There are more than 440,000 people currently living with hepatitis B or C in Australia. Over 85,000 of them are Queenslanders.
Hepatitis B is a bloodborne virus that can cause damage to your liver. Around 5 per cent of adults who are infected with hepatitis B will go on to have chronic hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C is also a blood borne virus which can be treated and cured.
Hepatitis A spreads through contact with infectious faeces and causes inflammation of the liver; however it does not lead to long-term liver disease. It is an acute (short-term) infection and most people feel better after three weeks.
Viral hepatitis impacts your liver health. The liver is the heavyweight in your body and one of your hardest working organs. It manufactures, stores, and processes anything that you put in your body, including food, alcohol, medicine, or toxins. It performs over 500 functions.
Some workers may be at increased risk of exposure to hepatitis A, hepatitis B or hepatitis C, including:
- health care workers
- plumbers and those in wastewater management and other related industries
- tattooists and body piercers
- funeral workers
- people working with young children
- personal carers
- emergency and essential service workers
- workers in remote indigenous communities.
Workers in these industries may be at risk of exposure and should be aware there are effective vaccines for both hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Many organisations choose to include a vaccination program in staff induction processes. There are other workplace considerations too, including infection prevention and control, reducing the risk of exposure, and your legal requirements to ensuring the privacy for those living with hepatitis.
Simple measures to minimise risk in the workplace include occupational vaccination, thorough and effective handwashing, cleaning protocols and using PPE where appropriate.
Upskill and empower your workforce with accurate and essential knowledge about viral hepatitis. Hepatitis Queensland can support your organisation by providing free, tailored education and information sessions delivered at your workplace or jobsites.