CDC Interim Guidance for Managing Occupational Exposure to Zika Virus for Healthcare Personnel

PUBLISHED: Apr 17, 2017
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Medical Office/Clinic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued interim guidance for managing occupational exposure to Zika Virus for healthcare providers. According to the CDC, there have been no reports of transmission of Zika virus from infected patients to healthcare personnel (HCP) or to other patients in healthcare settings. However, transmission related to occupational exposure to Zika virus has occurred in laboratory workers, including one in 2016 in which a research laboratorian became infected via a needlestick injury.

Recommendations in the interim guidance include:

  • HCP should adhere to Standard Precautions for all patient care activities
  • Employers must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard (29 CFR 1910.1030), or similar OSHA State Plan standards, whenever employees have occupational exposure to blood, body fluids, or other potentially infectious materials.
  • If HCP have an occupational exposure 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 (including bloodborne pathogens, such as HIV, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus), in addition to evaluation for potential Zika virus exposure.

The CDC interim guidance document provides guidance for facilities to determine when HCP should be tested for Zika virus infection following an occupational exposure and recommendations for post-exposure management. This document does not address all occupational healthcare that might be required or the necessary evaluation or follow-up for occupational exposures to other infectious diseases (e.g., bloodborne pathogens). This guidance is not intended for laboratory researchers or laboratory research personnel. The recommendations in this document will be updated as new information becomes available. StayAlert! will continue to monitor this topic and will publishe additional notices as information becomes available.

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