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Am J Infect Control. 2006 Aug;34(6):367-75.

Infection risks following accidental exposure to blood or body fluids in health care workers: a review of pathogens transmitted in published cases.

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  • 1International and Tropical Department, National Institute for Public Health Surveillance, InVS, Saint-Maurice, France.


Hospital staff and all other human or veterinary health care workers, including laboratory, research, emergency service, or cleaning personnel are exposed to the risk of occupational infection following accidental exposure to blood or body fluids (BBF) contaminated with a virus, a bacteria, a parasite, or a yeast. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or those of hepatitis B (HBV) or C (HCV) account for most of this risk in France and worldwide. Many other pathogens, however, have been responsible for occupational infections in health care workers following exposure to BBF, some with unfavorable prognosis. In developed countries, a growing number of workers are referred to clinicians responsible for the evaluation of occupational infection risks following accidental exposure. Although their principal task remains the evaluation of the risks of HIV, HBV, or HCV transmission and the possible usefulness of postexposure prophylaxis, these experts are also responsible for evaluating risks of occupational infection with other emergent or more rare pathogens and their possible timely prevention. The determinants of the risks of infection and the characteristics of described cases are discussed in this article.

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