Author(s): Puro V, Petrosillo N, Ippolito G
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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.
This article was published in Am J Infect Control
and referenced in Dentistry