CDC Issues Guidance for Managing Occupational Exposure to Zika in Health Care
April 18, 2017 03:58 PM
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance for managing occupational exposure to the Zika virus for health care workers.
The CDC guidance provides information to determine when health care workers should be tested for Zika virus infection following an occupational exposure, as well as recommendations for managing the condition after exposure.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, though sexual and maternal-fetal transmissions have also occurred and transmission via blood transfusion and blood products has been reported in Brazil. However, no there are no reports of Zika virus transmission through blood transfusion in the United States.
While there are no reports of Zika virus transmission from an infected patient to healthcare personnel (HCP) or other patients in healthcare settings, there has been occupational transmission of the virus in laboratory workers.
To prevent Zika virus transmission in a healthcare setting, all HCP should adhere to the Standard Precautions for all patient care activities. (See the 2007 Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings.) In addition, employers must abide by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard (29CFR 1910.1030), or similar OSHA State Plan standards, whenever HCP have occupational exposure to blood, bodily fluids or other potentially infectious substances. If HCP have an occupational while caring for a patient with known or suspected Zika virus infection, they should follow facility/employer procedures, including an occupational health assessment for potential exposure to infectious diseases, in addition to evaluation for potential Zika virus exposure.
If a possible occupational exposure occurs, exposed HCP should follow the established work- procedures, including:
Immediately washing wounds and skin sites that have been exposed to blood or body fluids with soap and water, and immediately flushing mucous membranes with copious clean water.
Immediately reporting the exposure to the appropriate department and individual(s) (e.g., Occupational Health Clinic, supervisor).
Please see the full guidance from the CDC for complete information on how to handle a possible Zika virus transmission in a healthcare setting.
The CDC expects to update its guidance as new information becomes available.