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1.  Tuberculosis among Health-Care Workers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e494.
Background
The risk of transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from patients to health-care workers (HCWs) is a neglected problem in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Most health-care facilities in these countries lack resources to prevent nosocomial transmission of tuberculosis (TB).
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review to summarize the evidence on the incidence and prevalence of latent TB infection (LTBI) and disease among HCWs in LMICs, and to evaluate the impact of various preventive strategies that have been attempted. To identify relevant studies, we searched electronic databases and journals, and contacted experts in the field. We identified 42 articles, consisting of 51 studies, and extracted data on incidence, prevalence, and risk factors for LTBI and disease among HCWs. The prevalence of LTBI among HCWs was, on average, 54% (range 33% to 79%). Estimates of the annual risk of LTBI ranged from 0.5% to 14.3%, and the annual incidence of TB disease in HCWs ranged from 69 to 5,780 per 100,000. The attributable risk for TB disease in HCWs, compared to the risk in the general population, ranged from 25 to 5,361 per 100,000 per year. A higher risk of acquiring TB disease was associated with certain work locations (inpatient TB facility, laboratory, internal medicine, and emergency facilities) and occupational categories (radiology technicians, patient attendants, nurses, ward attendants, paramedics, and clinical officers).
Conclusions
In summary, our review demonstrates that TB is a significant occupational problem among HCWs in LMICs. Available evidence reinforces the need to design and implement simple, effective, and affordable TB infection-control programs in health-care facilities in these countries.
A systematic review demonstrates that tuberculosis is an important occupational problem among health care workers in low and middle-income countries.
Editors' Summary
Background.
One third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). In many people, the bug causes no health problems—it remains latent. But about 10% of infected people develop active, potentially fatal TB, often in their lungs. People with active pulmonary TB readily spread the infection to other people, including health-care workers (HCWs), in small airborne droplets produced when they cough or sneeze. In high-income countries such as the US, guidelines are in place to minimize the transmission of TB in health-care facilities. Administrative controls (for example, standard treatment plans for people with suspected or confirmed TB) aim to reduce the exposure of HCWs to people with TB. Environmental controls (for example, the use of special isolation rooms) aim to prevent the spread and to reduce the concentration of infectious droplets in the air. Finally, respiratory-protection controls (for example, personal respirators for nursing staff) aim to reduce the risk of infection when exposure to M. tuberculosis is unavoidably high. Together, these three layers of control have reduced the incidence of TB in HCWs (the number who catch TB annually) in high-income countries.
Why Was This Study Done?
But what about low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where more than 90% of the world's cases of TB occur? Here, there is little money available to implement even low-cost strategies to reduce TB transmission in health-care facilities—so how important an occupational disease is TB in HCWs in these countries? In this study, the researchers have systematically reviewed published papers to find out the incidence and prevalence (how many people in a population have a specific disease) of active TB and latent TB infections (LTBIs) in HCWs in LMICs. They have also investigated whether any of the preventative strategies used in high-income countries have been shown to reduce the TB burden in HCWs in poorer countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To identify studies on TB transmission to HCWs in LMICs, the researchers searched electronic databases and journals, and also contacted experts on TB transmission. They then extracted and analyzed the relevant data on TB incidence, prevalence, risk factors, and control measures. Averaged-out over the 51 identified studies, 54% of HCWs had LTBI. In most of the studies, increasing age and duration of employment in health-care facilities, indicating a longer cumulative exposure to infection, was associated with a higher prevalence of LTBI. The same trend was seen in a subgroup of medical and nursing students. After accounting for the incidence of TB in the relevant general population, the excess incidence of TB in the different studies that was attributable to being a HCW ranged from 25 to 5,361 cases per 100, 000 people per year. In addition, a higher risk of acquiring TB was associated with working in specific locations (for example, inpatient TB facilities or diagnostic laboratories) and with specific occupations, including nurses and radiology attendants; most of the health-care facilities examined in the published studies had no specific TB infection-control programs in place.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all systematic reviews, the accuracy of these findings may be limited by some aspects of the original studies, such as how the incidence of LTBI was measured. In addition, the possibility that the researchers missed some relevant published studies, or that only studies where there was a high incidence of TB in HCWs were published, may also affect the findings of this study. Nevertheless, they suggest that TB is an important occupational disease in HCWs in LMICs and that the HCWs most at risk of TB are those exposed to the most patients with TB. Reduction of that risk should be a high priority because occupational TB leads to the loss of essential, skilled HCWs. Unfortunately, there are few data available to indicate how this should be done. Thus, the researchers conclude, well-designed field studies are urgently needed to evaluate whether the TB-control measures that have reduced TB transmission to HCWs in high-income countries will work and be affordable in LMICs.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030494.
• US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases patient fact sheet on tuberculosis
• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information for patients and professionals on tuberculosis
• MedlinePlus encyclopedia entry on tuberculosis
• NHS Direct Online, from the UK National Health Service, patient information on tuberculosis
• US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, information about tuberculosis for health-care workers
• American Lung Association information on tuberculosis and health-care workers
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030494
PMCID: PMC1716189  PMID: 17194191
2.  High Incidence of Hospital Admissions with Multidrug Resistant and Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis among South African Health Care Workers 
Annals of internal medicine  2010;153(8):516-522.
Background
Nosocomial transmission has been described in extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) and HIV co-infected patients in South Africa. However, little is known about rates of drug-resistant TB among healthcare workers (HCWs) in TB and HIV endemic settings.
Objective
To estimate rates of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and XDR-TB hospitalizations among HCWs in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa.
Design
Retrospective study of drug-resistant TB patients admitted for the initiation of drug-resistant TB therapy between 2003 and 2008.
Setting
A public TB referral hospital in KZN, South Africa.
Participants
HCWs admitted with MDR-TB (N=203) or XDR-TB (N=28) were compared with non-HCWs admitted with MDR-TB (N=3807) or XDR-TB (N=344).
Measurements
Hospital admission rates, hospital admission incidence rate ratios.
Results
Estimated incidence of MDR-TB hospitalization was 64.8/100,000 for HCWs versus 11.9/100,000 for non-HCWs (I.R.R. 5.56 95% C.I. 4.87–6.35). Estimated incidence of XDR-TB hospitalizations was 7.2/100,000 among HCWs versus 1.1/100,000 in non-HCWs (I.R.R. 6.69 95% C.I. 4.38–10.20). A higher percentage of HCWs than non-HCWs with MDR-TB or XDR-TB were female (78% vs. 47%, p<0.001) and fewer HCWs reported previous TB treatment (41% vs. 92%, p<0.001). Prevalence of HIV infection did not differ between HCW and non-HCW (55% vs. 57%, p=0.71), but a higher percentage of HIV infected HCWs were on antiretroviral medications (63% vs. 47%, p<0.001).
Conclusion
HCWs in this HIV-endemic area were substantially more likely to be hospitalized with either MDR-TB or XDR-TB compared to non-HCWs. The increased risk may be explained by occupational exposure and not by other risk factors, underlining the urgent need for TB infection control programs.
