active
heterosexual persons with multiple sexual partners are at increased risk of
HBV infection. Risk increases with increasing numbers of sexual partners.
Vaccination is recommended for persons who are diagnosed as having recently
acquired other sexually transmitted disease, for prostitutes, and for persons
who have a history of sexual activity with multiple partners in he previous 6
13. International travelers. Vaccination should be considered for
persons who plan to reside for more than 6 months in areas with high levels
of endemic HBV and who will have close contact with the local population.
Vaccination should also be considered for short-term travelers who are likely
to have contact with blood from or sexual contact with residents of areas
with high levels of endemic disease. Ideally, hepatitis B vaccination of
travelers should begin at least 6 months before travel to allow for
completion of the full vaccine series. Nevertheless, a partial series will
offer some protection from HBV infection. The alternative four-dose schedule
may provide better protection during travel if the first three doses can be
delivered before travel (second and third doses given 1 and 2 months,
respectively, after first).
Postexposure Prophylaxis for Hepatitis B
Prophylaxis treatment to prevent hepatitis B infection after exposure to HBV
should be considered in the following situations: perinatal exposure of an
infant born to an HBsAg-positive mother, accidental percutaneous or
permucosal exposure to HBsAg-positive blood, sexual exposure to an
HBsAg-positive persons, and household exposure of an infant < < 12 months of
age to a primary care giver who has acute hepatitis B.
Various studies have established the relative efficacies of HBIG and/or
hepatitis B vaccine in different exposure situations. For in infant with
perinatal exposure to an HBsAg-positive and HBeAg-positive mother, a regimen
combining one dose of HBIG at birth with the hepatitis B vaccine series
stated soon after birth is 85%-95% effective in preventing development of the
HBV carrier state (35,49-51). Regimens involving either multiple doses of
HBIG alone, or the vaccine series alone, have 70%-85% efficacy (52,53).
For accidental percutaneous exposure, only regimens including HBIG and/or IG
have been studied. A regimen of two doses of HBIG, on given after exposure
and one a month later, is about 75% effective in preventing hepatitis B in
this setting (54,55). For sexual exposure, a single dose of HBIG is 75%
effective if given within 2 weeks of last sexual exposure (56). The efficacy
of IG for postexposure prophylaxis is uncertain. IG no longer has a role in
postexposure prophylaxis of hepatitis B because of the availability of HBIG
and the wider use of hepatitis B vaccine.
Recommendations on postexposure prophylaxis are based on available efficacy
data and on the likelihood of future HBV exposure of the persons requiring
treatment. In all exposures, a regimen combining HBIG with hepatitis B
vaccine will provide both short- and long-term protection, will be less
costly than the two-dose HBIG treatments alone, and is the treatment of
Perinatal Exposure and Recommendations
Transmission of HBV from other to infant during the perinatal period
represents one of the most efficient modes of HBV infection and often leads
to severe long-term sequelae. Infants born to HBsAg-positive and
HBeAg-positive mother have a 70%-90% chance of acquiring perinatal HBV
infection, and 85%-90% of infected infants with become chronic HBV carriers.
Estimates are that >>25% of these carriers will die from primary
hepatocellular carcinoma (PHC) or cirrhosis of the liver (57). Infants born
to HBsAg-positive and HBeAg-negative mother have a lower risk of acquiring
perinatal infection; however, such infant have had acute disease, and fatal
fulminant hepatitis has been reported (58,59). Based on 1987 data in the
United States, an estimated 18,000 births occur to HBsAg-positive women each
year, resulting in approximately 4,00 infants who become chronic HBV
carriers. Prenatal screening of all pregnant women identifies those who are
HBsAg-positive and allows treatment of the newborns with HBIG and hepatitis B
vaccine, a regimen that is 85%-95% effective in preventing the development of
the HBV chronic carrier state. The following are perinatal recommendations:
1. All pregnant women should be routinely tested for HBsAg during
an early prenatal visit in each pregnancy. This testing should be done at
the same time that other routine prenatal screening test are ordered. In
special situations (e.g., when acute hepatitis is suspected, when a history
of exposure to hepatitis has been reported, or when the mother has a
particularly high-risk behavior such as intravenous drug abuse), and
additional HBsAg test can be ordered later in the pregnancy. No other HBV
marker tests are necessary for the purpose of maternal screening, although
HBsAg-positive mother identified during screening may have HBV-related acute
or chronic liver disease and should be evaluated by their
2. If a woman has not been screened prenatally of if test results
are not available at the time of admission for delivery, HBsAg testing should
be done at the time of admission, or as soon as possible thereafter. If the
mother is identified as HBsAg-positive >>1 month after giving birth, the
infant should be tested fir HBsAg. If the results are negative, the infant
should be given HBIG and hepatitis B vaccine.
3. Following all initial positive tests for HBsAg, a repeat test
for HBsAg should be performed on the same specimen, followed by a
confirmatory test using a neutralization assay. For women in labor who did
not have HBsAg testing during pregnancy and who are found to be
HBsAg-positive on first testing, initiation of treatment of their infants
should not be delayed by more than 24 hours for repeat or confirmatory
4. Infants born to HBsAg-positive mother should receive HBIG (0.5
ml) intramuscularly once they are physiologically stable, preferably within
12 hours of birth (Table 4). Hepatitis B vaccine should be administered
intramuscularly at the appropriate infant dose. The first does should be
given concurrently with HBIG but at a different site. If vaccine is not
immediately available, the first dose should be given as soon as possible.
