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1.  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
2.  Prevalence of HBV and HBV vaccination coverage in health care workers of tertiary hospitals of Peshawar, Pakistan 
Virology Journal  2011;8:275.
Background
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) may progress to serious consequences and increase dramatically beyond endemic dimensions that transmits to or from health care workers (HCWs) during routine investigation in their work places. Basic aim of this study was to canvass the safety of HCWs and determine the prevalence of HBV and its possible association with occupational and non-occupational risk factors. Hepatitis B vaccination coverage level and main barriers to vaccination were also taken in account.
Results
A total of 824 health care workers were randomly selected from three major hospitals of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Blood samples were analyzed in Department of Zoology, Kohat University of Science and Technology Kohat, and relevant information was obtained by means of preset questionnaire. HCWs in the studied hospitals showed 2.18% prevalence of positive HBV. Nurses and technicians were more prone to occupational exposure and to HBV infection. There was significant difference between vaccinated and non-vaccinated HCWs as well as between the doctors and all other categories. Barriers to complete vaccination, in spite of good knowledge of subjects in this regard were work pressure (39.8%), negligence (38.8%) un-affordability (20.9%), and unavailability (0.5%).
Conclusions
Special preventive measures (universal precaution and vaccination), which are fundamental way to protect HCW against HBV infection should be adopted.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-275
PMCID: PMC3121707  PMID: 21645287
3.  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
4.  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
5.  Occupational and non-occupational hepatitis B virus infection among hospital employees in Jerusalem: a basis for immunisation strategy. 
The present study was designed to assess the risk of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection among hospital employees, who often contract the infection before the beginning of their employment, and to suggest a prevention strategy. The study population consisted of 2518 subjects working or studying at the two Hadassah University hospitals, on Mount Scopus and at Ein Kerem in Jerusalem. The total prevalence for anti-HBc positivity as an indicator for past or present HBV infection was 17.6%. Several variables, including country of birth, age, and duration of employment significantly affected the rate of anti-HBc positivity. The highest rates for anti-HBc+ were found in personnel of selected departments such as haemodialysis (31.8%), haematology/oncology (28.3%), and the blood bank (24.0%), after adjustment for country of birth, age, and sex. Specific occupations in the hospital were associated with an increased rate of anti-HBc positivity. Thus the highest rate of HBV infection (after adjustment for country of birth, age, and sex) was shown for housekeepers (32.4%) and departmental secretaries (23.6%), who take care of waste products containing blood, or who transfer vials containing blood to the hospital laboratories. By comparison, anti-HBc was positive in 17.2% of nurses, 15.6% of physicians, and only 7.8% of administrative clerks. Israel is a country of immigration, and anti-HBc rates were four times higher in employees born in countries where HBV is more endemic--for example, in north Africa and Mediterranean countries--than in employees born in western Europe or the United States. However, rate of anti-HBc + increased significantly with age as well as duration of employment in the hospital, irrespective of country of birth. These data indicate that although HBV infection often occurs in Israel before commencement of employment in the hospital, hospital employees are at significant risk for contracting HBV infection during their professional lifetime regardless of where they were born. Moreover, paramedical personnel such as housekeepers and departmental secretaries are in the highest risk group for contracting HBV. Finally, as a result of the high background of anti-HBC positivity in selected ethnic groups, mandatory screening for anti-HBc before employment in medical institutions in Israel is recommended for them, then active vaccination against HBV for employees at risk. Employees who immigrated from western Europe and the United States should be immunised without pre-vaccination screening for HBV.
PMCID: PMC1039306  PMID: 1390267
6.  Self-reported occupational exposure to HIV and factors influencing its management practice: a study of healthcare workers in Tumbi and Dodoma Hospitals, Tanzania 
Background
Blood borne infectious agents such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immune deficiency virus (HIV) constitute a major occupational hazard for healthcare workers (HCWs). To some degree it is inevitable that HCWs sustain injuries from sharp objects such as needles, scalpels and splintered bone during execution of their duties. However, in Tanzania, there is little or no information on factors that influence the practice of managing occupational exposure to HIV by HCWs. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of self-reported occupational exposure to HIV among HCWs and explore factors that influence the practice of managing occupational exposure to HIV by HCWs in Tanzania.