Primary Funding Source
No funding was received for this study
doi:10.1059/0003-4819-153-8-201010190-00008
PMCID: PMC3074259  PMID: 20956708
3.  The Effects of Influenza Vaccination of Health Care Workers in Nursing Homes: Insights from a Mathematical Model 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e200.
Background
Annual influenza vaccination of institutional health care workers (HCWs) is advised in most Western countries, but adherence to this recommendation is generally low. Although protective effects of this intervention for nursing home patients have been demonstrated in some clinical trials, the exact relationship between increased vaccine uptake among HCWs and protection of patients remains unknown owing to variations between study designs, settings, intensity of influenza seasons, and failure to control all effect modifiers. Therefore, we use a mathematical model to estimate the effects of HCW vaccination in different scenarios and to identify a herd immunity threshold in a nursing home department.
Methods and Findings
We use a stochastic individual-based model with discrete time intervals to simulate influenza virus transmission in a 30-bed long-term care nursing home department. We simulate different levels of HCW vaccine uptake and study the effect on influenza virus attack rates among patients for different institutional and seasonal scenarios. Our model reveals a robust linear relationship between the number of HCWs vaccinated and the expected number of influenza virus infections among patients. In a realistic scenario, approximately 60% of influenza virus infections among patients can be prevented when the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 to 1. A threshold for herd immunity is not detected. Due to stochastic variations, the differences in patient attack rates between departments are high and large outbreaks can occur for every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
Conclusions
The absence of herd immunity in nursing homes implies that vaccination of every additional HCW protects an additional fraction of patients. Because of large stochastic variations, results of small-sized clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination should be interpreted with great care. Moreover, the large variations in attack rates should be taken into account when designing future studies.
Using a mathematical model to simulate influenza transmission in nursing homes, Carline van den Dool and colleagues find that each additional staff member vaccinated further reduces the risk to patients.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza, a contagious viral disease of the nose, throat, and airways. Most people recover completely from influenza within a week or two but some develop life-threatening complications such as bacterial pneumonia. As a result, influenza outbreaks kill about half a million people—mainly infants, elderly people, and chronically ill individuals—each year. To minimize influenza-related deaths, the World Health Organization recommends that vulnerable people be vaccinated against influenza every autumn. Annual vaccination is necessary because flu viruses continually make small changes to the viral proteins (antigens) that the immune system recognizes. This means that an immune response produced one year provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. To provide maximum protection against influenza, each year's vaccine contains disabled versions of the major circulating strains of influenza viruses.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most Western countries also recommend annual flu vaccination for health care workers (HCWs) in hospitals and other institutions to reduce the transmission of influenza to vulnerable patients. However, many HCWs don't get a regular flu shot, so should efforts be made to increase their rate of vaccine uptake? To answer this question, public-health experts need to know more about the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection. In particular, they need to know whether a high rate of vaccine uptake by HCWs will provide “herd immunity.” Herd immunity occurs because, when a sufficient fraction of a population is immune to a disease that passes from person to person, infected people rarely come into contact with susceptible people, which means that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are protected from the disease. In this study, the researchers develop a mathematical model to investigate the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection in a nursing home department.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To predict influenza virus attack rates (the number of patient infections divided by the number of patients in a nursing home department during an influenza season) at different levels of HCW vaccine uptake, the researchers develop a stochastic transmission model to simulate epidemics on a computer. This model predicts that as the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 (no HCWs vaccinated) to 1 (all the HCWs vaccinated), the expected average influenza virus attack rate decreases at a constant rate. In the researchers' baseline scenario—a nursing home department with 30 beds where patients come into contact with other patients, HCWs, and visitors—the model predicts that about 60% of the patients who would have been infected if no HCWs had been vaccinated are protected when all the HCWs are vaccinated, and that seven HCWs would have to be vaccinated to protect one patient. This last figure does not change with increasing vaccine uptake, which indicates that there is no level of HCW vaccination that completely stops the spread of influenza among the patients; that is, there is no herd immunity. Finally, the researchers show that large influenza outbreaks can happen by chance at every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all mathematical models, the accuracy of these predictions may depend on the specific assumptions built into the model. Therefore the researchers verified that their findings hold for a wide range of plausible assumptions. These findings have two important practical implications. First, the direct relationship between HCW vaccination and patient protection and the lack of any herd immunity suggest that any increase in HCW vaccine uptake will be beneficial to patients in nursing homes. That is, increasing the HCW vaccination rate from 80% to 90% is likely to be as important as increasing it from 10% to 20%. Second, even 100% HCW vaccination cannot guarantee that influenza outbreaks will not occasionally occur in nursing homes. Because of the large variation in attack rates, the results of small clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination may be inaccurate and future studies will need to be very large if they are to provide reliable estimates of the amount of protection that HCW vaccination provides to vulnerable patients.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050200.
Read the related PLoSMedicine Perspective by Cécile Viboud and Mark Miller
A related PLoSMedicine Research Article by Jeffrey Kwong and colleagues is also available
The World Health Organization provides information on influenza and on influenza vaccines (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information for patients and professionals on all aspects of influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK Health Protection Agency also provides information on influenza
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to other information about influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service provides information about herd immunity, including a simple explanatory animation
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides an overview on the types of influenza
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050200
PMCID: PMC2573905  PMID: 18959470
4.  Hepatitis B Vaccination Status and Needlestick Injuries Among Healthcare Workers in Syria 
Background:
Although a majority of countries in the Middle East show intermediate or high endemicity of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which clearly poses a serious public health problem in the region, the situation in the Republic of Syria remains unclear. The aim of this study is to determine the hepatitis B vaccination status, to assess the number of vaccinations administered, and to estimate the annual incidence of needlestick injuries (NSIs) among healthcare workers (HCWs) in Aleppo University hospitals.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional design with a survey questionnaire was used for exploring details of NSIs during 2008, hepatitis B vaccination status, and HBV infection among a random stratified sample of HCWs in three tertiary hospitals in Aleppo (n = 321).
Results:
Two hundred and forty-six (76.6%) HCWs had sustained at least one NSI during 2008. Nine (2.8%) had HBV chronic infection and 75 HCWs (23.4%) were never vaccinated. Anesthesiology technicians had the greatest exposure risk when compared to office workers [OR = 16,95% CI (2.55-100), P < 0.01], doctors [OR = 10,95% CI (2.1 47.57), P < 0.01], and nurses [OR = 6.75,95% CI (1.56-29.03), P = 0.01]. HCWs under 25 and between the age of 25 and 35 years were at increased risk for NSI when compared to HCWs older than 45 years [OR = 3.12,95% CI (1.19-8.19), P = 0.02] and [OR = 3.05,95% CI (1.42-6.57), P < 0.01], respectively.