Subsequent doses should be given as recommended for the specific vaccine.
Testing infants for HBsAg and ant-HBs is recommended when they are 12-15
moths of age to monitor the success or failure of therapy. If HBsAg is not
detectable and anti-HBs is present, children can be considered protected.
Testing for ant-HBc is not useful, since maternal anti-HBc can persists for
>>1 year. HBIG and hepatitis B vaccination do not interfere with routine
childhood vaccinations. Breast-feeding poses no risk of HBV infection for
infants who have begun prophylaxis.
5. Household members and sexual partners of HBV carriers identified
through prenatal screening should be tested to determine susceptibility to
HBV infection, and, if susceptible, should receive hepatitis B
TABLE 4. Hepatitis B virus postexposure recommendations
RECOMMENDED RECOMMENDED EXPOSURE DOSE
TIMING DOSE TIMING Perinatal 0.5 ml IM Within
12 hoous 0.5 ml IM(*) Within 12 hours of birth of
Sexual 0.06 ml/kg IM Single dose 1.0 ml IM(*) First dose at
within 14 days time of HBIG of last
sexual treatment (t) contact
(*) For appropriate age-specific doses of each vaccine, see Table 3. t The
first dose can be given the same time as the HBIG dose but in a different
site; subsequent doses should be given as recommended for specific vaccine.
6. Obstetric and pediatric staff should be notified directly about
HBsAg-positive mother so that neonates can receive therapy without delay
after birth and follow-up doses of vaccine can be given. Programs to
coordinate the activities of persons providing prenatal care, hospital-based
obstetrical services, and pediatric well-baby care must be established to
assure proper follow-up and treatment both of infants born to HBsAg-positive
mothers and of other susceptible household and sexual contacts.
7. In those populations under U.S. jurisdiction in which hepatitis
B infection is highly endemic (including certain Alaskan Natives, Pacific
Island group and refugees from highly endemic areas accepted for resettlement
in the United States), universal vaccination of newborns with hepatitis B
vaccine is the recommended strategy for hepatitis B control. HBsAg screening
of mothers and use of HBIG for infants born to HBV-carrier mother may be
added to routine hepatitis B vaccination when practical, but screening and
HBIG alone will not adequately protect children from HBV infection in endemic
areas. In such areas, hepatitis B vaccine doses should be integrated into
the childhood vaccination schedule. More extensive programs of childhood
hepatitis B vaccination should be considered if resources are
Acute Exposure to Blood That Contains (or Might Contain) HBsAg
For accidental percutaneous (needle stick, laceration, or bite) or
permucosal (ocular or mucous-membrane) exposure to blood, the decision to
provide prophylaxis must include consideration of several factors: 1) where
the source of the blood is available, b) the HBsAg status of the source, and
c) the hepatitis B vaccination and vaccine-response status of the exposed
person. Such exposures usually affect persons for whom hepatitis B vaccine
is recommended. For any exposure of a person not previously vaccinated,
hepatitis B vaccination is recommended.
Following any such exposure, a blood sample should be obtained from the
person who was the source of the exposure and should be tested for HBsAg.
The hepatitis B vaccination status and anti-HBs response status (if known) of
the exposed person should be reviewed. The outline below and Table 5
summarize prophylaxis for percutaneous or permucosal exposure to blood
according to the HBsAg status of the source of exposure and the vaccination
status and vaccine response of the exposed person.
For greatest effectiveness, passive prophylaxis with HBIG, when indicated,
should be given as soon as possible after exposure (its value beyond 7 days
after exposure is unclear).
1. Source of exposure HBsAg-positive a. Exposed person has not
been vaccinated or has not completed vaccination. Hepatitis B vaccination
should be initiated. A single dose of HBIG (0.06 ml/kg) should be given as
soon as possible after exposure and within 24 hours, if possible. The first
dose of hepatitis B vaccine (Table 3) should be given intramuscularly at a
separate site (deltoid for adults) and can be given simultaneously with HBIG
or within 7 days of exposure. Subsequent doses should be given as
recommended for the specific vaccine. If the exposed person has begun but
not completed vaccination, one dose of HBIG should be given immediately, and
vaccination should be completed as scheduled.
b. Exposed persons has already bee vaccinated against hepatitis
B, and anti-HBs response status is known. (1) If the exposed person is known
to have had adequate response in the past, the anti-HBs level should be
tested unless an adequate level has been demonstrated within the last 24
months. Although current data show that vaccines-induced protection does not
decrease as antibody level wanes, most experts consider the following
approach to be prudent. a) If anti-HBs level is adequate, no treatment is
b) If anti-HBs level is inadequate (*) a booster dose of
hepatitis B vaccine should be given.
