Hepatitis Forums

Hepatitis C Prevention, Transmission and Testing => Am I Infected? => Topic started by: worried89 on November 03, 2014, 05:09:57 pm

Title: Concerned about possible infection
Post by: worried89 on November 03, 2014, 05:09:57 pm
Hello.

Before I start... TL:DR - small-ish quantity of saliva (no obvious blood) in eye from a spitting male (likely drug user) with unknown HCV infection status (I'm vaccinated against HBV). Your opinion on chances of infection?

If you are continuing to read, thank you for taking the time.  You've probably heard it before!

I work as a Law Enforcement Officer and while dealing with an uncooperative male he spat saliva on my face.

Needless to say he was charged with Assault, however a small-ish quantity of his saliva definitely went in my eye.

I did not manage to get my eye washed with saline for a long period of time after this occurrence and continued to wear my contacts all day.

I am unaware of this male's status in relation to HCV and HIV and also unaware if there was any blood in this male's saliva. He was not bleeding externally however could have been in his mouth (poor hygiene / cuts / gum disease) . 

He appeared to be a drug user however did not state this and was from an Eastern European country.

I have done quite a bit of reading in regards to this however the majority of sources are often contradictory regarding mucosal exposures.  This is presumably due to many other underlying factors (viral load / strain of virus etc).

What would you class as my chances of infection in relation to this potential exposure?

Am I at any great risk or is it just anxiety taking over?

Many thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Concerned about possible infection
Post by: Mike on November 04, 2014, 02:22:22 pm
Hi Worried89,

I think you're risk for contracting HCV  is very, very low. HCV is spread by direct blood-to-blood or blood-to-membrane contact. Given the scenario you presented, I would say you have a minuscule chance of infection (note, minuscule is not zero).

As I understand it, there is mandatory testing for individuals who potentially expose law enforcement, EMTs and medical professionals to contractual diseases. In other words, the individual who spat on you can be legally mandated to be tested for HCV, HIV, TB et. el.

For your comfort, you can demand this be done. You may also want to be tested for the infection in 12-24 weeks for a greater piece of mind.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes, Mike
Title: Re: Concerned about possible infection
Post by: worried89 on November 05, 2014, 03:19:58 pm
Thanks for your quick reply, Mike.

Unfortunately, I don't think having the male tested would be possible in this case, despite the mandatory testing you suggested. 

I certainly shall get tested for peace of mind.  Would 6 weeks and then 12 weeks suffice?

I appreciate you suggesting the risk of infection is 'very, very low'. Are there any reputable sources quantifying the percentage risk?

I couldn't be certain how much saliva hit my eye, but it felt like a minor amount.

Thanks again in advance.
Title: Re: Concerned about possible infection
Post by: Mike on November 05, 2014, 05:16:11 pm
Hi Worried89,

You can certainly call your local health department for more info regarding your risk of infection.

I would probably hold off on HCV testing for 12-24 weeks, as the virus can take this long to become detectable.

I really think you will be fine.

Lucinda, a forum moderator, medical professional and expert on Hep-C can provide some more specifics.

Best wishes, Mike



Title: Re: Concerned about possible infection
Post by: lporterrn on November 06, 2014, 11:19:27 pm
Hi Worried 89,
Mike's feedback is pretty much in line with what I would have said. The chance is nearly zero, but most of us need to see it on paper. You should have specific channels to follow that will help you get testing.