Healthcare providers as sources of vaccine-preventable diseases

Vaccine. 2014 Aug 27;32(38):4814-22. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.03.097. Epub 2014 Apr 13.


Vaccine-preventable infectious diseases may be introduced into the healthcare setting and pose a serious risk to vulnerable populations including immunocompromised patients. Healthcare providers (HCPs) are exposed to these pathogens through their daily tasks and may serve as a reservoir for ongoing disease transmission in the healthcare setting. The primary method of protection from work-related infection risk is vaccination that protects not only an individual HCP from disease, but also subsequent patients in contact with that HCP. Individual HCPs and healthcare institutions must balance the ethical and professional responsibility to protect their patients from nosocomial transmission of preventable infections with HCP autonomy. This article reviews known cases of HCP-to-patient transmission of the most common vaccine-preventable infections encountered in the healthcare setting including hepatitis B virus, influenza virus, Bordetella pertussis, varicella-zoster virus, measles, mumps and rubella virus. The impact of HCP vaccination on patient care and current recommendations for HCP vaccination against vaccine-preventable infectious diseases are also reviewed.

Keywords: Healthcare provider; Infection control and prevention; Vaccine-preventable infectious diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Cross Infection / transmission*
  • Health Personnel*
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B / transmission
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient / prevention & control*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Influenza, Human / transmission
  • Measles / prevention & control
  • Measles / transmission
  • Mumps / prevention & control
  • Mumps / transmission
  • Rubella / prevention & control
  • Rubella / transmission
  • Vaccination*
  • Whooping Cough / prevention & control
  • Whooping Cough / transmission