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Contagion in medical lab
Mar 23, 2013

Hello.

I'm a student of Medical Technology.During my apprenticeship as a lab technician in the hospital it happened that for a moment I hadn't my gloves on.With no gloves, I have come in contact with a rack, completely clean at sight, which contained test-tubes of blood. The problem is that my thumb had some sort of wound.It was like a cracked or chapped skin; more or less like a skin loss in healing with an exposed color of pink. But I was surely not bleeding at the moment; maybe there were a couples of scabs but their length was less than 1 mm. (I apologize for this meticulously paranoid description.)

My question is, since I just touched the rack and not the blood or even the test-tubes, it is still possible that, maybe due to spilling of blood on it, there was still a viral load for HIV or HPC on it?Also, if that day I had other not bleeding scratches (I have a cat, and sometimes my nails are very short with red skin exposed) are they possibly dangerous for a contagion?

Thank you for your time and help.

Response from Dr. Wohl

Do you ever tough door knobs in the lab without a glove on? I am sure you do, but don't worry about it. Same here.

If you are to work in a lab it is important for you to have a rational understanding of the risk of occupational exposure to pathogens found in such a laboratory. This forum is a start but you need to receive more training so you can know that touching a surface without evident contamination can not lead to acquisition of HIV. (Imagine if it did. The entire planet would be infected). I am sure your supervisors can arrange a blood borne pathogens and occupational exposure training session for you.

DW



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