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
The Victorian Standardised Student Induction Protocol requires students to have immunity to hepatitis B when undertaking clinical placement. Students must complete a full course of vaccination and then submit via Sonia serology indicating immunity to hepatitis B.
Students who are in the first year of their course may be eligible for placement after having received only two doses of hepatitis B vaccine. A vaccination record must be submitted via Sonia.
Students must be tested for current hepatitis B infection within 12 months prior to course commencement. Students who are likely to perform exposure prone procedures (for example, dental and oral health students) must have further testing every three years.
All students are required to seek immediate medical advice following any possible exposure, whether or not the exposure occurs during a study-related activity.
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 until the requirements of the Australian National Guidelines are satisfied.