The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Ask the Experts About

Hepatitis and HIV CoinfectionHepatitis and HIV Coinfection
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

Urgent: exposure to HCV-positive ascites fluid
May 6, 2012

Good morning! I am a medical student. I have a question about a blood borne pathogen exposure that happened to me. I was working a shift in the Emergency Department when I was assisting in a peritoneal tap of a patient with massive ascites due to alcoholic/HCV cirrhosis. Over the course of the procedure, my unprotected fingers touched a piece of equipment packaging that may have been in contact with ascites, because the ascites had been splashing everywhere. I did not think too much of this at first, because my finger did not feel anything wet or moist on contact. Right after the procedure I used some alcoholic Purell hand sanitizer, and felt a sting on my finger. I took a look and saw a previously undiscovered hangnail abrasion on my finger. The abrasion was not bleeding, but it looked less than 24 hours old. I was therefore concerned about my blood stream contacting with HCV-infected ascites fluid. I therefore wiped my hands with cavi-wipes a short time later, and rinsed my hands in water. I have scoured the internet and literature for more information but found a lot of conflicting or inconclusive information. My questions are: do you think I am at risk for HCV transmission from the ascites possibly coming into contact with my skin abrasion? Do you think the initial Purell use deactivated the HCV? Should I get an HCV RNA test to find out early if I became infected? I would definitely appreciate any insights you have on these matters. Thank you for your time!

Sincerely, Worried medical student

Response from Dr. McGovern

As a medical student you should get proper advice from your medical school student health service. I will say that the event you describe would not prompt me to recommend further testing.

vit b12

  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary



This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint