News in Brief: Week of Jan. 20-24

January 22, 2014 04:15 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs

[News in Brief]

CDC Updates Guidance on HBV Immunization for Health Care Personnel

Building on previous recommendations from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for evaluating hepatitis B virus (HBV) protection among health care personnel and administering postexposure prophylaxis, the CDC has provided explicit guidance( for individuals working, training or volunteering in health care settings who have documented HBV immunization years before hire or matriculation (i.e., those who were immunized in infancy or adolescence).

Because vaccine-induced antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) wanes in time, testing health care personnel for anti-HBs years after vaccination might not distinguish vaccine nonresponders from responders. Pre-exposure assessment of current or past anti-HBs results upon hire or matriculation, followed by one or more additional doses of HBV vaccine for workers with anti-HBs levels of less than 10 mIU/mL, if necessary, helps ensure that these individuals will be protected if they are exposed to HBV-containing blood or body fluids.

Facilities also should ensure that health care personnel have timely access to postexposure management and prophylaxis, including hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) and HBV vaccine. For exposed workers thought to be susceptible to infection, HBIG and HBV vaccine should be administered as soon as possible after an exposure. The effectiveness of HBIG when administered more than seven days after percutaneous, mucosal or nonintact skin exposures is unknown. HBIG and HBV vaccine may be administered simultaneously at separate injection sites.

Professional Organization Offers Guidance on Hospital Personnel Attire

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America( has offered an "expert guidance" document with recommendations on suitable attire for health care personnel who work in acute care hospital settings other than the operating room.

The guidance was published in the February issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology( and is online. Among other things, it addresses white lab coats, neckties, footwear, bare-below-the-elbows strategies and laundering of garments worn in the workplace.

Authors were particularly interested in sifting through literature for evidence that would point to possible contamination of personal attire and the potential for such attire to contribute to the transmission of pathogenic microorganisms in hospitals.

IOM Solicits Input for Study on Responsible Data-sharing

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is seeking public input for a study on how researchers can share data from clinical trials in a responsible manner. According to a Jan. 22 press release(, the IOM has released a discussion framework( that provides preliminary principles and definitions and poses key questions to solicit input from all possible stakeholders, including researchers, clinical trial sponsors and patients.

Comments may be submitted online( and should be in the committee's hands by March 24. The committee expects to release a final report with its recommendations on responsible data-sharing by late 2014.