Conclusion:
HCWs at Aleppo University hospitals are frequently exposed to blood-borne infections. Precautions and protection from NSIs are important in preventing infection of HCWs. Education about the transmission of blood-borne infections, vaccination, and post-exposure prophylaxis must be implemented and strictly monitored.
doi:10.4103/0974-777X.59247
PMCID: PMC2840977  PMID: 20300414
Needlestick injuries; Hepatitis B infection; Healthcare workers
5.  Increased risk of tuberculosis in health care workers: a retrospective survey at a teaching hospital in Istanbul, Turkey 
Background
Tuberculosis (TB) is an established occupational disease affecting health care workers (HCWs). Determining the risk of TB among HCWs is important to enable authorites to take preventative measures in health care facilities and protect HCWs. This study was designed to assess the incidence of TB in a teaching hospital in Istanbul, Turkey. This study is retrospective study of health records of HCWs in our hospital from 1991 to 2000.
Results
The mean workforce of the hospital was 3359 + 33.2 between 1991 and 2000. There were 31 cases (15 male) meeting the diagnostic criteria for TB, comprising eight doctors, one nurse and 22 other health professionals. Mean incidence of TB was 96 per 100,000 for all HCWs (relative risk: 2.71), 79 per 100,000 for doctors (relative risk: 2.2), 14 per 100,000 for nurses and 121 per 100,000 (relative risk: 3.4) for other professionals. The mean incidence of TB in Turkey between 1991 and 2000 was 35.4 per 100,000. Incidence of TB was similar in the Departments of Chest Diseases and Clinical Medicine but there were no TB cases in the Basic Science and Managerial Departments.
Conclusion
HCWs in Turkey who work in clinics have an increased risk for TB. Post-graduate education and prevention programs reduce the risk of TB. Control programs to prevent nosocomial transmission of TB should be established in hospitals to reduce risk for HCWs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-2-14
PMCID: PMC122064  PMID: 12144709
6.  Hepatitis B and C seroprevalence among health care workers in a tertiary hospital in Rwanda 
Background
Hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) are significant global public health challenges with health care workers (HCWs) at especially high risk of exposure in resource-poor settings. We aimed to measure HBV and HCV prevalence, identify exposure risks and evaluate hepatitis-related knowledge amongst Rwandan tertiary hospital HCWs.
Methods
A cross sectional study involving tertiary hospital employees was conducted from October to December 2013. A pre-coded questionnaire was used to collect data on HCWs' socio-demographics, risk factors and knowledge of blood-borne infection prevention. Blood samples were drawn and screened for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-HCV antibodies.
Results
Among 378 consenting HCWs, the prevalence of HBsAg positivity was 2.9% (11/378; 95% CI: 1.9 to 4.6%) and anti-HCV positivity 1.3% (5/378; 95% CI: 0.7 to 2.7%). Occupational exposure to blood was reported in 57.1% (216/378). Of the 17 participants (4.5%; 17/378) who reported having received the HBV vaccine, only 3 participants (0.8%) had received the three-dose vaccination course. Only 42 HCWs (42/378; 11.1%) were aware that a HBV vaccine was available. Most HCW (95.2%; 360/378) reported having been tested for HIV in the last 6 months.
Conclusions
Despite their high workplace exposure risk, HBV and HCV sero-prevalence rates among HCWs were low. The low HBV vaccination coverage and poor knowledge of preventative measures among HCWs suggest low levels of viral hepatitis awareness despite this high exposure.
doi:10.1093/trstmh/trv004
PMCID: PMC4321023  PMID: 25636951
Health care workers; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Rwanda
7.  Influenza and hepatitis B vaccination coverage among healthcare workers in Croatian hospitals: a series of cross-sectional surveys, 2006–2011 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:520.
Background
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at an increased risk of exposure to and transmission of infectious diseases. Vaccination lowers morbidity and mortality of HCWs and their patients. To assess vaccination coverage for influenza and hepatitis B virus (HBV) among HCWs in Croatian hospitals, we conducted yearly nationwide surveys.
Methods
From 2006 to 2011, all 66 Croatian public hospitals, representing 43–60% of all the HCWs in Croatia, were included. Statistical analysis was performed using the Kruskal–Wallis analysis of variance, Dunn’s multiple comparison analysis and the chi-square test, as appropriate.
Results
The median seasonal influenza vaccination coverage rates in pre-pandemic (2006–2008) seasons were 36%, 25% and 29%, respectively. By occupation, influenza vaccination rates among physicians were 33 ± 21%, 33 ± 22% among graduate nurses, 30±34% among other HCWs, 26 ± 21% among housekeeping and the lowest, 23 ± 17%, among practical nurses (p < 0.01). In 2009–2010 season, seasonal influenza vaccination coverage was 30%, while overall vaccination coverage against pandemic influenza was fewer than 5%. Median vaccination coverage in the post-pandemic seasons of 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 decreased to 15% and 14%, respectively (reduction of 24% and 35%, respectively, p < 0.0001). Meanwhile, the median mandatory HBV vaccination coverage was 98%, albeit with considerable differences according to work setting (range 19–100%) and occupation (range 4–100%).
Conclusions
We found substantial year-on-year variations in seasonal influenza vaccination rates, with reduction in post pandemic influenza seasons. HBV vaccination is satisfactory compared to seasonal influenza vaccination coverage, although substantial variations by occupation and work setting were observed. These findings highlight the need for national strategies that optimize vaccination coverage among HCWs in Croatian hospitals. Further studies are needed to establish the potential role of mandatory vaccination for seasonal influenza.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-520
PMCID: PMC3840606  PMID: 24192278
Influenza; Hepatitis B; Healthcare workers; Vaccination
8.  Prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection among health care workers in a tertiary hospital in Tanzania 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:386.
Background
Sub-Saharan Africa has a high prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. Health care workers (HCWs) are at high risk of contracting HBV infection through their occupation. Vaccination of HCWs against HBV is standard practice in many countries, but is often not implemented in resource-poor settings. We aimed with this cross-sectional study to determine HBV prevalence, HCW vaccination status, and the risk factors for HCWs contracting HBV infection in Tanzania.
Methods
We enrolled 600 HCWs from a tertiary Tanzanian hospital. Their demographics, medical histories, HBV vaccination details and risk factors for contracting blood-borne infections were collected using a standardized questionnaire. Serum samples were tested for HBV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) markers by ELISA techniques, PCR and an anti-HBs rapid test. HCWs were divided in two subgroups: those at risk of contracting HBV (rHCW 79.2 %) via exposure to potentially infectious materials, and those considered not at risk of contracting HBV (nrHCW, 20.8 %).
