Surgeon had mutant form of hepatitis B

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 28 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:771

Virologists have identified that a surgeon with hepatitis B who was allowed to operate and infected a patient who subsequently died had a highly infectious form of the disease (see BMJ, 7 September, p 576). The discovery has prompted calls for a reappraisal of the Department of Health's guidelines.

A team from University College Hospital, London, and the Public Health Laboratory Service found that the doctor had a new mutant variation of the virus. The locum orthopaedic registrar was a known carrier of the disease and was twice tested and found to have low concentrations of the virus in his blood. Under the Department of Health's guidelines this allowed him to work.

After the woman's death he was tested again and detailed …

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