Needlestick is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Emergency Central is a collection of disease, drug, and test information including 5-Minute Emergency Medicine Consult, Davis’s Drug, McGraw-Hill Medical’s Diagnosaurus®, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and MEDLINE Journals created for emergency medicine professionals. Explore these free sample topics:

Emergency Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • Mechanisms of exposure to blood or body fluid:
    • Percutaneous
    • Mucous membrane
    • Skin
  • General prevention:
    • Universal precautions
    • Avoid recapping of needles
    • Wear gloves: Decreases amount of blood exposure by 50%
    • Double gloving
    • Follow body–substance isolation protocols.
    • Hepatitis B virus vaccination
  • Risk factors:
    • Risk of seroconversion from a single needlestick exposure without prior immunization:
      • Hepatitis B virus: 37–62% from HBsAg-positive and HBeAg-positive source, 23–37% from HBsAg-positive and HBeAg-negative source
      • Hepatitis C virus: 1.8%
      • HIV: Blood 0.3%, mucous membrane 0.09%
    • Infectiousness of various body fluids for HIV:
      • Plasma/serum: 10–5,000 ppm
      • CSF: 10–1,000 ppm
      • Semen: 10–50 ppm
      • Vaginal secretions, urine, saliva, tears, breast milk: <1 ppm
    • Factors affecting risk:
      • Viral load
      • Actual injection volume
      • Type and size of needle
      • Portal of entry (depth of inoculation)
      • Duration of contact
      • Level of disease in source patient
      • Host susceptibility
      • Barriers (e.g., through gloves)

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --