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Transmission of hepatitis C by blood splash into
conjunctiva in a nurse
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INFECTION CONTROL. DEC 2003; 31 (8) : 502-504
Hosoglu, S; Celen, MK; Akalin, S; Geyik, MF; Soyoral, Y; et al
The risk of transmission of hepatitis C virus (Hepatitis C Virus) infection is
important problem for the health care worker. Hepatitis C Virus transmission by blood
splashing into eyes is very rare. In a hemodialyses department, a
23-year-old female nurse splashed blood from a patient who was anti-Hepatitis C Virus
positive into her eyes. She washed her eyes with water immediately and
reported to the infection control department. She had never used
intravenous drugs nor received transfusions.
At the time of exposure, there was no abnormality in her
tests. Her anti-Hepatitis C Virus and Hepatitis C Virus-RNA tests produced negative results. She was
followed up for anti-Hepatitis C Virus and alanine aminotransferase activity. After 6
months, she presented with sore throat, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and
weight loss. She had icterus and hepatomegalia. In laboratory tests,
alanine aminotransferase level was 504 U/L, aspartate aminotransferase
level was 388 U/L, and anti-Hepatitis C Virus and Hepatitis C Virus-RNA tests produced positive
findings. She was treated with interferon alfa-2a for a 1-year period.
After treatment, an Hepatitis C Virus-RNA test produced negative results and
levels were normal.
In conclusion, splashing blood from patients who are Hepatitis C Virus positive
into the face or eyes is a risk for health care workers. They should be
educated to prevent a nosocomial acquisition of bloodborne infection and
they should observe protective precautions.