(2) If the exposed persons is known not to have responded to
the primary vaccine series, the exposed person should be given either a
single dose of HBIG and a dose of hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible
after exposure, or two doses of HBIG (0.06 m/kg), one given as soon as
possible after exposure and the second 1 month later. The latter treatment
is preferred for those who have failed to respond to at least four doses of
(*) An adequate antibody level is >>10 milliInternational Units (mIU)/ml,
approximately equivalent to 10 sample ratio units (SRU) by RIA or positive by
TABLE 5. Recommendations for hepatitis B prophylaxis following
percutaneous or permucosal exposure
Treatment when source is found to be:
Source not + tested Exposed person HBsAg-positive
HBsAg-negative or unknown Unvaccinated HBIG x 1 (*) and
Initiate HB Initiate HB initiate HB vaccine (t) vaccine
(t) vaccine (t)
Previously vaccinated Test exposed No treatment No treatment
Known responder for anti-HBs
1. If adequate (s)
2. If inadequate,
Known HBIG x 2 or No treatment If known high
nonresponder HBIG x 1 plus 1 risk source, may
dose HB vaccine treat as if source were HBsAg-positive
Response unknown Test exposed No treatment Test exposed for
for anti-HBs anti-HBs 1. If
inadequate, (s) 1. If inadequate HBIG x 1 plus HB
(s), HB vaccine vaccine booster dose booster dose 2. If
adequate, no 2. If adequate, no treatment
(*) HBIG dose 0.06 ml/kg IM. (t) HB vaccine dose - see Table 3. (s)
Adequate anti-HBs is >>10 SRU by RIA or positive by EIA.
c. Exposed person has already been vaccinated against hepatitis
B, and the anti-HBs response is unknown. The exposed person should be tested
for anti-HBs. (1) If the exposed person has adequate antibody, no additional
treatment is necessary.
(2) If the exposed person ha inadequate antibody on testing,
one dose of HBIG (0.06 ml/kg) should be given immediately and a standard
booster dose of vaccine (Table 3) given at a different site.
2. Source of exposure known and HBsAg-negative a. Exposed person
has not been vaccinated or has not completed vaccination. If unvaccinated,
the exposed person should be given the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine
within 7 days of exposure, and vaccination should be completed as
recommended. If the exposed person has not completed vaccination, vaccination
should be completed as scheduled.
b. Exposed person has already been vaccinated against hepatitis
B. No treatment is necessary.
3. Source of exposure unknown or not available for testing a.
Exposed person has not been vaccinated or has not completed vaccination. If
unvaccinated, the exposed person should be given the first dose of hepatitis
B vaccine within 7 days of exposure, and vaccination completed as
recommended. If the exposed person has not completed vaccination,
vaccination should be completed as scheduled.
b. Exposed person has already been vaccinated against hepatitis
B, and anti-HBs response status is known.
(1) If the exposed person is known to have had adequate
response in the past, no treatment is necessary.
(2) If the exposed person is known not to have responded to the
vaccine, prophylaxis as described earlier in section I.b.(2) under "Source of
exposure HBsAg-positive" may be considered if the source of the exposure is
known to be at high risk of HBV infection.
c. Exposure person has already been vaccinated against
hepatitis B, and the anti-HBs response is unknown. The exposed person should
be tested for anti-HBs. (1) If the exposed person has adequate anti-HBs, no
treatment is necessary.
(2) If the exposed person has inadequate anti-HBs, a standard
booster dose of vaccine should be given.
Sexual Partners of Persons with Acute HBV Infection
Sexual partners of HBsAg-positive persons are at increased risk of acquiring
HBV infection, and HBIG has been shown to be 75% effective in preventing such
infections (56). Because data are limited, the period after sexual exposure
during which HBIG is effective is unknown, but extrapolation from other
settings makes it unlikely that this period would exceed 14 days. Before
treatment, testing of sexual partners for susceptibility is recommended if it
does not delay treatment beyond 14 days after last exposure. Testing for
anti-HBc is the most efficient prescreening test to use in this population.
All susceptible persons whose sexual partners have acute hepatitis B
infection or whose sexual partners are discovered to be hepatitis B carriers
should receive a single dose of HBIG (0.06 ml/kg) and should begin the
hepatitis B vaccine series if prophylaxis can be started with 14 days of the
last sexual contact, or if ongoing sexual contact with the infected person
will occur. Giving the vaccine with HBIG may improve the efficacy of
postexposure treatment. The vaccine has the added advantage of conferring
An alternative treatment for persons who are not from a high risk group for
whom vaccine is routinely recommended and whose regular sexual partners have
acute HBV infection is to give one dose of HBIG (without vaccine) and retest
the sexual partner for HBsAg 3 months later. No further treatment is
necessary if the sexual partner becomes HBsAg-negative. If the sexual
partner remains HBsAg-positive, a second dose of HBIG should be given and the
hepatitis vaccine series started.
Household Contacts of Persons with Acute HBV Infection
Since infants have close contact with primary care givers and they have a
higher risk of becoming HBV carriers after acute HBV infection, prophylaxis
of an infant < < 12 months of age with HBIG (0.5 ml) and hepatitis B vaccine
is indicated if the mother or primary care giver has acute HBV infection.
