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3 year old stuck by needle
Jun 19, 2006

My 3 year old daughter and I were riding in a hotel elevator on vacation in Virginia last week, she bent down and picked up a disposable Novafine (found on internet) insulin needle (used with insulin pen) off the floor and handed it to me. She pricked herself with the needle when she did so drawing a small amount of blood from her the tip of her finger. The needle was capped and the location she poked herself was on the underside where the needle enters the insulin pen, NOT WHERE IT ENTERS THE SKIN. In researching the manner in which this device operates, it appears as though the chances are slim that there would even be blood in the base of the needle even though it is a hollow bore type insulin needle. Could you please give me some guidance on the HIV or HCV exposure potential? Also, should I be reassured by the fact that the needle stick was a result of the base of the needle where it enters the insulin pen and not the patients skin? I am a very concerned father of a beautiful little girl. Thank you very much for your time.

Response from Dr. Wohl

Hopefully, you took your daughter to an emergency room or doctor's office for care. I would still be concerned regarding this exposure regardless of which part of this used needle your daughter was stuck with.

There are three major viruses you need to be concerned about: HIV, hepatitis C virus and hepatitis B virus. Your daughter should be immunized against hepatitis B virus already. There is nothing to do about hepatitis C except test her now (ouch) and re-test her in a few weeks (ouch again). As for HIV, post exposure prophylaxis started within 72 hours is recommended for appropriate exposures. It is a hard decision but I hope a person well versed in HIV (such as an infectious diseases doctor) was able to see your daughter to assess the exposure and whether prophylaxis was required.

DW



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