Methods
Self-administered questionnaire was designed to gather information of healthcare workers’ occupational exposures in the past 12 months and circumstances in which these injuries occurred. Practice of managing occupational exposure was assessed by the following questions:
Results
Nearly half of the HCWs had experienced at least one occupational injury in the past 12 months. Though most of the occupational exposures to HIV were experienced by female nurses, non-medical hospital staff received PEP more frequently than nurses and doctors. Doctors and nurses frequently encountered occupational injuries in surgery room and labor room respectively. HCWs with knowledge on the possibility of HIV transmission and those who knew whom to contact in event of occupational exposure to HIV were less likely to have poor practice of managing occupational exposure.
Conclusion
Needle stick injuries and splashes are common among HCWs at Tumbi and Dodoma hospitals. Knowledge of the risk of HIV transmission due to occupational exposure and knowing whom to contact in event of exposure predicted practice of managing the exposure. Thus provision of health education on occupational exposure may strengthen healthcare workers’ practices to manage occupational exposure.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-276
PMCID: PMC3718638  PMID: 23866940
HIV; Occupational exposure; Healthcare workers
7.  Evaluation of immune response to Hepatitis B vaccine in health care workers at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan: an observational prospective study 
Background
Seroconversion rates reported after Hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination globally ranges from 85–90%. Health care workers (HCWs) are at high risk of acquiring HBV and non responders' rates after HBV vaccination were not reported previously in Pakistani HCWs. Therefore we evaluated immune response to HBV vaccine in HCWs at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods
Descriptive observational study conducted at Aga Khan University from April 2003 to July 2004. Newly HBV vaccinated HCWs were evaluated for immune response by measuring serum Hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb) levels, 6 weeks post vaccination.
Results
Initially 666 employees were included in the study. 14 participants were excluded due to incomplete records. 271 (41%) participants were females and 381(59%) were males. Majority of the participants were young (<25–39 years old), regardless of gender. Out of 652 HCWs, 90 (14%) remained seronegative after six weeks of post vaccination. The percentage of non responders increased gradually from 9% in participants of <25, 13% in 25–34, 26% in 35–49, and 63% in >50 years of age. Male non responders were more frequent (18%) than female (8%).
Conclusion
Seroconversion rate after HBV vaccination in Pakistani HCWs was similar to that reported in western and neighboring population. HCWs with reduced immune response to HBV vaccine in a high disease prevalent population are at great risk. Therefore, it is crucial to check post vaccination HBsAb in all HCWs. This strategy will ensure safety at work by reducing nosocomial transmission and will have a cost effective impact at an individual as well as at national level, which is very much desired in a resource limited country.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-120
PMCID: PMC2228304  PMID: 17961205
8.  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
9.  Occupational exposure to body fluids among health care workers in Georgia 
Background
Health care workers (HCWs) are at increased risk of being infected with blood-borne pathogens.
Aims
To evaluate risk of occupational exposure to blood-borne viruses and determine the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HCWs in Georgia.
Methods
The sample included HCWs from seven medical institutions in five cities in Georgia. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on demographic, occupational and personal risk factors for blood-borne viruses. After obtaining informed consent, blood was drawn from the study participants for a seroprevalence study of HBV, HCV and HIV infections.
Results
There were 1386 participating HCWs from a number of departments, including surgery (29%), internal medicine (19%) and intensive care (19%). Nosocomial risk events were reported by the majority of HCWs, including accidental needlestick injury (45%), cuts with contaminated instruments (38%) and blood splashes (46%). The most frequent risk for receiving a cut was related to a false move during a procedure, reassembling devices and handing devices to a colleague. The highest proportion of needlestick injuries among physicians (22%) and nurses (39%) was related to recapping of used needles. No HIV-infected HCW was identified. Prevalence of HCV infection was 5%, anti-HBc was present among 29% with 2% being HBsAg carriers.
