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Needle prick by a hep C patient
Aug 19, 2008

2 days ago i accidentally pricked myself with a needle of a Hepatitis C patient. Even though i was wearing latex gloves, i took all the necessary precautions of bleeding as much as i could from the prick site. I also cleaned the site with pyodine and washed my hands. The patient had her HCV PCR reports with her and her viral load was in millions. I have been very worried ever since and I am not sure what to do. Some doctors suggest i wait for 6 weeks and get my PCR as well but I'm very anxious now, and am wondering if there are any investigations that i need to get done or medications to take?

Response from Dr. McGovern

I would recommend a baseline HCV antibody and HCV RNA and ALT. Then in 4 to 6 weeks a HCV RNA test. Then in 4 to 6 months another HCV antibody and RNA test and ALT again. This is basically what is recommended by the CDC.

I would NOT take prophylaxis with interferon because even if you DO get infected, you could certainly clear the virus on your own. Patients with acute HCV are usually followed for possible clearance over 12 to 16 weeks. Only if they persist in their infection are they treated.

And in that case, the cure rates with early treatment are greater than 90%. Hope this puts everything into perspective for you.

For more information go to the CDC website CDC.gov



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