Hep c + needlestick - page 2

Last friday was was stuck with a 15g dialysis needle. The needle was inside the pt fistula. He is hep c+ with a viral load of 6 million iu/ml. The needle was not lodged in my finger nor was it a deep... Read More

  1. by   magnolia2012
    I was stuck by a needle stick and today found out that the patient is HEP C positive. I am freaking out right now.
  2. by   brandy1017
    They generally don't give antivirals preventitively for hep C, only HIV. I hope you reported it for your own protection. They will test you periodically to see if you seroconvert. The risk is low, but it is actually greater than HIV. Hep C is more contagious than HIV and many people with Hep C also have HIV! I would talk to your doctor, if the worst case scenario they have antiviral treatments that are able to get rid of Hep C in about 2/3 of the cases, at least reduce it to undectable levels in the blood. The drug regimen and chance of success depends on what strain of Hep C, some are harder to treat than others. Most people are asymptomatic, although it slightly increases your chance of cirrhosis or liver cancer. Many people only find out they have Hep C because their doctor finds elevated liver enzymes, although of course, hep c is not the only reason a person can have elevated labs, certain meds etc can cause this also.

    Hope everything turns out ok!
  3. by   Nancy Purcell-Holmes
    Hi, my name is Nancy and I am new here to this site. I sustained a needlestick injury at work 24 years ago when I was pregnant. This was before we had the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard and Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, before antiviral meds and safety needles. Thankfully, I did not contract hepatitis or HIV, but was overwhelmed by the unknow for the 6 months during testing.
    Today, I am a Healthcare Safety Advocate with Safe in Common. Safe in Common is a non-profit organization established to enhance and save the lives of 5.6 million healthcare personnel at risk for harm from needlestick injury. Visit the website at www.safeincommon.org and take the pledge.
  4. by   Vespertinas
    How about the employee who left the needle lying on the bed? That should not go unaddressed.
  5. by   HepSiNurse
    Even though HepC is more prevalent and more easily acquired than HIV, it is true that antivirals are not given preventatively for the virus. Even those if a person is positive with HepC antibodies, it doesn't mean they necessarily have acute or chronic virus. The good news is that first of all the virus has to be acquired (seroconverted); second, 15% of those who acquire the virus will fight off the virus on their own. Those with acute HepC infection are not usually recommended for treatment, there is a chance that their own immune system can fight the virus. So when when tested for HepC, the person that has fought off the virus will still remain positive with antibodies and will still show the person is HepC+. The first test determines whether the person has been exposed to the virus and detects the presence of antibodies. The second test determines whether there is a viral load and the genotype of the virus. Usually an ultrasound of the liver and then a liver biopsy follows before the GI specialist or hepatologist will recommend treatment or therapy. Until just more than a year ago, treatment used to consist of interferon and ribavirin. Now, treatment includes a third medication, with only a year of medical data, figures show varying rates of success. The third medication has definitely improved the efficiency of fighting the virus, but it also seems to depend on the person's viral load, the genotype and compliance with completion of the full treatment. Figures range between 80-90% effective in eliminating active virus in those that complete one round of treatment. There is a protocol for those that have been potentially exposed to the virus. Don't jump ahead - I know, hard words to live by. First, get tested. Second, even if you are HepC+, it doesn't mean you are infected/infectious. Get a viral load count and a genotype. See a specialist (gastroenterologist or hepatologist). The most comprehensive website I have found to date has been a website created by the VA. Your Next Steps: Entire Lesson - Hepatitis C I have found that any questions I have encountered were usually covered or referred to another site in this website. Another great site if you are positive, or have acute or chronic hepatitis C, or are looking for support and/or treatment options is the American Liver Foundation's website: American Liver Foundation. Your Liver. Your Life. which covers many other liver diseases and disorders that extend beyond just hepatitis. Even though a needlestick or other exposure to the virus can be a scary thought, worrying will not change the outcome and will just impair efficient response. Slow down and breathe - your job probably has presented many other scary challenges along the way. Being HepC+, even with acute or chronic virus, does not mean the end of your job or the end of your life. Positive thoughts to all who are living with this disease. Keep educating the public - The CDC sites that in 2010 there were 853 acute clinical cases reported, but an estimated 17,000 Americans became infected with Hepatitis C. 2.7-3.9 million people are living with chronic hepatitis C infections, most are unaware of their infection. Educate, educate, educate - encourage others to get tested and get tested yourself! I found out I was infected with chronic Hepatitis C virus, not because I had symptoms, or a close-call with a needle-stick, but because a GI specialist/hepatologist ran a panel of tests he runs frequently on most of his patients. If he had not run the tests, I would've never been inclined to get tested.