Conclusions
Data from this study can be utilized in educational programs and implementation of universal safety precautions for HCWs in Georgia to help achieve similar reductions in blood-borne infection transmission to those achieved in developed countries.
doi:10.1093/occmed/kqs121
PMCID: PMC3612004  PMID: 22869786
Blood-borne virus; contamination injury; developing country; needlestick
10.  Transmission and postexposure management of bloodborne virus infections in the health care setting: Where are we now? 
THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERABLE DEBATE ABOUT THE NEED for mandatory serologic testing of individuals who are the source of bloodborne pathogen exposures in health care and other occupational settings. The transmission of hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV between patients and health care workers (HCWs) is related to the frequency of exposures capable of allowing transmission, the prevalence of disease in the source populations, the risk of transmission given exposure to an infected source and the effectiveness of postexposure management. Transmission of HBV from patients to HCWs has been substantially reduced by vaccination and universal precautions. The transmission of HCV and HIV to HCWs does occur, although postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) is available to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Transmission of bloodborne pathogens from infected HCWs to patients has also been documented. Policy-making concerning the mandatory postexposure testing of patients who may be the source of infection must weigh the relative infrequency of patients' refusals to be tested and the consequences for PEP recommendations with the ethical and legal considerations of bypassing informed consent and mandating testing. Mandatory postexposure testing of HCWs who are the source of infection will have a limited impact on reducing transmission because of the lack of recognition and reporting of exposures. Comprehensive approaches have been recommended to reduce the risk of transmission of bloodborne virus infections.
PMCID: PMC81374  PMID: 11531058
11.  Incidence of occupational exposures in a tertiary health care center 
Introduction:
Occupational exposure to Hepatitis B virus (HBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a cause of concern to all health care workers (HCWs), especially those, in hospitals. Among the HCWs, nurses, interns, technicians, resident doctors and housekeeping staff have the highest incidence of occupational exposure.
Aims:
To analyze the cases of needle stick injuries and other exposures to patient's blood or body fluids among health care workers.
Materials and Methods:
A detailed account of the exposure is documented which includes incidence of needle stick injuries (NSI) and implementation of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) as per the hospital guidelines. We report a two-year continuing surveillance study where 255 health care workers (HCWs) were included. PEP was given to HCWs sustaining NSI or exposures to blood and body fluids when the source is known sero-positive or even unknown where the risk of transmission is high. Follow-up of these HCW's was done after three and six months of exposure.
Results:
Of the 255 HCWs, 59 sustained needle stick injuries and two were exposed to splashes. 31 of the NSI were from known sources and 28 from unknown sources. From known sources, thirteen were seropositive; seven for HIV, three for HCV and three for HBV. Nineteen of them sustained needle stick during needle re-capping, six of them during clean up, six of them while discarding into the container, 17 during administration of injection, eight of them during suturing, two occurred in restless patient, 17 during needle disposal.
Conclusion:
So far, no case of sero-conversion as a result of needle stick injuries was reported at our center.
doi:10.4103/0253-7184.102111
PMCID: PMC3505302  PMID: 23188932
Human immunodeficiency virus; hepatitis B and C virus; Occupational exposure; post-exposure prophylaxis
12.  Seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infections among health students and health care workers in the Najran region, southwestern Saudi Arabia: The need for national guidelines for health students 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:577.
Background
The objectives of the study were to study the seroprevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among health college students (HS) and health care workers (HCWs) in the Najran Region of south-western Saudi Arabia and to study the students’ knowledge of occupational exposure to blood-borne viral infections.
Methods
A cross-sectional study of a representative sample of 300 HS and 300 HCWs was conducted.
Results
An overall seroprevalence of HBV of 1.7% and 8.7% was found among HS and HCWs, respectively. Two-thirds of HS (66.7%, 200) and 23.3% (70) of HCWs lack anti-HBs and are susceptible to HBV infection. An overall seroprevalence of HCV of 0% and 0.3% was found among the HS and HCWs, respectively. The present study indicates poor knowledge among HS and moderate knowledge among HCWs regarding occupationally transmitted blood-borne diseases, safe injection practices, and standard precautions to prevent occupationally transmitted blood-borne infections.
