American Liver Society

 

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Viral Hepatitis C

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 2 (1.8%) healthcare workers out of 100 will get infected with HCV (range 0%-10%).

What are the recommendations for follow-up of healthcare workers after exposure to HCV positive blood?

Anti-viral agents (e.g., interferon) or immune globulin should not be used for postexposure prophylaxis.

For the source, baseline testing for anti-HCV.
For the person exposed to an HCV-positive source, baseline and follow-up testing including
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.)
Confirmation by supplemental anti-HCV testing of all anti-HCV results reported as positive by enzyme immunoassay.

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, including appropriate use of hand washing, protective barriers, and care in the use and disposal of needles and other sharp instruments.

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