Prophylaxis for other household contacts of persons with acute HBV infection
is not indicated unless they have had identifiable blood exposure to the
index patient, such as by sharing toothbrushes or razors. Such exposures
should be treated similarly to sexual exposures. If the index patient
becomes an HBV carrier, all household contacts should be given hepatitis B
The delta virus (also known as hepatitis D virus [HDV]) is a defective virus
that may cause infection only in the presence of active HBV infection. The
HDV is a 35- to 37-nm viral particle, consisting of single-stranded RNA (mw
500,000) and an internal protein antigen (delta antigen [HDAg]), coated with
HBsAg as the surface protein (5). Infection may occur as either coinfection
with HBV or superinfection of an HBV carrier, each of which usually causes an
episode of clinical acute hepatitis. Coinfection usually resolves, whereas
superinfection frequently causes chronic HDV infection and chronic active
hepatitis. Both types of infection may cause fulminant hepatitis.
HDV infection may be diagnosed by detecting HDAg in serum during early
infection and by the appearance of total of IgM-specific delta antibody
(anti-HDV) during or after infection. A test for detection or total anti-HDV
is commercially available. Other tests (HDAg, IgM anti-HDV) are available
only in researched laboratories.
Routes of transmission HDV are similar to those of HBV. In the United
States, HDV infection most commonly affects persons at high risk of HBV
infection, particularly parenteral drug abusers and persons with hemophilia.
Since HDV is dependent on HBV for replication, prevention of hepatitis B
infection, either preexposure or postexposure, will suffice to prevent HDV
infection for a person susceptible to hepatitis B. Known episodes of
perinatal, sexual, or percutaneous exposure to serum or exposure to persons
known to be positive for both HBV and HDV should be treated exactly as such
exposures to HBV alone.
Persons who are HBsAg carriers are at risk of HDV infection, especially if
they participate in activities that put them at high risk of repeated
exposure to HBV (parenteral drug abuse, male homosexual activity). However,
at present no products are available that might prevent HDV infection in
HBsAg carriers either before or after exposure.
NON-A, NON-B HEPATITIS
Parenterally Transmitted (PT) Non-A, Non-B Hepatitis
Parenterally transmitted non-a, non-B hepatitis accounts for 20%=-40% of
acute viral hepatitis in the United States and has epidemiologic
characteristics similar to those of hepatitis B (60). Recently, a portion of
the genome of a virus thought to be responsible for PT non-A, non-B hepatitis
was cloned (2). A candidate serologic assay for antibody to this virus
(proposed as hepatitis C virus) has been developed. This assay appears to
detect a substantial number of persons with chronic infection and is being
evaluated for screening potential blood donors (3). Although PT non-A, non-B
hepatitis has traditionally been considered a transfusion-associated disease,
most reported cases have not been associated with blood transfusion (61-64).
Groups at high risk of acquiring this disease include transfusion recipients,
parenteral drug users, an dialysis patients (62,63). Health-care work that
entails frequent contact with blood, personal contact with other who have had
hepatitis in the past, an contact with infected persons within households
have also been documented in some studies as risk factors for acquiring PT
non-A, non-B hepatitis (63-65). However, the role of persons-to-person
contact in disease transmission has not been well defined, and the importance
of sexual activity in the transmission of this type of hepatitis is unclear.
Multiple episode of non-A, non-B hepatitis have been observed among the same
individuals and may be due to different bloodborne agents. An average of 50%
of patients who have acute PT non-A, non-B hepatitis infection later develop
chronic hepatitis (66). Experimental studies of chimpanzees have confirmed
the existence of a carrier state, which may be present in 1%-3% of the
The risk and consequences of perinatal transmission of PT non-A, non-B
hepatitis are not well defined. Only one small study has been published in
which infants born of 12 women who had acute PT non-A, non-B hepatitis during
pregnancy were followed. Six infants developed transient alanine
aminotransferase (ALT) elevations at 4-8 weeks of age (69).
The results have been equivocal in several studies attempting to assess the
value of prophylaxis with IGs against PT non-A, non-B hepatitis (70-72). For
persons with percutaneous exposure to blood from a patient with PT non-A,
non-B hepatitis, it may be reasonable to administer IG (0.06 ml.kg) as soon
as possible after exposure. In other circumstances, no specific
recommendations can be made.
Enterically Transmitted (ET) Non-A, Non-B Hepatitis
A distinct type of non-A, non-B hepatitis acquired by the fecal-oral route
was first identified through investigations of large waterborne epidemics in
developing countries. This ET non-A, non-B hepatitis, which has occurred in
epidemics or sporadically in parts of Asia, North and West Africa, and
Mexico, is serologically distinct from other known hepatitis viruses (4,73).
Young to middle-aged adults are most often affected, with an unusually high
mortality rate among pregnant women. The disease has been transmitted to
experimental animals, and candidates viruses have been identified; however,
no serologic tests have yet been developed (74).
ET non-A, non-B hepatitis has not been recognized as an endemic disease in
the United States or Western Europe, and it is unknown whether the causative
agent is present in these areas. Cases have been documented, however, among
persons returning from travel to countries in which this disease occurs (75).
