Needle-stick Guideline Clinical Presentation

Updated: Jul 01, 2021
  • Author: Megan A Stobart-Gallagher, DO; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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No symptoms of disease should be expected from the needle-stick exposure, upon a timely presentation.

The history should focus on the patient's medical history, including immunizations and risk factors for both HIV and hepatitis.

Specific questions include the following:

  • Complete immunization record, including tetanus and hepatitis B

  • Previous occupational exposure to body fluids

  • Intravenous drug abuse

  • Sexual history

  • Body piercing or tattooing

  • Receiving blood and/or blood products

  • Any history of dialysis

  • Travel outside the United States in the last year



No abnormal physical findings, other than evidence of the reported trauma, should be expected upon a timely presentation.

At a minimum, a baseline screening examination of the lungs, liver, and lymph nodes should be documented for future reference.



Risk factors for occupational exposure to body fluids include the following:

  • Failure to adhere to universal precautions

  • Using equipment designed without appropriate safety features

  • Performance of exposure-prone procedures