Research Article

Hepatitis B virus infection in dental surgical practice.

Br Med J 1976; 2 doi: (Published 04 September 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;2:559
  1. G F Goubran,
  2. H Cullens,
  3. A J Zuckerman,
  4. A L Feddleston,
  5. R Williams


    Sixty-one dental surgeons at King's College Hospital were interviewed to establish the incidence of attacks of viral hepatitis and to relate this to environmental risk factors. Six (10%) had a history of hepatitis, in one case due to infection with the hepatitis B virus. Screening blood for HBsAg by radioimmunoassay showed no carriers of the antigen, but transient antigenaemia was observed in one dentist. Antibody to HBsAg, tested by radioimmunoassay, was detected in four dentists (7%), only one of whom had had clinical hepatitis. Dental surgeons may be more at risk from infection with the hepatitis B virus than the general population, although this should be minimised in hospital practice, where the most infected patients will already have been identified and appropriate precautions can be taken. The risk of transmission from an antigen-positive dentist to his patients is probably much smaller, and there is no evidence to restrict his clinical activities.