Conclusion
It is mandatory to develop a structured program to raise awareness among HS, and current health colleges’ curricula should be upgraded to address these issues early. The HS should be considered new recruits to health services in terms of their initial screening for blood-borne infections and vaccination against HBV. The development of a novel continuing medical education and pre-employment awareness program for HCWs is recommended to address the following: blood-borne diseases transmitted occupationally, standard precautions to prevent occupationally transmitted blood borne infections, and safe injection practices.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-577
PMCID: PMC4059075  PMID: 24912684
HBV; HCV; HCW; Health Students; Saudi Arabia
13.  Low hepatitis B vaccine uptake among surgical residents in Cameroon 
Background
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is one of the most serious occupational hazards faced by healthcare workers. Surgical personnel are particularly at risk. HBV infection is preventable by vaccination, but no previous study has assessed HBV vaccination coverage among healthcare workers in Cameroon. We assessed knowledge of risk factors of HBV infection, awareness of HBV vaccine, and vaccination status of surgical residents in Cameroon.
Methods
A structured pretested questionnaire was administered to 49 of the 70 surgical residents in Cameroon during the 2011–2012 academic year.
Results
Since the beginning of their residency program, 28 (57.1%) had had at least one accidental exposure to blood, with a median of 2 (range 1 to 25) exposures. Most of them had a good knowledge of risk factors for HBV infection. Although 98.0% (n = 48) were aware of the HBV vaccine, and 89.8% (n = 44) knew that they were at high risk of infection, only 24.5% (n = 12) had received a full course of at least three doses of the vaccine. In addition, only 33.3% (4/12) underwent post-vaccination testing to confirm a good immunological response (and thus effective protection against HBV infection). Among the 53.1% (n = 28) who had never had any dose of HBV vaccine, the main reasons for not being vaccinated were lack of time (38.5%), lack of money to pay for vaccine (23.1%), and lack of sufficient information on the vaccine (19.2%). Only 20.4% (n = 10) had been sensitized by their training institutions about the importance of HBV vaccination.
Conclusion
There is a low HBV vaccine uptake among surgical residents in Cameroon. As part of occupational safety measures, complete HBV vaccination should be strongly recommended and offered to surgical trainees before the beginning of their training program.
doi:10.1186/1755-7682-7-11
PMCID: PMC3975270  PMID: 24629103
Hepatitis B vaccine; Healthcare workers; Cameroon
14.  Screening for latent tuberculosis in Norwegian health care workers: high frequency of discordant tuberculin skin test positive and interferon-gamma release assay negative results 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:353.
Background
Tuberculosis (TB) presents globally a significant health problem and health care workers (HCW) are at increased risk of contracting TB infection. There is no diagnostic gold standard for latent TB infection (LTBI), but both blood based interferon-gamma release assays (IGRA) and the tuberculin skin test (TST) are used. According to the national guidelines, HCW who have been exposed for TB should be screened and offered preventive anti-TB chemotherapy, but the role of IGRA in HCW screening is still unclear.
Methods
A total of 387 HCW working in clinical and laboratory departments in three major hospitals in the Western region of Norway with possible exposure to TB were included in a cross-sectional study. The HCW were asked for risk factors for TB and tested with TST and the QuantiFERON®TB Gold In-Tube test (QFT). A logistic regression model analyzed the associations between risk factors for TB and positive QFT or TST.
Results
A total of 13 (3.4%) demonstrated a persistent positive QFT, whereas 214 (55.3%) had a positive TST (≥ 6 mm) and 53 (13.7%) a TST ≥ 15 mm. Only ten (4.7%) of the HCW with a positive TST were QFT positive. Origin from a TB-endemic country was the only risk factor associated with a positive QFT (OR 14.13, 95% CI 1.37 - 145.38, p = 0.026), whereas there was no significant association between risk factors for TB and TST ≥ 15 mm. The five HCW with an initial positive QFT that retested negative all had low interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) responses below 0.70 IU/ml when first tested.
Conclusions
We demonstrate a low prevalence of LTBI in HCW working in hospitals with TB patients in our region. The “IGRA-only” seems like a desirable screening strategy despite its limitations in serial testing, due to the high numbers of discordant TST positive/IGRA negative results in HCW, probably caused by BCG vaccination or boosting due to repetitive TST testing. Thus, guidelines for TB screening in HCW should be updated in order to secure accurate diagnosis of LTBI and offer proper treatment and follow-up.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-353
PMCID: PMC3637593  PMID: 23590619
Tuberculosis; Quantiferon; Interferon-gamma release assay; IGRA; Screening; Health care workers; Low-endemic country, Norway
15.  Risk and Management of Blood-Borne Infections in Health Care Workers 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2000;13(3):385-407.
