Treatment for Exposure to Respiratory Diseases

Some of the most common respiratory diseases healthcare workers may be exposed to include pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chickenpox), tuberculosis, meningococcal infections, and measles. Any time you have an exposure to one of these illnesses for which OHC assesses your contact with the patient, you must fill out a Tennessee First Report of Injury form. The purpose of filling out this form is to document the exposure with Risk Management as well as to receive reimbursement for post exposure medication if prescribed by OHC.

As soon as you suspect a patient has an infectious disease, Infection Control should be notified at 936-0725. Infection Control will determine if the diagnosis is confirmed and the dates that the patient is considered infectious.

The Occupational Health plan for evaluating and treating exposed faculty/staff includes the following:

  • Clinical managers are consulted to identify all exposed faculty/staff when a case is confirmed.
  • Each exposed faculty/staff will be evaluated and counseled by the Occupational Health Clinic (OHC) and provided treatment as indicated. Occupational exposures must be reported, treated and tracked according to Federal and State regulations, and documented in the employee's medical record.
  • OHC follows current CDC guidelines for treating exposures.

Note: For detailed information about next steps, call the Exposure Advisor at 875-STIK(7845). An OHC Nurse Practitioner is available 24 hours a day (936-0955) to provide prophylaxis for all confirmed exposures. Do not treat yourself or provide treatment to coworkers. Any treatment for exposures must be authorized by the Occupational Health Clinic to qualify for Workers' Compensation coverage. As most respiratory infectious exposures may be managed over the phone, there is no need to send exposed workers to the Emergency Department. Call Occupational Health instead.

Additional information:

Exposure to Pertussis