Outbreaks of Hepatitis B continue to be a problem in long-term care facilities and ambulatory care centers. Outbreak investigations in long-term care settings have found person to person transmission associated with inappropriate blood glucose monitoring practices.
Of particular concern is the fact that during blood glucose monitoring the fingerstick devices, glucometers, as well as hands and gloves of employees often become contaminated with blood. CDC has long recommended that fingerstick devices be restricted to individual use.
As a new intervention CDC is currently considering giving HBV vaccine to elderly diabetic residents in the long-term care setting. Of course this will not prevent the transmission of other bloodborne pathogens associated with poor infection control practices.
Another recommendation is to educate employees to adhere to infection prevention practices. Health care providers should be trained to follow standard precautions and infection control recommendations regarding care and procedures for the diabetic patient. Education should also emphasize not carrying supplies from resident to resident and avoid sharing devices such as glucometers.