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Accidental bathroom cut
Dec 28, 2001

Dear Maribel, Three months ago I used a public bathroom in a local hospital. There was several drops of blood on the toilet seat that I used. So I used a piece of tissue to dry and clean the toilet seat before using it. Unfortunately I had a 7-hour cut on my finger which was not bleeding but covered with a thin layer of soft scab. The cut came into contact with the blood because the tissue broke. The blood was still damp. Assume that the blood is hepatitis c infectious, what is my risk? I got tested at the 3rd month and the result is negative. It is said that test at 3 months after exposure can detect upto 80 of the infected patients. Do you think 80 is enough in my case or I should still wait for the 6th and the 12th month test? I live in San Francisco where the hepatitis prevalence is very high. What's more this happened in a hospital. So I am very worried.

Response from Dr. Rodriguez-Torres

Recent reports in large groups of hospital workers have shown that the risk is very small.However I understand your concern,and most probably you are O.K.Please do a HCV PCR,if this is negative ,you are clear.This is the only test that can detect acute infection.If the test is positive, you will need to wait and see if your body can clear the virus by itself,as we do not talk about chronic infection, till after 6 months,.The other alternative would be to give treatment inmediately,demostrated to be very effective in acute infections.Good luck.!!

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