Risk of hepatitis C seroconversion after occupational exposures in health care workers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: To determine the incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) seroconversion, health care workers reporting an occupational exposure with blood or other risk-prone body materials from a patient known to be seropositive for HCV antibody were enrolled. Methods: HCV seroconversion within 6 months of a reported exposure was assessed by second-generation enzyme immunoassay and immunoblot assay. Results: From January 1992 through December 1993, 331 (51%) hollow-bore needlesticks, 105 (16.5%) suture needle or sharp object injuries, 85 (13%) mucous membrane contaminations, and 125 (19.5%) skin contaminations were reported. Four HCV seroconversions were observed after hollow-bore needlesticks (1.2%; 95% CI 0.3% to 3.0%); no seroconversions occurred after other routes of exposure. Blood-filled needlesticks and source patient coinfection with HIV appeared to be associated with a higher risk of seroconversion. Conclusions: The risk of HCV seroconversion after occupational exposure appears to be low but is not negligible. Aggressive implementation of universal precautions is important for preventing risk-prone exposure, but safer devices are also needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-277
Number of pages5
JournalAJIC: American Journal of Infection Control
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology

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