question-icon

Can hepatitis-C be contracted through a cut wound in the hand?

default
Posted on Thu, 21 May 2015
Question: Worried of getting HEP C

Actually, I am writing this mail from Kenya, XXXXXXX where I am on a business visit. Its a peculiar query, so please forgive me for sending this query and disturbing you.


Actually, I am on a business trip to Kenya XXXXXXX But unfortunately today some robbers had broken into our office and robbed us today.



While I was being robbed, the robber had handcuffed me with steel handcuffs and during that process, my hand was cut....it was bleeding.



Though I am safe now and have applied first aid, I was wondering on there a chance for me to contract Hep C virus in this incident.



When the person handcuffed me, the handcuff did not show any blood stain - at least I don't remember because I was at a state of shock at that time. Neither did I see the robber hands on whether the robber had any open wound or cut in his hand.



I am just worried still if the robber had any cut, could there be a chance of transmission since my hand was cut when he was putting the handcuffs. When I say cut, basically my index finger skin was peeled out - because the moment the robbers went away and someone opened the handcuffs, I say that my index finger was bleeding - skin had come out !



As I suffer from OCD....hence this anxiety about catching Hep C this way.



Could give your views whether there is a good or a remote chance of catching Hep C this way



Sorry to have bothered you.



Regards,


XXXXXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Muhammad Sareer Khalil (41 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Low probability of HCV transmission

Detailed Answer:
Hello and Welcome

I appreciate your concern and am sorry for your distress.

Based on the situation you described, Its highly unlikely that you were infected with Hepatitis C during this encounter. Hypothetically speaking, if the robber or the handcuffs had hepatitis C infected blood that came into contact with an open wound for a substantial period of time then there could be a possibility. Ideally, vigorous cleansing with povidone solution, triple antibiotic topical application and Tetanus toxoid booster shot should be administered soon after such as incident that is based on a head to toe exam of the victim soon after the incident. If you are worried then you can request your doctor for an ELISA HCV Antibody test to be more sure.

Wishing you best of health

Thanks

Please consult your doctor before deciding on any further course of action.

Dr. M.S. Khalil
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj
doctor
default
Follow up: Dr. Muhammad Sareer Khalil (12 hours later)
Thank you Dr. XXXXXXX

I guess the risk of Hep B transmission will also be similarly low in the above scenario. Appreciate if you can share your views.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Muhammad Sareer Khalil (9 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Hepatitis B is more contagious than Hepatitis C

Detailed Answer:
Hello again,

Hepatitis B is more contagious than Hepatitis C, so it has a higher risk of transmission.

Thanks..
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E
doctor
default
Follow up: Dr. Muhammad Sareer Khalil (43 minutes later)
Understood - but in the above context when the robber applied the handcuffs on me, do you feel the risk is very high or still low given the context.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Muhammad Sareer Khalil (14 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Still low

Detailed Answer:
The risk is still low because first, the robber has to be infected with hepatitis B or the cuffs had to be infected with such fluid containing the virus. Secondly , the breach on your skin has to be such as to allow adequate blood contact.

You can get Hepatitis B surface antigen and HCV antibody tests done just to be sure. We as healthcare workers get these tests done every six months in the facility where I work.

Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Pradeep Vitta
doctor
default
Follow up: Dr. Muhammad Sareer Khalil (24 hours later)
Dear Doctor, Thank you for your mail.

I just have a Final Set of Questions from you.

Actually, in 2004, I remember I had taken Hep B injection/vaccine. I remember, I had taken twice. 2nd shot was taken 4 weeks after the 1st shot. Another shot that is 6 months later might have been missed by me....I was unable to recall so I still remember the taking another shot after one year.

At that time, I was told that this dose would give protection for my entire life.

So my question is - with the above information, am I safe and secure from any possible infection transmission. 10 years have passed since I took the shots.

Next question is that in view of the above incident, do I need to take another vaccination again. If yes, then by when should I take because the incident occurred on Tuesday. Then tomorrow, I will need to take that shot.

Also, If I need to take the shot - can you tell me the name of the injection so that I can inform the doctor.....I am now back to Dubai.

Would be grateful if you answer these set of questions.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Muhammad Sareer Khalil (19 hours later)
Brief Answer:
queries answered

Detailed Answer:
Hello again,

The duration of protection that is rendered by Hepatitis B vaccination is not entirely understood. However, potentially, it may give lifelong protection with a complete series of vaccination. Yes, you are safe from a possible transmission from Hepatitis B. You should request for post exposure prophylaxis which includes a booster of Hep B vaccine plus Hep B immunoglobulin at different injection sites. The immunoglobulin should be administered within 48 hours or within a week at most, no later than that. The name of the vaccine is ENGERIX B.

Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
doctor
Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Muhammad Sareer Khalil

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2012

Answered : 2915 Questions

premium_optimized

The User accepted the expert's answer

Share on
Can hepatitis-C be contracted through a cut wound in the hand?

Brief Answer: Low probability of HCV transmission Detailed Answer: Hello and Welcome I appreciate your concern and am sorry for your distress. Based on the situation you described, Its highly unlikely that you were infected with Hepatitis C during this encounter. Hypothetically speaking, if the robber or the handcuffs had hepatitis C infected blood that came into contact with an open wound for a substantial period of time then there could be a possibility. Ideally, vigorous cleansing with povidone solution, triple antibiotic topical application and Tetanus toxoid booster shot should be administered soon after such as incident that is based on a head to toe exam of the victim soon after the incident. If you are worried then you can request your doctor for an ELISA HCV Antibody test to be more sure. Wishing you best of health Thanks Please consult your doctor before deciding on any further course of action. Dr. M.S. Khalil