[Question #4345] Exposure?

30 months ago

Hey docs


I work in pediatrics doing ultrasound. I was scanning a 14 month old baby and as I was scanning the child became upset - screaming crying etc. as I was scanning i felt what it seemed to be a drop of something hit my eye. Trying to get my study done and not thinking twice I just continued with my exam and probably just shrugged my shoulder and tried to get whatever was on me off. Again wasn’t too concerned and not focused on that because the kid was screaming and crying and I was trying to get my study finished. After the test was done i read that child’s mother had a history of Hep C./ heroin user. No noted history of HIV ...is there any concern for me to contract anything? Child is too young to be tested, not 18 months. I didn’t notice any blood in my eye later and no noted blood coming from child’s mouth. I am concerned for HIV and hep C. What would you do if you were me? Appreciate your help. 

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
30 months ago
Welcome to the Forum. The exposure you describe does not raise concerns regarding risk for hepatitis or HIV.  It sounds like you were hit with saliva that came out as the child was crying.  Even in the unlikely situation that the child has hepatitis or HIV (the mom should have been checked for HIV) these infections are not spread through saliva.  I would not be worried.  EWH
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30 months ago
The mom tested negative for HIV. Nothing was saying the child was exposed to that. Just hep c. Logically thinking I’m guessing it was saliva...I didn’t again look right away bc I shrugged it off but later when I got home didn’t see blood on my eye. If the child had been teething or bit their tongue I would guess there would have been blood at least noticeable on the kid? If blood was mixed with saliva would you still be worried in my case and suggest testing? 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
30 months ago
If this child's mother was viremic with hepatitis C (many persons with hepatitis C antibody are not viremic and therefore are not contagious to others), the chance that her child was infected prior to delivery is about 5% (1 in 20).  Even if there was blood in the child's saliva or whatever it was that was splashed on you as you worked, there is no evidence that such splashes lead to transmission.  I would not worry.  Given your concerns, you may wish to let your employee health office know of this event and they may choose to do further testing on the mother is she is available although at my hospital, my guess is that like me, they would tell you that this was a no risk event and that there is no need for concern. 

If you are concerned, you could test now. Assuming that your test would be negative at this time, then you would need to test again in about three months to provide conclusive proof that you were not infected.  In my opinion however, this is really not needed. 

I hope that this reply is helpful to you. EWH
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