Having diabetes ups hepatitis B risk

Dec. 22, 2011 at 11:32 PM
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ATLANTA, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- People with diabetes are at increased risk of hepatitis B infection, so infection control during glucose monitoring is essential, U.S. health officials say.

A report published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said exposure to small -- or even invisible -- amounts of blood from an infected person who had used a shared medical or glucose-monitoring device can cause infection.

"Hepatitis B virus can infect the body fluids of persons who do not know they carry it," the report said. "The virus is stable outside the body and easily transmitted. Exposures can occur, for example, when finger-stick devices or blood glucose monitors designed for one individual are used for more than one person without appropriate cleaning or infection control practice."

For this reason, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the CDC, recommended hepatitis B vaccination for all unvaccinated adults with diabetes through age 59, and hepatitis B vaccination for older, unvaccinated adults with diabetes at the discretion of their physician.

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