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Occupational Risk of Blood‐Borne Viruses in Healthcare Workers: A 5‐Year Surveillance Program

Vincenzo Baldo , MD, Annarosa Floreani , MD, Luigino Dal Vecchio , MD, Marco Cristofoletti , MD, Maristella Carletti , MSc, Silvia Majori , MD, Angela Di Tommaso , MD and Renzo Trivello , MD
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Vol. 23, No. 6 (June 2002), pp. 325-327
DOI: 10.1086/502059
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/502059
Page Count: 3
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Occupational Risk of Blood‐Borne Viruses in Healthcare Workers: A 5‐Year Surveillance Program
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE.  This study presents the results of a 5‐year surveillance program involving the prospective follow‐up of healthcare workers (HCWs) in the Veneto region of Italy exposed to blood‐borne viruses. DESIGN.  All HCWs who reported an occupational exposure to blood‐borne infection joined the surveillance program. Both HCWs and patients were tested for viral markers (hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg], antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen [anti‐HBs], antibody to hepatitis B core antigen [anti‐HBc], antibody to hepatitis C virus [anti‐HCV], HCV RNA, and antibody to human immunodeficiency virus [HIV]) and had these markers plus transaminases assayed at 3, 6, and 12 months and then yearly thereafter. Moreover, a program of hepatitis B virus (HBV) prophylaxis was offered to those whose anti‐HBs levels were less than 10 IU/mL. PARTICIPANTS.  Two hundred forty‐five HCWs (156 women and 89 men) with a mean age of 37 (� 10) years who reported occupational exposure during the 5‐year period. RESULTS.  At the time of exposure, 1 HCW was positive for HBsAg (0.4%) and 2 were positive for HCV RNA (0.8%). Among the patients involved, 28 (11.4%) were positive for HBsAg, 68 (27.8%) were positive for HCV RNA, 6 (2.4%) were positive for HIV, and 147 (60.0%) were negative for all viral markers (4 patients were positive for both HCV and HIV). During the follow‐up period after exposure (mean, 2.7 [� 1.6] years), there was no increase in transaminases or seroconversions to any of the viral markers. CONCLUSION.  Our accurate postexposure follow‐up revealed a lack of transmission of HBV, HCV, and HIV.

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