Health AdvisoryHepatitisInfection Control

Health Advisory: Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure and Recall of Patients for Testing

On April 14, 2018, a local healthcare provider sent a notice to approximately 3,000 patients of the potential for bloodborne pathogen exposure at the provider’s office. Patients received a letter of explanation and a lab slip in the mail. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has established a phone line for patients to call if they have questions: (253) 798-6500. Patients can also get general information about hepatitis C and other bloodborne pathogens at www.tpchd.org/hepc.

Actions Requested

  • Patients may call you with questions about bloodborne pathogens. If your patient received a letter and a lab slip in the mail, please instruct him or her to follow the directions for testing.
  • Direct patients to Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s website (www.tpchd.org/hepc) or (253) 798-6500 for more information.
  • Be familiar with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) infection prevention guidelines and injection safety guidelines.

To prevent transmission of bloodborne pathogens like hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in healthcare settings, CDC recommends the following:

  • Minimize use of multi-dose vials for medication, as they can become contaminated. Whenever possible, use multi-dose vials for medications with only individual patients. Date multi-dose vials upon opening and discard within 28 days unless the manufacturer specifies a different date for that opened vial (or whenever sterility is compromised or questionable).
  • Healthcare providers should use safety needles and follow safe injection practices.
  • Never use fingerstick devices (including lancet pens and lancets) on more than one person.
  • Never use blood glucose meters with more than one person. If they must be shared, clean and disinfect the device after every use, per manufacturer’s instructions. If the manufacturer does not provide cleaning and disinfection instructions, do not use the device with more than one person.
  • Staff should receive regular training on infection prevention and injection safety. Providers can find more information about hepatitis C and proper infection control at www.tpchd.org/stophepc.