Hepatitis B

Clinical picture

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).

The development of Hepatitis B infection can vary. Sometimes there are non-specific flu-like symptoms. Jaundice or itching can also occur.

90% heal, the remaining 10% become carriers of HBV and sometimes develop a chronic liver infection.

Additional information from the RIVM.

Infection route

Hepatitis B infection occurs through blood on blood contact and blood on mucous membrane contact (blood-contaminated bodily fluids on non-intact skin or mucous membranes), needle stick, bite, cut or splash incidents.


Contagious period

Carriers of the hepatitis B virus are contagious for life.


Incubation time

2 to 6 months.


Potential infectees

All staff who may become occupationally infected by HBV material (bodily fluids, patient material, needle stick, bite, cut or splash incidents).

More specific information on vulnerable groups can be found at www.kiza.nl



Pre-employment examination: potential infectors must be able to demonstrate that they are not HBV carriers.

Training: Staff must be provided with proper information about HBV infections and the prevention of infection by needle stick, cut, bite or splash incidents.

General measures: Follow the internal hygiene instructions.

Preference is given to safe puncture systems in which the used needle is (automatically) protected. Needle cups where the needle is easily and safely separated from the syringe by a slot in the lid or discarded. Never recap (never put the needle back in the sleeve).

Use disposable gloves and, in conditions where drops or mist spread through the air, consider a face shield and barrier aprons.

Vaccination: is offered to all potential infectees.

  • With a titre >10 U/L potential infectees are protected for life.
  • Is the titre
  • Potential infectors with a titre >10 and

Post-exposure policy

Every UMC has a needle stick incident protocol which provides that an employee can consult an expert 24 hours a day for a risk assessment of the incident and the necessary follow-up steps. It is important to report to the expert as soon as possible after an incident, preferably within two hours, with a maximum of 72 hours after the needle-needle stick incident. If necessary, specific immunoglobulin (HbIg) will be administered prophylactically if the staff member has been insufficiently vaccinated or a titre

Read more about the national needle stick incident guideline.

Potential infectors

Staff who can infect others by working in body cavities or the mouth without seeing their hands (according to national policy, iatrogenic hepatitis B committee).