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Hep C Testing
Jan 12, 2011

I am a nurse who was exposed to a tuberculin syringe needle stick in march of 2010. The source patient came back negative for hep c and I was also negative, however no further testing was indicated. I was talking to someone else though who works in a different hospital who said that in her hospital regardless of whether the patient tests negative at first, they are still tested in 6 months, becuase if it was a new infection they may not have antigens yet. Should I ask my regular MD to test me for hep c again?

Response from Dr. McGovern

Your friend is referring to the issue of being exposed to someone who may have had acute HCV at the time of your exposure. Early on, the patient may have viremia with a negative ANTIBODY (not antigen)...Then the patient may seroconvert later....This is the window period.

If your patient was admitted with a diagnosis of acute hepatitis, yes I would certainly get retested. If the patient came in for elective heart surgery, that would be another story.

Regardless, the test is very inexpensive....retesting may relieve your mind if this is still concerning you...



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