Travelers to areas having ET non-A, non-B hepatitis may be at some risk of
acquiring this disease by close contact with infected persons or by consuming
contaminated food or water. There is no evidence that U.S.-manufactured IG
will prevent this infection. As with hepatitis A and other enteric
infection, the best means of preventing ET non-A, non-B hepatitis is avoiding
potentially contaminated food or water.
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hepatitis A, B, and non-A, non-B: a review. Epidemiol Rev 1979;1: 17-31.
2. Choo Q-L, Kuo G, Weiner AJ, et al. Isolation of a cDNA clone derived
from a blood-borne non-A, non-B hepatitis genome. Science 1989;24: 359-62.
3. Kuo G, Choo Q-L, Alter HJ, et al. An assay for circulating antibodies
to a major etiologic virus of human non-A, non-B hepatitis. Science
4. Ramalingaswami V, Purcell RH. Waterborne non-A, non-b hepatitis.
Lancet 1988;1: 571-3.
5. Rizzetto M. The delta agent. Hepatology 1983;3: 729-37. 6. CDC.
Safety of therapeutic immune globulin preparations with respect to
transmission of human T-lymphotropic virus type
III/lymphadenopathy-associated virus infection. MMWR 1986;35: 231-3.
7. Wells MA, Wittek AE, Epstein JS, et al. Inactivation and partition of
human T-cell lymphotropic virus, type III, during ethanol fractionation of
plasma. Transfusion 1986;26: 210-3.
8. Tedder RS, Uttley A, Cheingsong-Popov R. Safety of immunoglobulin
preparation containing anti-HTLV-III [Letter]. Lancet 1985;1: 815.
9. CDC. hepatitis A among drug abusers. MMWR 1988;37: 297-300,305. 10.
Noble RC, Kane MA, Reeves SA, et al. Posttransfusion hepatitis A in a
neonatal intensive care unit. JAMA 1984;252: 2711-5.
11. Kluge I. Gamma-globulin in the prevention of viral hepatitis: a study
of the effect of medium-size doses. Acta Med Scand 1963;174: 469-77.
12. Stokes J Jr, Neefe JR. Prevention and attenuation of infectious
hepatitis by gamma globulin; preliminary note. JAMA 1945;127: 144-5.
13. Mosley JW, Reisler DM, Brachott D, Roth D, Weiser J. Comparison of two
lots of immune serum globulin for prophylaxis of infectious hepatitis. Am J
Epidemiol 1968;87: 539-50.
14. Woodson RD, Cahill KM. Viral hepatitis abroad. Incidence in Catholic
missionaries. JAMA 1971;219: 1191-3.
15. Woodson RD, Clinton JJ. Hepatitis prophylaxis abroad. Effectiveness of
immune serum globulin in protecting Peace Corps volunteers. JAMA 1969;209:
16. Steffen R, Rickenbach M, Wilhelm U, Helminger A, Schar M. Health
problems after travel to developing countries. J Infect Dis 1987;156:
17. CDC. Health information for international travel 1989 Atlanta: CDC,
1989; HHS publication no. (CDC) 89-8280.
18. Storch G, McFarland LM, Kelso K, Heilman CJ. Caraway CT. Viral
hepatitis associated with day-care centers. JAMA 1979;242: 1514-8.
19. Hadler SC, Webster HM, Erben JJ, Swanson JE, Maynard JE. Hepatitis A in
day-care centers. A community-wide assessment. N Engl J Med 1980;302:
20. Hadler SC, Erben JJ, Matthews D, Starko K, Francis DP, Maynard JE.
Effect of immunoglobulin on hepatitis A in day care centers. JAMA 1983;249:
21. Favero MS, Maynard JE, Leger RT, Graham DR, Dixon RE. Guidelines for
the care of patients hospitalized with viral hepatitis. Ann Intern Med
22. Carl M, Francis DP, Maynard JE. Food-borne hepatitis A:
recommendations for control. J Infect Dis 1983;148: 1133-5.
23. Lettau LA, Smith JD, Williams D, et al. Transmission of hepatitis B
with resultant restriction of surgical practice. JAMA 1986;255: 934-7.
24. Kane MA, Lettau L. Transmission of HBV from dental personnel to
patients. JADA 1985;110: 634-6.
25. Maynard JE, Kane MA, Hadler SC. Global control of hepatitis B through
vaccination: role of hepatitis B vaccine in the expanded programme on
immunization. Rev Infect Dis 1989;11(S3): S574-8.
26. McQuillan GM, Townsend TR, Fields HA, et al. Seroepidemiology of
hepatitis B virus infection in the United States: 1976 to 1980. Am J Med
27. CDC. Prevention of perinatal transmission of hepatitis B virus:
prenatal screening of all pregnant women for hepatitis B surface antigen.
MMWR 1988;37: 341-6,351.
28. Francis DP, Feorino PM, McDougal S, et al. The safety of hepatitis B
vaccine: inactivation of the AIDS virus during routine vaccine manufacture.
JAMA 1986;256: 869-72.
29. Zajac BA, West DJ, McAleer WJ, Scolnick EM. Overview of clinical
studies with hepatitis B vaccine made by recombinant DNA. J Infect
1986;13(suppl A): 39-45.
