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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Liver Diseases

Question: Am I possibly infected with Hep B now???

 GPannonymous - Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:45 pm

I am a 40 year old healthcare worker who has had her Hep B immunization done about 15 years ago. I had a titer test done about 10 years ago that showed the immunization had been effective.

Approximately, 2 weeks ago, I scratched myself deeply on an instrument which contained saliva(but no visible patient blood) from a patient that had a medical history of active Hep B. The instrument went through my gloves and did cause bleeding.

My question now is : [b]Should I be concerned about contracting Hep B from this incident or will my previous Hep B immunization keep me protected from developing the condition. [/b]

I am paranoid and embarassed about mentioning this to anyone(including my GP) b/c I am afraid it will potentially affect my career(if I am forced to report the incident) or personal life. Also, Since my spouse and I have been TTC recently, there is a good chance that I may be pg at this time or in the near future.

Please help!

 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Jul 26, 2007 3:17 am

User avatar Hi GPanonymous,

I think your overall chances of contracting HBV from this exposure are quite small. HBV is not a particularly strong virus when it comes to infections. This is why it is considered a blood transmitted disease. The amount in saliva is unlikely to cause infection.

Also, the hepatitis B vaccine series is known to be very effective in preventing infection. It is very likely that you are still well protected by your vaccinations.

Finally, blood borne infections are much more likely to be transmitted via a hollow needle (such as getting stuck with an IV needle) than a solid object (like a sewing needle). It sounds as if you were stuck with a solid object (I am presuming).

All these factors together make the chances of contracting HBV very unlikely. That being said, if this happenned at work I would encourage you to report it. There are some blood tests that are often done at the time of the incident to assess your current infection status and immunity status. This will help to determine if infection may have occurred from this incident should you become positive in the future. Most healthcare facilities have a very understanding policy regarding infection exposure.

Best wishes.

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