Exposure to blood-borne pathogens poses a serious risk to health care workers (HCWs). We review the risk and management of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in HCWs and also discuss current methods for preventing exposures and recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis. In the health care setting, blood-borne pathogen transmission occurs predominantly by percutaneous or mucosal exposure of workers to the blood or body fluids of infected patients. Prospective studies of HCWs have estimated that the average risk for HIV transmission after a percutaneous exposure is approximately 0.3%, the risk of HBV transmission is 6 to 30%, and the risk of HCV transmission is approximately 1.8%. To minimize the risk of blood-borne pathogen transmission from HCWs to patients, all HCWs should adhere to standard precautions, including the appropriate use of hand washing, protective barriers, and care in the use and disposal of needles and other sharp instruments. Employers should have in place a system that includes written protocols for prompt reporting, evaluation, counseling, treatment, and follow-up of occupational exposures that may place a worker at risk of blood-borne pathogen infection. A sustained commitment to the occupational health of all HCWs will ensure maximum protection for HCWs and patients and the availability of optimal medical care for all who need it.
PMCID: PMC88939  PMID: 10885983
16.  Rates of Latent Tuberculosis in Health Care Staff in Russia 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(2):e55.
Background
Russia is one of 22 high burden tuberculosis (TB) countries. Identifying individuals, particularly health care workers (HCWs) with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), and determining the rate of infection, can assist TB control through chemoprophylaxis and improving institutional cross-infection strategies. The objective of the study was to estimate the prevalence and determine the relative risks and risk factors for infection, within a vertically organised TB service in a country with universal bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cross-sectional study to assess the prevalence of and risk factors for LTBI among unexposed students, minimally exposed medical students, primary care health providers, and TB hospital health providers in Samara, Russian Federation. We used a novel in vitro assay (for gamma-interferon [IFN-γ]) release to establish LTBI and a questionnaire to address risk factors. LTBI was seen in 40.8% (107/262) of staff and was significantly higher in doctors and nurses (39.1% [90/230]) than in students (8.7% [32/368]) (relative risk [RR] 4.5; 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.1–6.5) and in TB service versus primary health doctors and nurses: respectively 46.9% (45/96) versus 29.3% (34/116) (RR 1.6; 95% CI 1.1–2.3). There was a gradient of LTBI, proportional to exposure, in medical students, primary health care providers, and TB doctors: respectively, 10.1% (24/238), 25.5% (14/55), and 55% (22/40). LTBI was also high in TB laboratory workers: 11/18 (61.1%).
Conclusions
IFN-γ assays have a useful role in screening HCWs with a high risk of LTBI and who are BCG vaccinated. TB HCWs were at significantly higher risk of having LTBI. Larger cohort studies are needed to evaluate the individual risks of active TB development in positive individuals and the effectiveness of preventive therapy based on IFN-γ test results.
