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Hepatitis C and saliva
Jan 28, 2007

Hello Dr. McGovern, I am a healthcare worker who was talking with a hepatitis C positive patient. During our conversation, he inadvertently spit in my eye. I washed my eye out with water and saline, and then my contact with saline. He has a history of drug abuse via injection (how he contracted hep C), and is currently being treated with antiobiotics for syphilis. Are my fears irrational that I may contact Hep C, among other things? Thank you in advance.

Response from Dr. McGovern

Whenever there is a job-related exposure of any kind, you should immediately go to your employee health center. This is only for your protection.

With that being said, your risk of hepatitis C is extremely low. Transmission through mucous membrane exposure has rarely been reported.

I still would go to employee health to discuss - again for your own health and protection. You can get baseline antibody testing and follow-up. I am certain that your results will be reassuring.

Please save my brother?

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