n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Calling the shots - postexposure prophylaxis against viruses : main topic

Volume 21, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Certain viral infections can be prevented in susceptible contacts with the timeous use of vaccines, immunoglobulin or antiviral drugs. <br>Active immunisation post exposure is usually the most effective means of preventing infection with hepatitis A, B, measles, rabies and varicella. <br>If PEP is delayed, or the patient has had a high-risk exposure, a combination of immunoglobulin and vaccine is advised. <br>Live attenuated vaccines are contraindicated in immunocompromised patients, very young babies and pregnant women, and these individuals should receive immunoglobulin only, for example following exposure to varicella or measles. <br>Specific antiviral drugs can be used to prevent HIV, influenza or varicella. <br>Where no reliable prophylaxis is available, careful follow-up and early intervention are essential, for example after rubella exposure in pregnancy and hepatitis C exposure in health care workers.

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