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Testing and Clinical Management of Health Care Personnel Potentially Exposed to Hepatitis C Virus - CDC Guidance, United States, 2020.

Exposure to hepatitis viruses is a recognized occupational risk for health care personnel (HCP). This report establishes new CDC guidance that includes recommendations for a testing algorithm and clinical management for HCP with potential occupational exposure to hepatitis C virus (HCV). Baseline testing of the source patient and HCP should be performed as soon as possible (preferably within 48 hours) after the exposure. A source patient refers to any person receiving health care services whose blood or other potentially infectious material is the source of the HCP's exposure. Two options are recommended for testing the source patient. The first option is to test the source patient with a nucleic acid test (NAT) for HCV RNA. This option is preferred, particularly if the source patient is known or suspected to have recent behaviors that increase risk for HCV acquisition (e.g., injection drug use within the previous 4 months) or if risk cannot be reliably assessed. The second option is to test the source patient for antibodies to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV), then if positive, test for HCV RNA. For HCP, baseline testing for anti-HCV with reflex to a NAT for HCV RNA if positive should be conducted as soon as possible (preferably within 48 hours) after the exposure and may be simultaneous with source-patient testing. If follow-up testing is recommended based on the source patient's status (e.g., HCV RNA positive or anti-HCV positive with unavailable HCV RNA or if the HCV infection status is unknown), HCP should be tested with a NAT for HCV RNA at 3-6 weeks postexposure. If HCV RNA is negative at 3-6 weeks postexposure, a final test for anti-HCV at 4-6 months postexposure is recommended. A source patient or HCP found to be positive for HCV RNA should be referred to care. Postexposure prophylaxis of hepatitis C is not recommended for HCP who have occupational exposure to blood and other body fluids. This guidance was developed based on expert opinion (CDC. Updated U.S. Public Health Service guidelines for the management of occupational exposures to HBV, HCV, and HIV and recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis. MMWR Recommend Rep 2001;50[No. RR-11]; Supplementary Figure, https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/90288) and reflects updated guidance from professional organizations that recommend treatment for acute HCV infection. Health care providers can use this guidance to update their procedures for postexposure testing and clinical management of HCP potentially exposed to hepatitis C virus.

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