30. Andre FE, Safary A. Clinical experience with a yeast-derived hepatitis
B vaccine. In: Zuckerman AJ, ed. Viral hepatitis and liver disease. New
York, Alan R. Liss, 1988: 1023-30.
31. Szmuness W, Stevens CE, Harley EJ, et al. Hepatitis B vaccine:
demonstration of efficacy in a controlled clinical trial in a high-risk
population in the United States. N Engl J Med 1980;303: 833-41.
32. CDC. Suboptimal response to hepatitis B vaccine given by injection
into the buttock. MMWR 1985;34: 105-13.
33. Stevens CE, Alter HJ, Taylor PE, et al. Hepatitis B vaccine in
patients receiving hemodialysis. Immunogenicity and efficacy. N Engl J Med
34. Collier AC, Corey L, Murphy VL, Handsfield HH. Antibody to human
immunodeficiency virus and suboptimal response to hepatitis B vaccination.
Ann Intern Med 1988;109: 101-5.
35. Stevens CE, Taylor PE, Tong MJ, et al. Yeast-recombinant hepatitis B
vaccine: efficacy with hepatitis B immune globulin in prevention of
perinatal hepatitis B virus transmission. JAMA 1987;257: 2612-6.
36. Hadler SC, Francis DP, Maynard JE, et al. Long term immunogenicity and
efficacy of hepatitis B vaccine in homosexual men. N Engl J Med 1986;315:
37. Wainwright RB, McMahon BJ, Bulkow LR, et al. Duration of
immunogenicity and efficacy of hepatitis B vaccine in a Yupik Eskimo
population. JAMA 1989;261: 2362-6.
38. Hadler SC. Are booster doses of hepatitis B vaccine necessary? Ann
Intern Med 1988;109: 457-8.
39. Redfield RR, Innis BL, Scott RM, Cannon HG, Bancroft WH. Clinical
evaluation of low-dose intradermally administered hepatitis B vaccine, a cost
reduction strategy. JAMA 1985;254: 3203-6.
40. Shaw FE, Graham DJ, Guess HA, et al. Postmarketing surveillance for
neurologic adverse events reported after hepatitis B vaccination. Experience
of the first three years. Am J Epidemiol 1988;127: 337-52.
41. Dienstag JL, Stevens CE, Bhan AK, et al. Hepatitis B vaccine
administered to chronic carriers of hepatitis B surface antigen. Ann Intern
Med 1982;96: 575-9.
42. Szmuness W, Stevens CE, Oleszko WR, et al. Passive-active immunization
against hepatitis B: immunogenicity studies in adult Americans. Lancet
43. CDC. Guidelines for prevention of transmission of human
immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B virus to health-care and public-safety
workers. MMWR 1989;38(no.S-6).
44. Breuer B, Friedman SM, Millner ES, et al. Transmission of hepatitis B
in school contacts of retarded HBsAg carriers. JAMA 1985;254: 3190-5.
45. CDC. Routine screening for viral hepatitis in chronic hemodialysis
centers. hepatitis Surveillance Report No. 49. Atlanta: CDC, 1985 5-6.
46. Seaworth B, Drucker J, Drucker R, Steves C, Hamilton J. hepatitis B
vaccine in patients with chronic renal failure before dialysis. J Infect Dis
47. Hershow RC, Hadler SC, Kane MA,: Adoption of children from countries
with endemic hepatitis B: transmission risks and medical issues. Pediatr
Infect Dis J 1987;6: 431-7.
48. Franks AL, Berg CJ, Kane MA, et al. Hepatitis B virus infection among
children born in the United States to Southeast Asian refugees. N Engl J Med
49. Beasley RP, Hwang L-Y, Lee GC, et al. Prevention of perinatally
transmitted hepatitis B virus infections with hepatitis B immune globulin and
hepatitis B vaccine. Lancet 1983;2: 1099-102.
50. Wong VCW, Ip HMH, Reesing HW, et al. Prevention of the HBsAg carrier
state in newborn infants of mother who are chronic carriers of HBsAg and
HBeAg by administration of hepatitis-B vaccine and hepatitis-B
immunoglobulin: double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study. Lancet
51. Stevens CE, Toy PT, Tong MJ, et al. Perinatal hepatitis B virus
transmission in the United States: prevention by passive-active
immunization. JAMA 1985;253: 1740-5.
52. Beasley RP, Hwang LY, Stevens CE, et al. Efficacy of hepatitis B
immune globulin for prevention of perinatal transmission of the hepatitis B
virus carrier state: final report of a randomized double-blind,
placebo-controlled trial. Hepatology 1983;3: 135-41.
53. Xu ZY, Liu CB, Francis DP, et al. Prevention of perinatal acquisition
of hepatitis B virus carriage using vaccine: preliminary report of a
randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled and comparative trial. Pediatrics
54. Seef LB, Wright EC, Zimmerman HJ, et al. Type B hepatitis after
needlestick exposure: prevention with hepatitis B immune globulin. Final
report of the Veterans Administration Cooperative Study. Ann Intern med
55. Grady GF, Lee VA, Prince AM, et al. Hepatitis B immune globulin for
accidental exposures among medical personnel: final report of a multicenter
controlled trial. J Infect Dis 1978;138: 625-38.