Results
The overall prevalence of chronic HBV infection (HBsAg+, anti-HBc+, anti-HBs-) was 7.0 % (42/598). Chronic HBV infection was found in 7.4 % of rHCW versus 5.6 % of nrHCW (p-value = 0.484). HCWs susceptible to HBV (HBsAg-, anti-HBc-, anti-HBs-) comprised 31.3 %. HBV immunity achieved either by healed HBV infection (HBsAg-, anti-HBc+, anti-HBs+) or by vaccination (HBsAg-, anti-HBc-, anti-HBs+) comprised 36.5 % and 20.2 %, respectively. 4.8 % of participants had indeterminate results (HBsAg-, anti-HBc+, anti-HBc-IgM-, anti-HBs-). Only 77.1 % of HCWs who received a full vaccination course had an anti-HBs titer >10 ml/U. An anti-HBs point-of-care test was 80.7 % sensitive and 96.9 % specific. There was a significantly higher risk for contracting HBV (anti-HBc+) among those HCW at occupational risk (rHCW) of older age (odds ratios (OR) in rHCW 3.297, p < 0.0001 vs. nrHCW 1.385, p = 0.606) and among those HCW being employed more than 11 years (OR 2.51, p < 0.0001***). HCV prevalence was low (HCV antibodies 1.2 % and HCV-RNA 0.3 %).
Conclusions
Chronic HBV infection is common among Tanzanian HCWs. One third of HCWs were susceptible to HBV infection, highlighting the need for vaccination. Due to high prevalence of naturally acquired immunity against HBV pre-testing might be a useful tool to identify susceptible individuals.
doi:10.1186/s12879-015-1129-z
PMCID: PMC4581415  PMID: 26399765
Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis C virus; Health care workers; Point-of-care test; Tanzania
9.  Infectious diseases in healthcare workers – an analysis of the standardised data set of a German compensation board 
Introduction
Healthcare workers (HCW) are exposed to infectious agents. Disease surveillance is therefore needed in order to foster prevention.
Methods
The data of the compensation board that covers HCWs of non-governmental healthcare providers in Germany was analysed for a five-year period. For hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections, the period analysed was extended to the last 15 years. The annual rate of occupational infectious diseases (OIDs) per 100,000 employees was calculated. For needlestick injuries (NSI) a rate per 1,000 employees was calculated.
Results
Within the five years from 2005 to 2009 a total of 384 HCV infections were recognised as OIDs (1.5/100,000 employees). Active TB was the second most frequent cause of an OID. While the numbers of HBV and HCV infections decreased, the numbers for active TB did not follow a clear pattern. Needlestick injuries (NSIs) were reported especially often at hospitals (29.9/1,000 versus 7.4/1,000 employees for all other HCWs).
Conclusion
Although they are declining, HCV infections remain frequent in HCWs, as do NSIs. Whether the reinforcement of the recommendations for the use of safety devices in Germany will prevent NSIs and therefore HCV infections should be closely observed.
doi:10.1186/1745-6673-7-8
PMCID: PMC3474162  PMID: 22553942
Healthcare workers; Infections; Tuberculosis; Needlestick injuries; Blood-borne virus infections
10.  Chronic low back pain among French healthcare workers and prognostic factors of return to work (RTW): a non-randomized controlled trial 
Background
Many factors influence the return to work of workers with chronic low back pain (CLBP). They have been said to vary according to socio-professional group. This study first aimed to compare prognostic factors influencing the return to work of CLBP healthcare workers (HCWs) and other workers (non-HCWs) after rehabilitation coupled with an occupational intervention. The second objective was to improve the evolution of indicators such as clinical examination, psychosocial impact and pain impact.
Methods
Between 2007 and 2012, a cohort of 217 CLBP workers (54.8 %-women; mean age = 41.3 ± 9.5 years, 118 non-HCWs; 99 HCWs mainly from the public sector) was included in an ambulatory rehabilitation program (standard physiotherapy or intensive network physiotherapy) coupled with an occupational intervention. Workers completed a questionnaire and had a clinical examination at baseline and after 24 months’ follow up. Physical, social and occupational data was collected at the same time. Statistical analyses were performed to evaluate prognostic factors for return to work and compare the two worker populations.
Results
There was no difference between groups for the rate of OP (occupational physician) intervention or type of physiotherapy. 77.3 % of workers returned to work after 2 years following inclusion. To be an HCW (OR 0.1; 95 % CI [0.03–0.34]), to have less than 112 sick- leave days (OR 1.00; 95 % CI [0.93–1.00]), a small fingertip-floor distance (OR 0.96; 95 % CI [0.93–0.99]), a low anxiety/depression score (OR 0.97; 95 % CI [0.95–1.00]), a low impact of CLBP on daily life (OR 0.96; 95 % CI [0.93–1.00]), and on quality of life (OR 0.98; 95 % CI [0.95–1.00]) at baseline were statistically associated with return to work after 2 years of follow up. Only the profession (workplace) was statistically associated with return to work after 2 years of follow up using multivariate analysis.
Conclusion
To our knowledge, this is the first cohort study concerning predictive factors of RTW among CLBP workers after 2 years of follow up. Interventions in the work environment did not seem to predict job retention significantly. But only 50 % of the employees in both groups (HCW and non-HCW) had one intervention at their workplace after 2 years. This study underlined the fact that the type of physiotherapy with a well-trained physiotherapist used to take care of CLBP could not impact on the RTW forecast. To develop these initial results, it might be interesting to study the comparison between private and public sectors and to randomize the physiotherapeutic intervention.
doi:10.1186/s12995-015-0082-5
PMCID: PMC4625968  PMID: 26516339
11.  Is Universal HBV Vaccination of Healthcare Workers a Relevant Strategy in Developing Endemic Countries? The Case of a University Hospital in Niger 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44442.
Background
Exposure to hepatitis B virus (HBV) remains a serious risk to healthcare workers (HCWs) in endemic developing countries owing to the strong prevalence of HBV in the general and hospital populations, and to the high rate of occupational blood exposure. Routine HBV vaccination programs targeted to high-risk groups and especially to HCWs are generally considered as a key element of prevention strategies. However, the high rate of natural immunization among adults in such countries where most infections occur perinatally or during early childhood must be taken into account.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We conducted a cross sectional study in 207 personnel of 4 occupational groups (medical, paramedical, cleaning staff, and administrative) in Niamey’s National Hospital, Niger, in order to assess the prevalence of HBV markers, to evaluate susceptibility to HBV infection, and to identify personnel who might benefit from vaccination. The proportion of those who declared a history of occupational blood exposure ranged from 18.9% in the administrative staff to 46.9% in paramedical staff. Only 7.2% had a history of vaccination against HBV with at least 3 injections. Ninety two percent were anti-HBc positive. When we focused on170 HCWs, only 12 (7.1%) showed no biological HBV contact. Twenty six were HBsAg positive (15,3%; 95% confidence interval: 9.9%–20.7%) of whom 8 (32%) had a viral load >2000 IU/ml.
