Vaccination against Hepatitis B Is Encouraged

By Dr. Paul Donohue | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), September 21, 1994 | Go to article overview

Vaccination against Hepatitis B Is Encouraged


Dr. Paul Donohue, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Dear Dr. Donohue: I'm an older citizen. My company has all of a sudden gotten big on preventive health. I like the idea, but I have questions about the hepatitis B vaccination program. It involves a series of three shots. Now the rumor is that once vaccinated you will show positive in future blood tests for hepatitis. I can foresee somebody getting needlessly turned down by some insurance company because of hepatitis. Please clarify if this is wrong.

First of all, insurers do not routinely ask for hepatitis B testing. But let's, for the sake of discussion, assume they do.

It would involve a battery of blood tests, only one of which would become positive in a previously vaccinated person. Don't worry. Those doing the testing expect that and accept it as just a part of the hepatitis vaccination Effect.

I'm glad your employer is a hepatitis prevention fan. The practice is growing, and is especially recommended for at-risk people, such as medical and dental personnel.

The routine hepatitis B immunization of all infants is being encouraged as well.

*****

Dear Dr. Donohue: I would like some information on mycobacterium avium. How serious is it? What is the treatment. What is given for it? How long is cure? Mycobacterium avium is a common bacterium, so common that many people have it without even knowing. Put another way, only a few who harbor the germ ever get sick.

Mycobacterium avium becomes troublesome when the person's immune system is not up to snuff or if he has an existing illness, such as chronic bronchitis.

The lung is a favored mycobacterium avium target. …

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