56. Redeker AG, Mosley JW, Gocke DJ, McKee AP, Pollack W. Hepatitis B
immune globulin as a prophylactic measure for spouses exposed to acute type B
hepatitis. N Engl J Med 1975;293: 1055-9.
57. Beasley RP, Hwang L-Y. Epidemiology of hepatocellular carcinoma. In:
Vyas GN, Dienstag JL, Hoofnagle JH, eds. Viral hepatitis and liver disease.
new York: Grune & Stratton, 1984: 209-24.
58. Sinatra FR, Shah P, Weissman JY, Thomas DW, Merritt RJ, Tong MJ.
Perinatal transmitted acute icteric hepatitis B in infants born to hepatitis
B surface antigen-positive and anti-hepatitis Be-positive carrier mothers.
Pediatrics 1982;70: 557-9.
59. Delaplane D, Yogev R, Crussi F, Schulman ST. Fatal hepatitis B in
early infancy: the importance of identifying HBsAg-positive pregnant women
and providing immunoprophylaxis to their newborns. Pediatrics 1983;72:
60. Alter MJ, Hadler SC, francis DP, Maynard JE. The epidemiology of
non-A, non-B hepatitis in the United States. In: Dodd TY, Barker LF, eds.
Infection, immunity, and blood transfusion. New York: Alan R. Liss, Inc,
61. Alter HJ, Purcell RH, Holland PV, et al. Clinical and serological
analysis of transfusion-associated hepatitis. Lancet 1975;2: 838-41.
62. Dienstag JL. Non-A, non-B hepatitis. I. Recognition, epidemiology,
and clinical features. Gastroenterology 1983;85: 439-62.
63. Alter MJ, Gerety RJ, Smallwood LA, et al. Sporadic non-A, non-B
hepatitis: frequency and epidemiology in an urban U.S. population. J Infect
Dis 1982;145: 886-93.
64. Alter MJ, Coleman PJ, Alexander WJ, et al. Importance of heterosexual
activity in the transmission of hepatitis B and non-A, non-B hepatitis. JAMA
65. Guyer B, Bradley DW, Bryan JA, Maynard JE. Non-A, non-B hepatitis
among participants in a plasmapheresis stimulation program. J Infect Dis
66. Dienstag JL, Alter HJ. Non-A, non-B hepatitis: evolving epidemiologic
and clinical perspectives. Semin Liver Dis 1986;6: 67-81.
67. Tabor E, Seeff LB, Gerety RJ. Chronic non-A, non-B hepatitis carrier
state: transmissible agent documented in one patient over a six-year period.
N Engl J Med 1980;303: 140-3.
68. Aach RD, Szmuness W, Mosley JW, et al. Serum alanine aminotransferase
of donors in relation to the risk of non-A, non-B hepatitis in recipients:
the Transfusion-Transmitted Viruses Study. N Engl J Med 1981;304: 989-94.
69. Tong MJ, Thursby M, Rakela J, et al. Studies on the maternal-infant
transmission of the viruses which cause acute hepatitis. Gastroenterology
References 70 through 75 may be obtained by writing to the Hepatitis Branch,
Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases,
Mailstop A33, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga. 30333.
Biological Safety Cabinets
Biological safety cabinets are among the most effective, as well as the most
commonly used, primary containment devices in laboratories working with
infectious agents. Each of the three types--Class I, II, III---has
performance characteristics which are described in this appendix. In
addition to the design, construction, and performance standards for vertical
laminar flow biological safety cabinets (Class II), the National Sanitation
Foundation has also developed a list of such products which meet the
reference standard. Utilization of this standard80 and list should be the
first step in selection and procurement of a biological safety cabinet.
Class I and II biological safety cabinets, when used in conjunction with
good microbiological techniques, provide an effective partial containment
system for safe manipulation of moderate and high-risk microorganisms (i.e.,
Biosafety Level 2 and 3 agents). Both Class I and II biological safety
cabinets have comparable inward face velocities (75 linear feet per minute)
and provide comparable levels of containment in protecting the laboratory
worker and the immediate laboratory environment from infectious aerosols
generated within the cabinet.
It is imperative that Class I and II biological safety cabinets are tested
and certified in situ at the time of installation within the laboratory, at
any time the BSC is moved, and at least annually thereafter. Certification
at location other than the final site may attest to the performance
capability of the individual cabinet or model, but does not supersede the
critical certification prior to use in the laboratory.
As with any other piece of laboratory equipment, personnel must be trained
in the proper use of the biological safety cabinets. Of particular note are
those activities which may disrupt the inward directional airflow through the
work opening of Class I and II cabinets. Repeated insertion and withdrawal of
the workers' arms in and from the work chamber, opening and closing doors to
the laboratory or isolation cubicle, improper placement or operation of
materials or equipment within the work chamber, or brisk walking past the BSC
while it is in use are demonstrated causes of the escape of aerosolized
particles from within the cabinet. Strict adherence to recommended practices
for the use of biological safety cabinets is as important in attaining the
maximum containment capability of the equipment as is the mechanical
performance of the equipment itself.
