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Feds: Health providers with hepatitis B are no threat to patients, covered by disability law

The federal government has moved to protect hepatitis B-positive health care providers and students studying for a career in medicine or dentistry from being targeted because of their diagnosis.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently declared in a legal settlement that hepatitis B patients are protected by federal disability law. Separately, federal health officials have issued a revised set of guidelines that make it clear that health care workers and students who carry the hepatitis B virus generally pose little or no risk to patients.

Advocates say the new health guidelines and the Justice Department settlement give health professionals and students a pair of powerful tools to combat discrimination.