This study presents the results of a 5-year surveillance program involving the prospective follow-up of health-care workers (HCWs) in the Veneto region of Italy exposed to blood-borne viruses.
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.
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.
At the time of exposure, 1HCW 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.
Our accurate postexposure follow-up revealed a lack of transmission of HBV, HCV, and HIV.
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