Hepatitis B, need help

  1. Hi everybody,

    I really need some help.
    I finished school in May and started my first job in June. During school I took all hepatitis vaccinations.
    A couple of days ago, during a routine blood check I was diagnosed with a positive antigen Hepatitis B chronic infection. I am not sure if I got it before or after I started my job.
    The employee handbook I have states that I MUST report this condition to my employer, but I am really afraid of losing my job. Do they have the right to fire me for being infected???
    If I don't report it, will the lab report it to the hospital, or they just report to the CDC???

    I am very freaked out by this situation and will appreciate any advise.
    Thank you in advance!
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    Lab can't report it to your employer unless you've signed a release stating that, unless it was part of an employee physical.

    You have to be non-contagious in order to work; your employer would have the right to take you off the schedule until cleared by a physician.
  4. by   jojotoo
    Quote from T***iRN

    You have to be non-contagious in order to work



    T***ie,

    Am I having a TIA here? When are you non-contagious for Hep B?
  5. by   sharona97
    Quote from kg14
    Hi everybody,

    I really need some help.
    I finished school in May and started my first job in June. During school I took all hepatitis vaccinations.
    A couple of days ago, during a routine blood check I was diagnosed with a positive antigen Hepatitis B chronic infection. I am not sure if I got it before or after I started my job.
    The employee handbook I have states that I MUST report this condition to my employer, but I am really afraid of losing my job. Do they have the right to fire me for being infected???
    If I don't report it, will the lab report it to the hospital, or they just report to the CDC???

    I am very freaked out by this situation and will appreciate any advise.
    Thank you in advance!
    I'm confused was the blood test a titre to see if you sero converted to the series and you did not? Or was the blood work to check of any previous exposure and or any acute illness now? I gree if you are active with Hep B you need to report it to your employer and protect your close ones from contracting this. Two ver different blood tests.
  6. by   core0
    Quote from kg14
    Hi everybody,

    I really need some help.
    I finished school in May and started my first job in June. During school I took all hepatitis vaccinations.
    A couple of days ago, during a routine blood check I was diagnosed with a positive antigen Hepatitis B chronic infection. I am not sure if I got it before or after I started my job.
    The employee handbook I have states that I MUST report this condition to my employer, but I am really afraid of losing my job. Do they have the right to fire me for being infected???
    If I don't report it, will the lab report it to the hospital, or they just report to the CDC???

    I am very freaked out by this situation and will appreciate any advise.
    Thank you in advance!
    It is hard to understand exactly what they are reporting. There are three components to a HBV test.
    Surface antibody - indicates resistance
    Surface antigen - indicates active infection
    Core antibody - indicates past infection

    Here is a website from the CDC on how to interpret them:
    http://www.cdc.gov/Ncidod/diseases/h.../Bserology.htm

    Do you have a positive surface antibody or surface antigen? If the antibody is positive this means that you are immune. As far as reporting it they will report it to the state health department (in most states) who will investigate. They will not report it to your hospital (some employee health programs will report it to infection control). You really need to have someone interpret it with you. Also did you have Surface antibody titers drawn after the series?

    I am not saying that the result is a mistake. But I had a lot of office visits sent from primary care for "positive HBV" that turned out to be a positive surface antibody.

    As usual allnurses does not give out medical advice and you should discuss this with a qualified health care practitioner (in before Siri).

    David Carpenter, PA-C
  7. by   Bocephus71RN-BSN
    I learned recently, after having the routine hep B vaccination series 13 years ago, and was told "you are immune for life." This is not the case. My titers were low and I had to have a booster, and retested in which my titers were fine. I would suggest that all health care providers get a titer checked IMHO.
  8. by   amyk_ncsu
    Quote from core0
    I am not saying that the result is a mistake. But I had a lot of office visits sent from primary care for "positive HBV" that turned out to be a positive surface antibody.

    My dr's office sent the lab results to my house and they said positive HBV (or something to that effect), which was a little scary at first. I can see how this can easily be misintrepreted as a positive for Hep B.

    Hopefully this is the case for you!
  9. by   Medic/Nurse
    Deep Breath.

    You may not feel better, but I think you are trying to make decisions with limited amounts of information.

    FIRST. You need to see a hemo/infectious disease specialist AT ONCE. I'm going to second the opinion of David Carpenter PA-C, you need to discuss this with a qualified health practitioner!

    I went through a situation not unlike this one many years ago. I was in school at the time and I (in confirmation that fate HAS a sense of humor) got a letter from where I had donated blood a few weeks earlier - that informed me of some puzzling Hep B results. (I HAD been sick earlier in the summer, but did not connect the dots...)

    I panicked. Oh, the letter arrived on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend! (No doc's readily available to me! - and my PMD had a death in the family on Monday and was out that next week too!) Anyway, I settled on the top doc at the major tertiary care center in my state. I NEEDED ANSWERS! I WAS TERRIFIED! (Not just of being sick, but being kicked out of school OR making a patient sick!)

    Thankfully, I was seen quickly and after extensive testing - I was NOT contagious. At first, it appeared that I WAS. I was followed for a time and then released from their care. Whew!

    So, just get to a doc that can get you the answers you deserve. You cannot deal with anything - until you know what you are dealing with! Don't discuss this with anyone UNTIL you get these answers. (But, I think delaying a start in nursing is essential if you are in a direct patient care role - until you get meaningful results!)

    Best of Luck.
    I hope that everything works out for you.

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