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Needle stick injury from Hepatitis C positive patient-Risk and Management

Needle stick injury from Hep C positive patient-What to do nextHealth workers have a great risk of having a needle stick injury and Management of Needlestick Injuries in the Health Care Setting is a challenge. Needlestick injuries are a major cause of transmission of pathogens from patient to health care professional. HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are the most feared infections that are transmitted through needlestick injuries.
In this article, we will discuss the possibility of transmission of hepatitis C after getting a needle stick injury from a hepatitis C positive patient and what should be done after getting a needle stick injury from a hepatitis C positive patient.
1. Possibility of transmission of hepatitis C after a needle stick injury
Many research studies have been conducted to answer this question. These studies demonstrate that the risk of transmission of hepatitis C is greatly lesser than that of hepatitis B after having a needle stick injury. For hepatitis C, this risk varies from 0 – 4 % in different studies. In an older study, carried out by Germanaud J (1994), it was demonstrated that the risk of hepatitis transmission from needle stick injuries varies from 0 – 3 %. In another study, (Published in, J Gastroenterol, 2003) the researchers studied 684 subjects who had got a needle stick injury from a hepatitis C positive patient. Out of these 684 individuals, only 2 became seropositive for hepatitis C. In this study, the risk of transmission was 0.2 %. Thus, it has been clearly demonstrated by research studies that the risk of hepatitis C transmission after needle stick injury from a Hepatitis C Patient is lower as compared to Hepatitis B transmission (7 - 30 % before the use of the vaccine)
2. What to do after getting a needle stick injury from a hepatitis C positive patient.
This is the most important question, after getting a needle stick injury, first of all, report it to your hospital administration. and do the following steps.
  1. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and antiseptic solution.
  2. Inquire about the patient hepatitis status, that is, whether he is suffering from an acute phase or chronic phase.
  3. If patient hepatitis status is unknown then do his tests to establish his safety profile.
  4. If his hepatitis status comes positive then wait for 2-3 weeks and get your “liver function tests” done, if liver enzyme levels are elevated then interferon therapy can be started. Keep in mind that the risk of transmission is low.
The study which was published in the journal of Gastroenterol in 2003 demonstrated that after exposure, the use of early interferons for short duration  (within 12 days of exposure) doesn’t reduce the risk of transmission of hepatitis B.
The Immunization Practice Advisory Committee of the United States of American proposed that polyvalent gamma-globulins should be administered after Hepatitis C exposure. But its efficacy and success haven’t been demonstrated yet.
The bottom line of this article is that the risk of transmission of hepatitis C after having a needle stick injury from a hepatitis C-positive patient is low. It depends upon the quantity of RNA In the fluid and after exposure, you have to wait for few weeks to get yourself tested for hepatitis C and if the test comes positive, then interferon therapy should be started.


  1. Risk of HCV transmission after needlestick injury, and the efficacy of short-duration interferon administration to prevent HCV transmission to medical personnel. Gastroenterol 2003 LinK:
  2. Transmission of hepatitis C by accidental needlestick injuries. Evaluation of the risk. Link:


  1. "Thus, it has been clearly demonstrated by research studies that the risk of hepatitis C transmission after needle stick injury from a hepatitis C positive patient is low".

    The research studies that been done is insufficient, gives a FAULSE feeling of security!
    1. Risk of HCV infection "Sharps" is HIGHER if source of infection has HIGH HCV level in blood.
    2. How DEEP penatration/Sharp injurie? Risk HIGHER of transmission,
    3. Health care worker Sharp injurie no Medical fallow up 1980-2010-at RISK!
    4. HCV virus was UNKNOWN until 1992
    Conclusion, NEW and further research studies needed, HCV among patient/workers is probably the UNSOLVED Healthcare scandal of modern global Healthcare!

    World hepatitis day 28 july 2014, im global how are you today?
    Read my 14 pages global Swedishdocument, make this a WHO topic 2015!

    1. Thank you for your comment. I have read many research studies on this topic and in all those studies, the risk of transmission was 0-4%. I will do further research on that..

    2. Thank you dr. Ramzan risk of transmission when infected source of infection, perhaps correct, but gives a FAULSE feeling of security as research studies seldom mention virus levels and penetration/deep etc? New research studies, thank you world!

    3. Thank you for your note. Of course, your comment will help our visitors to understand this matter better.


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