General Operating Room Precautions

  • Jonathan A. Myers

Health-care personnel (HCP) are exposed to a variety of body fluids containing infectious diseases in the operating room. Among these, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are the most prevalent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recorded 56 documented cases of occupationally acquired HIV infection among HCP through June 2000. Actual numbers may be significantly higher since many exposures go unreported. Of the documented cases, 86% acquired the infection percutaneously while 10% had mucocutaneous exposure, and 45% developed AIDS. The most common vehicle for transmission is infected blood (88%), with exposure to other body fluids or concentrated virus in the laboratory comprising the remainder. The estimated risk of HIV infection after percutaneous exposure to HIV-infected blood is 0.3%. Risk of infection from contact with mucous membranes is significantly lower. In contrast, the risk of hepatitis B infection from percutaneous exposure is 30%. Infection from hepatitis C exposure is reported at 1.8%.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Universal Precaution Sharp Instrument Percutaneous Exposure 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan A. Myers
    • 1
  1. 1.Undergraduate Surgical EducationRush Medical College of Rush University, Rush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA

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