Hepatitis B is a viral infection that can lead to serious illness or death. You can get hepatitis B from any activity where the blood or body fluids of an infected person enter your own bloodstream. The virus may also be passed from a pregnant mother to her baby.
Some people may experience mild, flu-like symptoms and some will show no symptoms at all. Most adults who have hepatitis B recover completely and do not require ongoing treatment, however children with hepatitis B are more likely to develop liver disease or cancer in later life.
Immunisation is the best protection against hepatitis B. For adults, the vaccine is typically given in a 3-dose schedule over a six month period. 1-2 months after the final dose, you must be tested to ensure that immunity has been granted.
Requirements for students
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences students undertaking placement are required to have immunity to hepatitis B. Students must complete a full course of vaccination and then submit via Sonia Australian serology indicating immunity to hepatitis B.
Students must also be tested for current hepatitis B infection within 12 months prior to course commencement and seek immediate medical advice following any possible exposure, whether or not the exposure occurs during an occupation-related activity.
Dental and oral health students are required to be tested at least once annually for hepatitis B infection to reduce the risk of transmitting a blood-borne virus to a patient when performing exposure-prone procedures.
Students are not required to disclose any current infections to the University, however it is strongly recommended that concerned students arrange a confidential discussion with their course coordinator or other senior academic to discuss study and career implications.
Note: Health care workers, including students, must not perform exposure-prone procedures if they are infected with hepatitis B.