Gamma-interferon assays were used in a cross-sectional study of Russian health care workers and found high rates of latent tuberculosis infection.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a very common and life-threatening infection caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is carried by about a third of the world's population. Many people who are infected do not develop the symptoms of disease; this is called “latent infection.” However, it is important to detect latent infection among people in high-risk communities, in order to prevent infected people from developing active disease, and therefore also reduce the spread of TB within the community. 22 countries account for 80% of the world's active TB, and Russia is one of these. Health care workers are particularly at risk for developing active TB disease in Russia, but the extent of latent infection is not known. In order to design appropriate measures for controlling TB in Russia, it is important to know how common latent infection is among health care workers, as well as other members of the community.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers here had been studying the spread of tuberculosis in Samara City in southeastern Russia, where the rate of TB disease among health care workers was very high; in 2004 the number of TB cases among health care workers on TB wards was over ten times that in the general population. There was also no information available on the rates of latent TB infection among health care workers in Samara City. The researchers therefore wanted to work out what proportion of health care workers in Samara City had latent TB infection, and particularly to compare groups whom they thought would be at different levels of risk (students, clinicians outside of TB wards, clinicians on TB wards, etc.). Finally, the researchers also wanted to use a new test for detecting latent TB infection. The traditional test for detecting TB infection (tuberculin skin test) is not very reliable among people who have received the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination against TB earlier in life, as is the case in Russia. In this study a new test was therefore used, based on measuring the immune response to two proteins produced by M. tuberculosis, which are not present in the BCG vaccine strain.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In this study the researchers tested health care workers from all the TB clinics in Samara City, as well as other clinical staff and students, for latent tuberculosis. In total, 630 people had blood samples taken for testing. A questionnaire was also used to collect information on possible risk factors for TB. As expected, the rate of latent TB infection was highest among clinical staff working in the TB clinics, 47% of whom were infected with M. tuberculosis. This compared to a 10% infection rate among medical students and 29% infection rate among primary care health workers. The differences in infection rate between medical students, primary care health workers, and TB clinic staff were statistically significant and reflected progressively increasing exposure to TB. Among primary care health workers, past exposure to TB was a risk factor for having latent TB infection.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study showed that there was a high rate of latent TB infection among health care workers in Samara City and that infection is increasingly likely among people with either past or present exposure to TB. The results suggest that further research should be carried out to test whether mass screening for latent infection, followed by treatment, will reduce the rate of active TB disease among health care workers and also prevent further spread of TB. There are concerns that widespread treatment of latent infection may not be completely effective due to the relatively high prevalence of drug-resistant TB strains and any new initiatives would therefore need to be carefully evaluated.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040055.
The Stop TB Partnership has been set up to eliminate TB as a public health problem; its site provides data and resources about TB in each of the 22 most-affected countries, including Russia
Tuberculosis minisite from the World Health Organization, providing data on tuberculosis worldwide, details of the Stop TB strategy, as well as fact sheets and current guidelines
The US Centers for Disease Control has a tuberculosis minisite, including a fact sheet on latent TB
Information from the US Centers for Disease Control about the QuantiFERON-TB Gold test, used to test for latent TB infection in this study
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040055
PMCID: PMC1796908  PMID: 17298167
17.  Efficacy of Neonatal HBV Vaccination on Liver Cancer and Other Liver Diseases over 30-Year Follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(12):e1001774.
In a 30-year follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study, Yawei Zhang and colleagues examine the effects of neonatal vaccination on liver diseases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Neonatal hepatitis B vaccination has been implemented worldwide to prevent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. Its long-term protective efficacy on primary liver cancer (PLC) and other liver diseases has not been fully examined.
Methods and Findings
The Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study, a population-based, cluster randomized, controlled trial between 1985 and 1990 in Qidong, China, included 39,292 newborns who were randomly assigned to the vaccination group in which 38,366 participants completed the HBV vaccination series and 34,441 newborns who were randomly assigned to the control group in which the participants received neither a vaccine nor a placebo. However, 23,368 (67.8%) participants in the control group received catch-up vaccination at age 10–14 years. By December 2013, a total of 3,895 (10.2%) in the vaccination group and 3,898 (11.3%) in the control group were lost to follow-up. Information on PLC incidence and liver disease mortality were collected through linkage of all remaining cohort members to a well-established population-based tumor registry until December 31, 2013. Two cross-sectional surveys on HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) seroprevalence were conducted in 1996–2000 and 2008–2012. The participation rates of the two surveys were 57.5% (21,770) and 50.7% (17,204) in the vaccination group and 36.3% (12,184) and 58.6% (17,395) in the control group, respectively. Using intention-to-treat analysis, we found that the incidence rate of PLC and the mortality rates of severe end-stage liver diseases and infant fulminant hepatitis were significantly lower in the vaccination group than the control group with efficacies of 84% (95% CI 23%–97%), 70% (95% CI 15%–89%), and 69% (95% CI 34%–85%), respectively. The estimated efficacy of catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was 21% (95% CI 10%–30%), substantially weaker than that of the neonatal vaccination (72%, 95% CI 68%–75%). Receiving a booster at age 10–14 years decreased HBsAg seroprevalence if participants were born to HBsAg-positive mothers (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.68, 95% CI 0.47–0.97). Limitations to consider in interpreting the study results include the small number of individuals with PLC, participants lost to follow-up, and the large proportion of participants who did not provide serum samples at follow-up.
