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hep c contracted from open cut?
May 19, 2007

I am a police officer and 2 months ago was putting someone under arrest who is hep c positive and hiv unknown. while he was resisting arrest he held onto a fence and cut his hand and wrist area. i had to put the cuffs on him and cut my finger and also bite my nails and cuticles(cut was small but bleeding, cuticles were open). i got drops of his blood on my hand. I used purell on my hands and spread the blood thhen wiped the excess on my pants. i researched when i went home and discovered purell does not kill the virus. I am very scared i contracted this disease. I got tested 5 weeks after for antibodies and hep c itself and tests came back negative. I'm going back in three months to get tested again very nervous what is the likelyhood of me contracting this disease and or hiv? my doctor said its unlikely but the internet says otherwise.

Response from Dr. McGovern

First of all, I think that whenever you are exposed to significant blood, you should have follow-up to protect yourself due to the kind of work you do. I am glad you are following up with this.

With that said, I fully expect you to be negative for hepatitis C. The vast majority of cases are due to injection drug use where a needle full of blood gets injected in the vein of the user. Superficial exposure to blood, even if you had a little cut, is very unlikely to cause hepatitis C. There are only two case reports of a person getting hepatitis C from traumatic altercations, but these were very significant with a lot of injury and severe blood exposure.

I also expect your HIV testing to be negative - but certainly follow-up just for your own protection. Please sleep well.



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