Conclusions/Significance
The very small proportion of HCWs susceptible to HBV infection in our study and other studies suggests that in a global approach to prevent occupational infection by bloodborne pathogens, a universal hepatitis B vaccination of HCWs is not priority in these settings. The greatest impact on the risk will most likely be achieved by focusing efforts on primary prevention strategies to reduce occupational blood exposure. HBV screening in HCWs and treatment of those with chronic HBV infection should be however considered.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044442
PMCID: PMC3436880  PMID: 22970218
12.  Long-Term Persistence of Seroprotection by Hepatitis B Vaccination in Healthcare Workers of Southern Italy 
Hepatitis Monthly  2012;12(9):e6025.
Background
The impact of hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination campaigns on HBV epidemiology needs to be evaluated, in order to assess the long-term immunity offered by vaccines against HBV.
Objectives
To evaluate the current status of anti-HBV vaccine coverage among healthcare workers (HCWs) in Southern Italy, and to determine the long-term persistence of antibodies to hepatitis B surface antigens (anti-HBs) in such a cohort of subjects.
Patients and Methods
A longitudinal, retrospective seroepidemiological survey was conducted among 451 HCWs, who were working at or visiting, the Occupational Health Department of a city hospital, in Catania, Italy, between January 1976 and December 2010.
Results
At the 30-year follow-up (mean follow-up 10.15 ± 5.96 years, range 0.74-30), 261 HCWs had detectable anti-HBs titers indicating a persistence of seroprotection of 89.4% (out of 292 anti-HBs positive results, three months after vaccination). An inadequate vaccination schedule was the strongest predictor of antibody loss during follow-up (OR = 8.37 95% CI: 5.41-12.95, P < 0.001). A Kaplan-Maier survival curve revealed that the persistence of anti-HBs 30 years after vaccination, was 92.2% for high responders, while it was only 27.3% for low responders (P = 0.001).
Conclusions
A good level of seroprotection persisted in 57.9% of the subjects after 30 years. Factors related to this immunization status confirmed the importance of vaccinating HCWs early in their careers and ensuring an adequate vaccination schedule. However, with particular reference to the low rate of hepatitis B vaccine coverage among HCWs in Southern Italy, the implementation of a new educational intervention as part of an active vaccination program is needed.
doi:10.5812/hepatmon.6025
PMCID: PMC3475028  PMID: 23087756
Hepatitis B Virus; Vaccines; Health Personnel; Vaccination
13.  Low vaccination coverage among italian healthcare workers in 2013 
Vaccination of healthcare workers (HCWs) reduces the risk of occupational infections, prevents nosocomial transmission and maintains healthcare delivery during outbreaks. Despite the European directive and national legislation on workers’ protection, immunization coverage among HCWs has often been very low. In light of Italian National Vaccination Plan 2012–2014 recommendations, the aim of this study was to assess levels of immunization and factors influencing adherence to vaccinations needed for HCWs in Puglia region, South Italy. The study was conducted using an interview-based standardized anonymous questionnaire administered to hospital employees in the period November 2009-March 2011. A total of 2198 health professionals responded in 51/69 Apulian hospitals (median age: 45 years; 65.2% nurses, 22.6% doctors and 12.2% other hospital personnel). Vaccination coverage was 24.8% for influenza, 70.1% for hepatitis B, 9.7% for MMR, 3.6% for varicella, and 15.5% for Td booster. Receiving counselling from occupational health physicians (OHPs) was associated with influenza (OR = 1.8; 95%CI = 1.5–2.2; P < 0.001), hepatitis B (OR = 4.9; 95%CI = 3.9–6.3; P < 0.001), varicella (OR = 43.7; 95%CI = 18.9–101.7; P < 0.001), MMR (OR = 8.8; 95%CI = 4.1–18.6; P < 0.001) and tetanus (OR = 50.5; 95%CI = 30.1–88.3; P < 0.001) vaccine uptake.
OHPs should be trained with standard guidelines specific for healthcare settings and HCWs’ risk groups to facilitate their crucial role in improving vaccine coverage among HCWs and increase awareness on the duty to protect both employees and patients.
doi:10.4161/hv.34415
PMCID: PMC4514380  PMID: 25483526
healthcare workers; vaccine; influenza; hepatitis B; measles; mumps; rubella; varicella; Td booster
14.  Vaccination coverage for seasonal influenza among residents and health care workers in Norwegian nursing homes during the 2012/13 season, a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:434.
Background
WHO has set a goal of 75% vaccination coverage (VC) for seasonal influenza for residents and also recommends immunization for all healthcare workers (HCWs) in nursing homes (NHs). We conducted a cross-sectional study to estimate the VC for seasonal influenza vaccination in Norwegian NHs in 2012/2013 since the VC in NHs and HCWs is unknown.
Methods
We gathered information from NHs concerning VC for residents and HCWs, and vaccination costs for HCWs, using a web-based questionnaire. We calculated VC among NH residents by dividing the number of residents vaccinated by the total number of residents for each NH. VC among HCWs was similarly calculated by dividing the number of HCWs vaccinated by the total number of HCWs for each NH. The association between VC and possible demographic variables were explored.
Results
Of 910 NHs, 354 (38.9%) responded. Median VC per NH was 71.7% (range 0-100) among residents and 0% (range 0-100) among HCWs, with 214 (60%) NHs reporting that none of their HCWs was vaccinated. Median VC for HCWs in NHs with an annual vaccination campaign was 0% (range 0-53), compared to when they did not have an annual vaccination campaign 0% (range 0-12); the distributions in the two groups differed significantly (Mann–Whitney U, P = 0.006 two tailed).
Conclusion
Median influenza VC in Norwegian NHs was marginally lower than recommended among residents and exceptionally low among HCWs. The VC in HCWs was significantly higher when NHs had an annual vaccination campaign. We recommend that NHs implement measures to increase VC among residents and HCWs, including vaccination campaigns and studies to identify potential barriers to vaccination.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-434
PMCID: PMC4049507  PMID: 24885662
15.  Healthcare workers as parents: attitudes toward vaccinating their children against pandemic influenza A/H1N1 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:596.
Background
Both the health care workers (HCWs) and children are target groups for pandemic influenza vaccination. The coverage of the target populations is an important determinant for impact of mass vaccination. The objective of this study is to determine the attitudes of HCWs as parents, toward vaccinating their children with pandemic influenza A/H1N1 vaccine.
Methods
A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted with health care workers (HCWs) in a public hospital during December 2009 in Istanbul. All persons employed in the hospital with or without a health-care occupation are accepted as HCW. The HCWs who are parents of children 6 months to 18 years of age were included in the study. Pearson's chi-square test and logistic regression analysis was applied for the statistical analyses.
Results
A total of 389 HCWs who were parents of children aged 6 months-18 years participated study. Among all participants 27.0% (n = 105) reported that themselves had been vaccinated against pandemic influenza A/H1N1. Two third (66.1%) of the parents answered that they will not vaccinate their children, 21.1% already vaccinated and 12.9% were still undecided. Concern about side effect was most reported reason among who had been not vaccinated their children and among undecided parents. The second reason for refusing the pandemic vaccine was concerns efficacy of the vaccine. Media was the only source of information about pandemic influenza in nearly one third of HCWs. Agreement with vaccine safety, self receipt of pandemic influenza A/H1N1 vaccine, and trust in Ministry of Health were found to be associated with the positive attitude toward vaccinating their children against pandemic influenza A/H1N1.
