Background: Accidental percutaneous exposure to blood containing hepatitis C virus (HCV) is reported by health care workers more frequently than exposure to human immunodeficiency and hepatitis B virus. The transmission rate following such an exposure is ∼1.9%. Little is known about the attendance rate of such staff for follow-up testing following exposure to HCV. Aim: To determine whether our follow-up programme for staff exposed to hepatitis C would allow the early detection and treatment of infected staff members. Method: We reviewed all staff exposures to hepatitis C reported to the occupational health department of a London teaching hospital over a 8-year period. Results: Of 105 exposures, 21% of staff attended for early (6 or 12 weeks) and late (26 weeks) post-exposure follow-up. Thirty-seven per cent attended early follow-up only and 1% attended late having not attended early follow-up. Forty per cent did not attend any follow-up appointments with us. Conclusion: With the availability of effective treatment for early HCV infection, it is vital that occupational health departments encourage staff to attend at least for early follow-up. Access to HCV-RNA testing at this early stage should allow detection and early treatment of the small proportion who seroconvert.
- Hepatitis C
- Occupational exposure