Horizontal laminar flow "clean benches" are present in a number of clinical,
pharmacy, and laboratory facilities. These "clean benches" provide a high
quality environment within the work chamber for manipulation of nonhazardous
materials. Caution: Since the operator sits in the immediate downstream
exhaust from the "clean bench", this equipment must never be used for the
handling of toxic, infectious, or sensitizing materials.
The Class I biological safety cabinet is an open-fronted, negative-pressure,
ventilated cabinet with a minimum inward face velocity at the work opening of
at least 75 feet per minute. The exhaust air from the cabinet is filtered by
a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This cabinet may be used in
three operational modes: with a full-width open front, with an installed
front closure panel not equipped with gloves, and with an installed front
closure panel equipped with arm-length rubber gloves.
The Class II vertical laminar-flow biological cabinet is an open-fronted,
ventilated cabinet with an average inward face velocity at the work opening
of at least 75 feet per minute. This cabinet provides a HEPA-filtered,
recirculated mass airflow within the work space. The exhaust air from the
cabinet is also filtered by HEPA filters. Design, construction, and
performance standards for Class II cabinets have been developed by and are
available from the National Sanitation Foundation, Ann Arbor, Michigan.80 The
Class III cabinet is a totally enclosed ventilated cabinet of gas-tight
construction. Operations within the Class II cabinet are conducted through
attached rubber gloves. When in use, the Class III cabinet is maintained
under negative air pressure of at least 0.5 inches water gauge. Supply air
is drawn into the cabinet through HEPA filters. The cabinet exhaust air is
filtered by two HEPA filters, installed in series, before discharge outside
of the facility. The exhaust fan for the Class III cabinet is generally
separate from the exhaust fans of the facility's ventilation system.
Personnel protection provided by Class I and Class II cabinets is dependent
on the inward airflow. Since the face velocities are similar, they generally
provide an equivalent level of personnel protection. The use of these
cabinets alone, however, is not appropriate for containment of highest-risk
infectious agents because aerosols may accidentally escape through the open
The use of a Class II cabinet in the microbiological laboratory offer the
additional capability and advantage of protecting materials contained within
it from extraneous airborne contaminants. This capability is provided by the
HEP-filtered, recirculated mass airflow within the work space.
The Class III cabinet provides the highest level of personnel and product
protection. This protection is provided by the physical isolation of the
space in which the infectious agent is maintained. When these cabinets are
required, all procedures involving infectious agents are contained within
them. Several Class III cabinets are there fore typically set up as an
interconnected system. All equipment required by the laboratory activity,
such as incubators, refrigerators, and centrifuges, must be an integral part
of the cabinet system. Double-doored autoclaves and chemical dunk tanks are
also attached to the cabinet system to allow supplies and equipment to be
safely introduced and removed.
Personnel protection equivalent to that provided by Class III cabinets can
also be obtained with a personnel suit areas and Class I or Class II
cabinets. This is one in which the laboratory worker is protected from a
potentially contaminated environment by a one-piece positive pressure suit
ventilated by a life-support system. This area is entered through an airlock
fitted with airtight doors. A chemical shower is provided to decontaminate
the surfaces of the suit as the worker leaves the area. The exhaust air from
the suit area is filtered by two HEPA filter units installed in series.
Source: "Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories," U.W.
Department of Health and Human Services, Publication No. (NIH) 88-8395, May
(For Figure 1 through 3, see printed copy)
(For Appendix D, see printed copy)
NO LABEL RED COLOR-CODED
Item REQUIRED BIOHAZARD LABEL CONTAINER
Regulated X or X waste container
Reusable X or X contaminated
Refrigerator/ X freezer holding blood or other
potentially infectious material (opim).
Containers used X or X for storage,
transport, or shipping of blood or opim.
Blood/blood X products released for clinical use.
Individual X (1) or X or X specimen
containers of blood or opim remaining in facility.
Specimens X or X shipped from
the primary facility to another facility.
Individual X containers of blood or opim placed in labeled
container during storage, transport, shipment, or disposal.
Contaminated X (2) need servicing or shipping.
Contaminated X (3) or X or X laundry.
Laundry sent X or X to another
facility that does not use universal precautions.
(1) Labels are not be required if universal precautions are used in handling
all specimens and container are recognizable as containing specimens. (2)
Specifying, in addition, the location of the contamination. (3) Alternative
label or color code must be used when facility uses UP in handling all soiled
laundry and employees can recognize containers as requiring compliance with
EFFECTIVE 60 90 120
ITEM DATE DAYS DAYS DAYS
Exposure Control 5/5/92 Plan
Information and 6/4/92 Training
Engineering/Work 7/6/92 Practice
Personal 7/6/92 Protective
HB Vaccination 7/6/92 and
Labels and Signs 7/6/92
(1) OSHA Instruction CPL 2.244B shall remain in effect for complain
inspections until the effective dates of the requirements of 29 CFR
(*) U.S. Government Printing Office: 1992--312-410/64773
NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.