Conclusions
Persuading parents to accept a new vaccine seems not be easy even if they are HCWs. In order to overcome the barriers among HCWs related to pandemic vaccines, determination of their misinformation, attitudes and behaviors regarding the pandemic influenza vaccination is necessary. Efforts for orienting the HCWs to use evidence based scientific sources, rather than the media for information should be considered by the authorities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-596
PMCID: PMC3091558  PMID: 20932342
16.  A Surveillance System to Reduce Transmission of Pandemic H1N1 (2009) Influenza in a 2600-Bed Medical Center 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32731.
Background
Concerns have been raised about how the transmission of emerging infectious diseases from patients to healthcare workers (HCWs) and vice versa could be recognized and prevented in a timely manner. An effective strategy to block transmission of pandemic H1N1 (2009) influenza in HCWs is important.
Methodology/Principal Findings
An infection control program was implemented to survey and prevent nosocomial outbreaks of H1N1 (2009) influenza at a 2,600-bed, tertiary-care academic hospital. In total, 4,963 employees at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital recorded their temperature and received online education on control practices for influenza infections. Administration records provided vaccination records and occupational characteristics of all HCWs. Early recognition of a pandemic H1N1 (2009) influenza case was followed by a semi-structured questionnaire to analyze possible routes of patient contact, household contact, or unspecified contact. Surveillance spanned August 1, 2009 to January 31, 2010; 51 HCWs were confirmed to have novel H1N1 (2009) influenza by quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Prevalence of patient contact, household contact, or unspecified contact infection was 13.7% (7/51), 13.7% (7/51), and 72.5% (37/51), respectively. The prevalence of the novel H1N1 infection was significantly lower among vaccinated HCWs than among unvaccinated HCWs (p<0.001). Higher viral loads in throat swabs were found in HCWs with patient and household contact infection than in those with unspecified contact infection (4.15 vs. 3.53 copies/mL, log10, p = 0.035).
Conclusion
A surveillance system with daily temperature recordings and online education for HCWs is important for a low attack rate of H1N1 (2009) influenza transmission before H1N1 (2009) influenza vaccination is available, and the attack rate is further decreased after mass vaccination. Unspecified contact infection rates were significantly higher than that of patient contact and household contact infection, highlighting the need for public education of influenza transmission in addition to hospital infection control.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032731
PMCID: PMC3302803  PMID: 22427871
17.  Healthcare workers and health care-associated infections: knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in emergency departments in Italy 
Background
This survey assessed knowledge, attitudes, and compliance regarding standard precautions about health care-associated infections (HAIs) and the associated determinants among healthcare workers (HCWs) in emergency departments in Italy.
Methods
An anonymous questionnaire, self-administered by all HCWs in eight randomly selected non-academic acute general public hospitals, comprised questions on demographic and occupational characteristics; knowledge about the risks of acquiring and/or transmitting HAIs from/to a patient and standard precautions; attitudes toward guidelines and risk perceived of acquiring a HAI; practice of standard precautions; and sources of information.
Results
HCWs who know the risk of acquiring Hepatitis C (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from a patient were in practice from less years, worked fewer hours per week, knew that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, knew that HCV and HIV infections can be serious, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Those who know that gloves, mask, protective eyewear, and hands hygiene after removing gloves are control measures were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, knew that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, did not know that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Being a nurse, knowing that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, obtaining information from educational courses and scientific journals, and needing information were associated with a higher perceived risk of acquiring a HAI. HCWs who often or always used gloves and performed hands hygiene measures after removing gloves were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, and knew that hands hygiene after removing gloves was a control measure.
Conclusions
HCWs have high knowledge, positive attitudes, but low compliance concerning standard precautions. Nurses had higher knowledge, perceived risk, and appropriate HAIs' control measures than physicians and HCWs answered correctly and used appropriately control measures if have received information from educational courses and scientific journals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-35
PMCID: PMC2848042  PMID: 20178573
18.  INFLUENZA VACCINATION IN HEALTHCARE WORKERS: 10-YEAR EXPERIENCE OF A LARGE HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATION 
Objective
To describe the results of different measures implemented to improve compliance with the healthcare worker (HCW) influenza immunization program at BJC HealthCare between 1997 and 2007.
Design
Descriptive retrospective study.
Setting
BJC HealthCare, a 13-hospital nonprofit healthcare organization in the Midwest.
Methods
Review and analysis of HCW influenza vaccination data from all BJC HealthCare Occupational Health Services and hospitals between 1997 and 2007. Occupational health staff, infection prevention personnel and key influenza vaccine campaign leaders were also interviewed regarding implementation measures during the study years.
Results
At the end of 2007, BJC HealthCare had approximately 26,000 employees. Using multiple progressive interventions, influenza vaccination rates among BJC employees increased from 45% in 1997 to 71.9% in 2007 (p<0.001). The influenza vaccination rate in 2007 was significantly higher than in 2006, 71.9% versus 54.2% (p<0.001). Five hospitals had influenza vaccination rates over the target goal of 80% in 2007. The most successful interventions were adding influenza vaccination rates to the incented quality scorecard and declination statements, both implemented in 2007. The most important barriers identified in the interviews related to HCWs’ misconceptions about influenza vaccination and a perceived lack of leadership support.
Conclusions
Influenza vaccination rates in HCWs significantly improved with multiple interventions over the years. However, the BJC HealthCare influenza vaccination target of 80% was not attained at all hospitals with these measures. More aggressive interventions such as implementing mandatory influenza vaccination policies are needed to achieve higher vaccination rates.
doi:10.1086/650449
PMCID: PMC3919446  PMID: 20055666
19.  Prevalence and Incidence of Latent Tuberculosis Infection in Georgian Healthcare Workers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58202.
Background
Tuberculosis is a major occupational hazard in low and middle-income countries. Limited data exist on serial testing of healthcare workers (HCWs) with interferon-γ release assays (IGRAs) for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), especially in low and middle-income countries. We sought to evaluate the rates of and risk factors for LTBI prevalence and LTBI test conversion among HCWs using the tuberculin skin test (TST) and QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-tube assay (QFT-GIT).
Methods
A prospective longitudinal study was conducted among HCWs in the country of Georgia. Subjects completed a questionnaire, and TST and QFT-GIT tests were performed. LTBI testing was repeated 6-26 months after baseline testing.
