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

  • Vincenzo Baldo (a1), Annarosa Floreani (a2), Luigino Dal Vecchio (a3), Marco Cristofoletti (a1), Maristella Carletti (a3), Silvia Majori (a4), Angela Di Tommaso (a3) and Renzo Trivello (a1)...
<span class='bold'>Objective:</span>

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.

<span class='bold'>Design:</span>

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.

<span class='bold'>Participants:</span>

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.

<span class='bold'>Results:</span>

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.

<span class='bold'>Conclusion:</span>

Our accurate postexposure follow-up revealed a lack of transmission of HBV, HCV, and HIV.

Corresponding author
Div. Gastroenterologia, Via Giustiniani, 2, 35128 Padova, Italy
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2. K Kiyosawa , T Sodeyama , E Tanaka , et al. Hepatitis C in hospital employees with needlestick injuries. Ann Intern Med 1991;115:367369.

3. ME Hernandez , M Bruguera , T Puyuelo , et al. Risk of needle-stick injuries in the transmission of hepatitis C virus in hospital personnel. J Hepatol 1992;16:5658.

4. T Mitsui , K Iwano , K Masuko , et al. Hepatitis C virus infection in medical personnel after needlestick accident. Hepatology 1992;16:11091114.

5. V Puro , N Petrosillo , G Ippolito , MS Aloisi , E Boumis , L Rava . Occupational hepatitis C virus infection in Italian health care workers. Am J Public Health 1995;85:12721275.

7. TC Goob , SM Yamada , RE Newman , TM Cashman . Bloodborne exposures at a United States Army Medical Center. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1999;14:2025.

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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
  • URL: /core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology
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