Hepatitis C risk in healthcare workers
What is the risk for HCV infection from a needle-stick exposure to HCV contaminated blood?
After needle stick or sharps exposure to HCV positive blood , about two healthcare workers out of 100 will get infected with HCV.
What is recommended for healthcare workers after exposure to HCV positive blood?
Anti-viral agents (e.g., interferon) or immune globulin should not be used as postexposure measures. The source of the HCV positive blood should be have baseline testing for anti-HCV. The person exposed to an HCV-positive source should have baseline and follow-up testing. This includes baseline testing for anti-HCV and ALT activity and follow-up testing for anti-HCV (e.g., at 4-6 months) and ALT activity. (If earlier diagnosis of HCV infection is desired, testing for HCV RNA may be performed at 4-6 weeks.).
Should HCV-infected healthcare workers be restricted in their work?
No, there are no recommendations to restrict a healthcare worker who is infected with HCV. The risk of transmission from an infected healthcare worker to a patient appears to be very low. As recommended for all healthcare workers, those who are HCV positive should follow strict aseptic technique and standard precautions This includes appropriate use of hand washing, protective barriers, and care in the use and disposal of needles and other sharp instruments.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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