Results
Among 319 HCWs enrolled, 89% reported prior BCG vaccination, and 60% worked in TB healthcare facilities (HCFs). HCWs from TB HCFs had higher prevalence of positive QFT-GIT and TST than those from non-TB HCFs: 107/194 (55%) vs. 30/125 (31%) QFT-GIT positive (p<0.0001) and 128/189 (69%) vs. 64/119 (54%) TST positive (p = 0.01). There was fair agreement between TST and QFT-GIT (kappa = 0.42, 95% CI 0.31–0.52). In multivariate analysis, frequent contact with TB patients was associated with increased risk of positive QFT-GIT (aOR 3.04, 95% CI 1.79–5.14) but not positive TST. Increasing age was associated with increased risk of positive QFT-GIT (aOR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01–1.09) and TST (aOR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01–1.10). High rates of HCW conversion were seen: the QFT-GIT conversion rate was 22.8/100 person-years, and TST conversion rate was 17.1/100 person-years. In multivariate analysis, female HCWs had decreased risk of TST conversion (aOR 0.05, 95% CI 0.01–0.43), and older HCWs had increased risk of QFT-GIT conversion (aOR 1.07 per year, 95% CI 1.01–1.13).
Conclusion
LTBI prevalence and LTBI test conversion rates were high among Georgian HCWs, especially among those working at TB HCFs. These data highlight the need for increased implementation of TB infection control measures.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058202
PMCID: PMC3607575  PMID: 23536789
20.  Incidence of Visits for Health Care Worker Blood or Body Fluid Exposures and HIV Postexposure Prophylaxis Provision at Rhode Island Emergency Departments 
Objectives
To compare the incidence and types of emergency department (ED) visits for blood or body fluid exposures sustained by health care workers (HCWs) in Rhode Island and to identify factors predictive of HIV postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) utilization for these exposures.
Methods
A retrospective study of ED visits for blood or body fluid exposures to all Rhode Island EDs from January 1995 to June 2001 was conducted. Average incidence rates (IRs) of visits by HCW occupation and type of exposure were estimated and compared. Logistic regression models were created to determine which HCWs were more likely to be offered and to accept HIV PEP.
Results
Of 1551 HCW ED visits for occupational exposures, 72.5% sustained a percutaneous injury and only 2.5% were exposed to a source known to be HIV-infected. Hospital custodians had the highest IR of ED visits for percutaneous injuries (81 ED visits per year per 10,000 workers). Visits for all exposures increased over the study years and were most common during March, on weekends, and at 5:00 PM. Of all HCWs, 91.2% presented within 24 hours of their exposure and 98.2% presented within 72 hours. HIV PEP was offered to 469 HCWs and accepted 229 times. HCWs more likely to be offered HIV PEP were exposed to a known HIV-infected source (odds ratio [OR] = 6.38), sustained a significant exposure (OR = 4.98), presented to an academic hospital ED (OR = 2.60), were a member of the medical staff (OR = 2.02), and were exposed during the latter years of the study (OR = 1.23). HCWs were more likely to accept HIV PEP when it was offered if they were male (OR = 1.64) and presented to an academic hospital ED (OR = 2.72).
Conclusions
The IRs of ED visits for exposures varied by occupation, and there were clear temporal trends for these visits. Despite the existence of federal guidelines for HIV PEP for occupational blood or body fluid exposures, factors other than characteristics of the exposure, such as type of hospital, occupation, and gender, may be influencing HIV PEP utilization.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e318160d599
PMCID: PMC3180865  PMID: 18176321
blood-borne pathogens; emergency services; HIV; HIV postexposure prophylaxis; needlestick injuries; occupational exposures
21.  Factors affecting uptake of recommended immunizations among health care workers in South Australia 
Despite the benefits of vaccination for health care workers (HCWs), uptake of recommended vaccinations is low, particularly for seasonal influenza and pertussis. In addition, there is variation in uptake within hospitals. While all vaccinations recommended for HCWs are important, vaccination against influenza and pertussis are particularly imperative, given HCWs are at risk of occupationally acquired influenza and pertussis, and may be asymptomatic, acting as a reservoir to vulnerable patients in their care. This study aimed to determine predictors of uptake of these vaccinations and explore the reasons for variation in uptake by HCWs working in different hospital wards. HCWs from wards with high and low influenza vaccine uptake in a tertiary pediatric and obstetric hospital completed a questionnaire to assess knowledge of HCW recommended immunizations. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine predictors of influenza and pertussis vaccination uptake. Of 92 HCWs who responded, 9.8% were able to identify correctly the vaccines recommended for HCWs. Overall 80% of respondents reported they had previously received influenza vaccine and 50.5% had received pertussis vaccine. Independent predictors of pertussis vaccination included length of time employed in health sector (P < 0.001), previously receiving hepatitis B/MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine (P < 0.001), and a respondent being aware influenza infections could be severe in infants (p = 0.023). Independent predictors of seasonal influenza vaccination included younger age (P < 0.001), English as first language (P < 0.001), considering it important to be vaccinated to protect themselves (P < 0.001), protect patients (p = 0.012) or awareness influenza could be serious in immunocompromised patients (p = 0.030). Independent predictors for receiving both influenza and pertussis vaccinations included younger age (P < 0.001), time in area of work (P = 0.020), previously receiving hepatitis B vaccine (P = 0.006) and awareness influenza could be severe in infants (P < 0.001). A knowledge gap exists around HCW awareness of vaccination recommendations. Assessment of the risk/benefit value for HCWs and their patients, determines uptake of HCW immunization programs and should be considered in promotional HCW vaccination programs.
doi:10.1080/21645515.2015.1008886
PMCID: PMC4514246  PMID: 25715003
healthcare workers; hospitals; influenza; pertussis; vaccination
22.  Occupational cancer in central European countries. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  1999;107(Suppl 2):279-282.
The countries of central Europe, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, suffer from environmental and occupational health problems created during the political system in place until the late 1980s. This situation is reflected by data on workplace exposure to hazardous agents. Such data have been systematically collected in Skovakia and the Czech Republic since 1977. The data presented describe mainly the situation in the early 1990s. The number of workers exposed to risk factors at the workplace represent about 10% of the working population in Slovakia and 30% in Poland. In Slovakia in 1992 the percentage of persons exposed to chemical substances was 16.4%, to ionizing radiation 4.3%, and to carcinogens 3.3% of all workers exposed to risk factors. The total number of persons exposed to substances proven to be carcinogens in Poland was 1.3% of the employees; 2.2% were exposed to the suspected carcinogens. The incidence of all certified occupational diseases in the Slovak Republic was 53 per 100,000 insured employees in 1992. Cancers certified as occupational cancers are skin cancer caused by occupational exposure to carcinogens, lung cancer caused by ionizing radiation, and asbestosis together with lung cancer. Specific information on occupational cancers from Romania and Bulgaria was not available for this paper. It is difficult to predict a trend for future incidences of occupational cancer. Improved control technology, governmental regulatory activity to reduce exposure, surveillance of diseases and risk factors, and vigilant use of preventive measures should, however, ultimately reduce occupational cancer.
PMCID: PMC1566282  PMID: 10350511
23.  Prevalence of measles antibodies among health care workers in Catalonia (Spain) in the elimination era 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:391.
