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Surgery, AIDS, and Hepatitis B-Reply

Adelisa L. Panlilio, MD, MPH; David M. Bell, MD; Mary E. Chamberland, MD, MPH; Carl A. Perlino, MD
JAMA. 1991;266(10):1361-1362. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470100052029.
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In Reply.  —We agree with Dr Boscia that immunization against hepatitis B virus is the best means of protecting surgical personnel from this particular blood-borne pathogen.1 To protect against infection with other blood-borne pathogens, these personnel must also adopt measures to reduce blood contact, such as changes in surgical technique, personal protective equipment, and possibly surgical instruments.We agree with Dr Peterson that multiple factors probably affect the risk of transmission of a blood-borne pathogen through percutaneous injury, and that further studies are needed to evaluate the effect of various protective measures on health care worker safety and patient care. In our study, the frequency of percutaneous injury was highest for surgeons on the gynecology service; however, only 10 injuries were observed in this pilot study. Additional studies are needed to analyze the circumstances of blood contacts, including percutaneous injuries, and to devise and evaluate specific preventive measures. In


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