The general consensus is that HCV is a greater threat to healthcare workers than HIV. The risk that healthcare workers will become infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) following an accidental needlestick is 20 to 40 times greater than their risk of HIV infection, according to data presented at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Disease. Sponsored by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Society for Microbiology (July 2000).
Occupational exposure to HCV is possible in any occupation in which there is
exposure to possibly infected blood, (i.e., nurses and phlebotomists
through needle sticks, emergency medical technicians, and firemen through
blood at accident scenes, etc.). The risk of HCV infection following a
needlestick injury with HCV-contaminated blood may be as high as
10%. Nonetheless, the risk of occupational transmission of HCV to Health
Care Workers is far less than that of HBV.
Current recommendations are that "both private and public health providers be made aware of the risk, and above all that all source patient providers be tested for hepatitis C."