Background
Interruption of measles transmission was achieved in Catalonia (Spain) in 2000. Six years later, a measles outbreak occurred between August 2006 and June 2007 with 381 cases, 11 of whom were health care workers (HCW).
The objective was to estimate susceptibility to measles in HCW and related demographic and occupational characteristics.
Methods
A measles seroprevalence study was carried out in 639 HCW from six public tertiary hospitals and five primary healthcare areas. Antibodies were tested using the Vircell Measles ELISA IgG Kit. Data were analyzed according to age, sex, type of HCW, type of centre and vaccination history.
The odds ratios (OR) and their 95% CI were calculated to determine the variables associated with antibody prevalence. OR were adjusted using logistic regression.
Positive predictive values (PPV) and the 95% confidence intervals (CI) of having two documented doses of a measles containing vaccine (MCV) for the presence of measles antibodies and of reporting a history of measles infection were calculated.
Results
The prevalence of measles antibodies in HCW was 98% (95% CI 96.6-98.9), and was lower in HCW born in 1981 or later, after the introduction of systematic paediatric vaccination (94.4%; 95% CI 86.4-98.5) and higher in HCW born between 1965 and 1980 (99.0%; 95% CI 97.0-99.8). Significant differences were found for HCW born in 1965–1980 with respect to those born in 1981 and after (adjusted OR of 5.67; 95% CI: 1.24-25.91).
A total of 187 HCW reported being vaccinated: the proportion of vaccinated HCW decreased with age. Of HCW who reported being vaccinated, vaccination was confirmed by the vaccination card in 49%. Vaccination with 2 doses was documented in only 50 HCW, of whom 48 had measles antibodies. 311 HCW reported a history of measles.
The PPV of having received two documented doses of MCV was 96% (95% CI 86.3-99.5) and the PPV of reporting a history of measles was 98.7% (95% CI 96.7-99.6).
Conclusions
Screening to detect HCW who lack presumptive evidence of immunity and vaccination with two doses of vaccine should be reinforced, especially in young workers, to minimize the risk of contracting measles and infecting the susceptible patients they care for.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-391
PMCID: PMC3765384  PMID: 23978316
Measles; Seroprevalence; Health care workers; MCV vaccination
24.  Did the pandemic have an impact on influenza vaccination attitude? a survey among health care workers 
Background
Health care workers' (HCWs) influenza vaccination attitude is known to be negative. The H1N1 epidemic had started in mid 2009 and made a peak in October-November in Turkey. A national vaccination campaign began on November 2nd, 2009. Despite the diligent efforts of the Ministry of Health and NGOs, the attitudes of the media and politicians were mostly negative. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether HCWs' vaccination attitudes improved during the pandemic and to assess the related factors.
Methods
This cross-sectional survey was carried out at the largest university hospital of the Aegean Region-Turkey. A self-administered questionnaire with 12 structured questions was applied to 807 HCWs (sample coverage 91.3%) before the onset of the vaccination programme. Their final vaccination status was tracked one week afterwards, using immunization records. Factors influencing vaccination rates were analyzed using ANOVA, t-test, chi-square test and logistic regression.
Results
Among 807 participants, 363 (45.3%) were doctors and 293 (36.6%) nurses. A total of 153 (19.0%) had been vaccinated against seasonal influenza in the 2008-2009 season. Regarding H1N1 vaccination, 143 (17.7%) were willing to be vaccinated vs. 357 (44.2%) unwilling. The number of indecisive HCWs was 307 (38.0%) one week prior to vaccination. Only 53 (11.1%) stated that they would vaccinate their children. Possible side effects (78%, n = 519) and lack of comprehensive field evaluation before marketing (77%, n = 508) were the most common reasons underlying unwillingness or hesitation.
Among the 749 staff whose vaccination status could be tracked, 228 (30.4%) actually received the H1N1 vaccine. Some of the 'decided' staff members had changed their mind one week later. Only 82 (60%) of those willing, 108 (37%) of those indecisive and 38 (12%) of those unwilling were vaccinated.
Indecisive HCWs were significantly younger (p = 0.017). Females, nurses, and HCWs working in surgical departments were more likely to reject vaccination (p < 0.05). Doctors, HCWs working in medical departments, and HCWs previously vaccinated against seasonal influenza were more likely to accept vaccination (p < 0.05). Being younger than 50 and having been vaccinated in the previous season were important predictors of attitude towards pandemic influenza vaccination.
Conclusions
Vaccination rates increased substantially in comparison to the previous influenza season. However, vaccination rates could have been even higher since hesitation to be vaccinated increased dramatically within one week (only 60% of those willing and the minority of those indecisive were finally vaccinated). We speculate that this may be connected with negative media at the time.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-87
PMCID: PMC3084177  PMID: 21473763
25.  Framework of behavioral indicators evaluating TB health promotion outcomes: a modified Delphi study of TB policymakers and health workers 
Background
Although TB health promotion directed at policy makers and healthcare workers (HCWs) is considered important to tuberculosis (TB) control, no indicators currently assess the impact of such promotional activities. This article is the second in a series of papers that seek to establish a framework of behavioral indicators for outcome evaluation of TB health promotion, using the Delphi method. In the first article, we sought to establish a framework of behavioral indicators for outcome evaluation of TB health promotion among TB suspects and patients. The objective of this second article is to present an indicator framework that can be used to assess behavioral outcomes of TB health promotion directed at policy makers and HCWs.
Methods
A two-round, modified Delphi method was used to establish the indicators. Sixteen experts who were knowledgeable and experienced in the field of TB control were consulted in Delphi surveys. A questionnaire was developed following 4 steps, and involved ranking indicators on a five-point Likert scale. The consensus level was 70 %. Median, mode, and Coefficient of variation (CV) were used to describe expert responses. An authority coefficient (Cr) was used to assess the degree of each expert’s authority.
Results
Consensus was achieved following the two survey rounds and several iterations among the experts. For TB health-promotion activities directed at policymakers, the experts reached consensus on 2 domains (“Resource inputs” and “Policymaking and monitoring behaviors”), 4 subdomains (“Human resources” among others), and 13 indicators (“Human resources per 100,000 person” among others). For TB health-promotion activities directed at HCWs, the experts reached consensus on 5 domains (“Self-protective behaviors” among others), 6 sub-domains (“Preventing infection” among others), and 15 indicators (“Average hours of daily workplace disinfection by ultraviolet radiation” among others).
Conclusions
This study identified a conceptual framework of core behavioral indicators to evaluate TB health-promotion activities directed at policymakers and HCWs involved in TB control. Validation in other parts of the world could lead to global consensus on behavioral indicators to evaluate TB health promotion targeted at policymakers and HCWs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40249-015-0087-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s40249-015-0087-4
PMCID: PMC4678709  PMID: 26666302
Health promotion; Evaluation; Policymakers; TB healthcare workers; TB HCWs; Indicator; Delphi method

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