The Hepatitis B vaccination is now recommended for all adults who have not Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, says the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The vaccination should be administered as soon as possible after adults in this age group are diagnosed with diabetes. Those adults with diabetes who are older than 59 can receive hepatitis B vaccination at the discretion of their doctor, the ACIP advises.
COMMENT: The recommendations are outlined in the December 23 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 700,000 and 1.4 million people in the US are infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Chronic HBV infection damages the liver and can lead to serious illness and death. More than 15% of adults with chronic HBV infection develop cirrhosis and liver cancer, the authors of the report noted.
People with diabetes are at increased risk for HBV infection, which can occur through exposure to small, even invisible, amounts of blood from an infected person who earlier used a shared medical or glucose-monitoring device. The hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body and is easily transmitted. This means that virus transmission can occur if finger-stick devices or blood glucose monitors meant for one person are used by more than one person without appropriate cleaning or infection control measures.