STDs Expert Forum
Exposure Risk?
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Exposure Risk?

I was at the hospital today and a worker was pushing a cart that looked like it my have biohazardous material in it.  He turned the corner quickly and rubbed my hand with the side of the cart.  It "burned" me a little but not to the point of visible blood.  I washed my hands shortly after with antiseptic and didnt notice any burning where he hit me with the cart.  I am now worried that I may be at risk of exposure to a blood borned pathogen such as Hepatitis B/C , HIV, etc. if this cart is regularly used to transport sugical waste and there could be blood or dried blood on the outside where bags are constantly thrown in and pulled out.  Im kind of freaking out and telling myself I am being silly but, I've just been paranoid ever since I thought I had a exposure once.  Fortunately the patients bloodwork came back negative.  If testing is warranted,  when is the proper time frame to test for hep b/c and other BBPs.(i have only had one of my Hepb vaccines of three so far)  Should I be worried about this?  Thanks for your help.
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There is no plausible risk of any sexually transmitted or blood borne infection being transmitted in this fashion, especially if the contact with the cart did not break your skin and cause bleeding.  There was no reason to test the patient for anything on the basis of this event, or for you to even enquire about his or her status of any infection.

If you are a health care worker or otherwise employed in the hsptial, you should discuss any remaining concerns with your supervisor.  If you are not involved in that patient's health care and looked up his or her clinical information without his or her permission, you may be guilty of a serious breech of federal law.

Let this incident go.  You do not need testing for anything.

HHH, MD
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Thanks for the answer.  Sorry for the confusion, I did not mean to use the term "patient" when referring to my previous scare that has caused much of this anxiety.  It was non-work related and I guess Im too used to typing that term.  The incident in with the cart happened today and obviously I am freaking out for no reason.  There was no patient to test as the cart had come from the OR wing and there was no way to tell which room/rooms of waste it contained.  Thanks again for your help.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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