Infectious Exposure

UT Southwestern Medical Center provides medical care and counseling to students who have been exposed to blood and/or body fluids or active tuberculosis. UT Southwestern's Occupational Health department manages exposures to blood or body fluid. Student Health Services manages tuberculosis exposures. 

Follow these general instructions if an exposure occurs:

  • Needlestick/sharps injury or skin exposure: Immediately rinse the exposed body area thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Mucous membrane/eye exposure: Immediately flush eyes, mouth, or nose with plentiful amounts of water as soon as possible following exposure.

Reporting Procedure for On-Campus Exposures

Inform your supervisor (resident, attending, charge nurse), and then call the 24-hour Occupational Health nurse beeper (214-588-6263). The Occupational Health nurse will return the page and obtain specifics regarding the exposure.

Depending on the nature of the exposure, you will be advised regarding further evaluation. Occupational Health will draw appropriate labs, initiate treatment, prophylaxis, and plan any follow-up appointments.

If exposure occurs at the Dallas Veterans Administration Medical Center or another center, abide by that medical center’s exposure policy (you may want to use UT Southwestern’s policy as a reference). Report the incident to UT Southwestern Exposure Control Program at 214-645-5300 for follow-up care.

UT Southwestern will pay for initial testing and indicated prophylaxis treatment not covered by insurance.

Post-Exposure Active Tuberculosis

Students who have had an exposure to a patient with an active tuberculosis (TB) infection should follow these guidelines:

  • A student identified as coming in contact with an infected patient should have a tuberculin skin test (PPD) within 10 days of the exposure. If the student has had a negative PPD test within one to two months prior to the exposure, this will serve as the baseline test. 
  • A repeat PPD will be performed within six to eight weeks of the exposure. If the student has completed the Past Positive Quantiferon/Past Positive PPD Questionnaire due to past PPD-positive tests, he or she will repeat the questionnaire in 10 to 12 weeks to evaluate any change in health status. 
  • Students who have tested PPD-positive in the past should complete the Past Positive Quantiferon/Past Positive PPD Questionnaire (PDF) (also available in the Student Health Center) and return it to Student Health Services.
  • The student should report any symptoms of TB (fever, persistent cough, weight loss, fatigue, night sweats) to Student Health Services at 214-645-8690.