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Current Trends Summary: Recommendations for Preventing Transmission of Infection with Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type III/ Lymphadenopathy-Associated Virus in the Workplace

The information and recommendations contained in this document have been developed with particular emphasis on health-care workers and others in related occupations in which exposure might occur to blood from persons infected with HTLV-III/LAV, the "AIDS virus." Because of public concern about the purported risk of transmission of HTLV-III/LAV by persons providing personal services and those preparing and serving food and beverages, this document also addresses personal-service and food-service workers. Finally, it addresses "other workers"--persons in settings, such as offices, schools, factories, and construction sites, where there is no known risk of AIDS virus transmission.

Because AIDS is a bloodborne, sexually transmitted disease that is not spread by casual contact, this document does not recommend routine HTLV-III/LAV antibody screening for the groups addressed. Because AIDS is not transmitted through preparation or serving of food and beverages, these recommendations state that food-service workers known to be infected with AIDS should not be restricted from work unless they have another infection or illness for which such restriction would be warranted.

This document contains detailed recommendations for precautions appropriate to prevent transmission of all bloodborne infectious diseases to people exposed--in the course of their duties--to blood from persons who may be infected with HTLV-III/LAV. They emphasize that health-care workers should take all possible precautions to prevent needlestick injury. The recommendations are based on the well-documented modes of HTLV-III/LAV transmission and incorporate a "worst case" scenario, the hepatitis B model of transmission. Because the hepatitis B virus is also bloodborne and is both hardier and more infectious than HTLV-III/LAV, recommendations that would prevent transmission of hepatitis B will also prevent transmission of AIDS.

Formulation of specific recommendations for health-care workers who perform invasive procedures is in progress.

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