Conclusions
Neonatal HBV vaccination was found to significantly decrease HBsAg seroprevalence in childhood through young adulthood and subsequently reduce the risk of PLC and other liver diseases in young adults in rural China. The findings underscore the importance of neonatal HBV vaccination. Our results also suggest that an adolescence booster should be considered in individuals born to HBsAg-positive mothers and who have completed the HBV neonatal vaccination series.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Hepatitis B is a life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV, which is transmitted through contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person, can cause both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver infections. Acute infections rarely cause any symptoms and more than 90% of adults who become infected with HBV (usually through sexual intercourse with an infected partner or through the use of contaminated needles) are virus-free within 6 months. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, and other regions where HBV infection is common, HBV is usually transmitted from mother to child at birth or between individuals during early childhood and, unfortunately, most infants who are infected with HBV during the first year of life and many children who are infected before the age of 6 years develop a chronic HBV infection. Such infections can cause liver cancer, liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and other fatal liver diseases. In addition, HBV infection around the time of birth can cause infant fulminant hepatitis, a rare but frequently fatal condition.
Why Was This Study Done?
HBV infections kill about 780,000 people worldwide annually but can be prevented by neonatal vaccination—immunization against HBV at birth. A vaccine against HBV became available in 1982 and many countries now include HBV vaccination at birth followed by additional vaccine doses during early childhood in their national vaccination programs. But, although HBV vaccination has greatly reduced the rate of chronic HBV infection, the protective efficacy of neonatal HBV vaccination against liver diseases has not been fully examined. Here, the researchers investigate how well neonatal HBV vaccination protects against primary liver cancer and other liver diseases by undertaking a 30-year follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B intervention Study (QHBIS). This cluster randomized controlled trial of neonatal HBV vaccination was conducted between 1983 and 1990 in Qidong County, a rural area in China with a high incidence of HBV-related primary liver cancer and other liver diseases. A cluster randomized controlled trial compares outcomes in groups of people (towns in this study) chosen at random to receive an intervention or a control treatment (here, vaccination or no vaccination; this study design was ethically acceptable during the 1980s when HBV vaccination was unavailable in rural China but would be unethical nowadays).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The QHBIS assigned nearly 80,000 newborns to receive either a full course of HBV vaccinations (the vaccination group) or no vaccination (the control group); two-thirds of the control group participants received a catch-up vaccination at age 10–14 years. The researchers obtained data on how many trial participants developed primary liver cancer or died from a liver disease during the follow-up period from a population-based tumor registry. They also obtained information on HBsAg seroprevalence—the presence of HBsAg (an HBV surface protein) in the blood of the participants, an indicator of current HBV infection—from surveys undertaken in1996–2000 and 2008–2012. The researchers estimate that the protective efficacy of vaccination was 84% for primary liver cancer (vaccination reduced the incidence of liver cancer by 84%), 70% for death from liver diseases, and 69% for the incidence of infant fulminant hepatitis. Overall, the efficacy of catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was weak compared with neonatal vaccination (21% versus 72%). Notably, receiving a booster vaccination at age 10–14 years decreased HBsAg seroprevalence among participants who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The small number of cases of primary liver cancer and other liver diseases observed during the 30-year follow-up, the length of follow-up, and the availability of incomplete data on seroprevalence all limit the accuracy of these findings. Nevertheless, these findings indicate that neonatal HBV vaccination greatly reduced HBsAg seroprevalence (an indicator of current HBV infection) in childhood and young adulthood and subsequently reduced the risk of liver cancer and other liver diseases in young adults. These findings therefore support the importance of neonatal HBV vaccination. In addition, they suggest that booster vaccination during adolescence might consolidate the efficacy of neonatal vaccination among individuals who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers, a suggestion that needs to be confirmed in randomized controlled trials before booster vaccines are introduced into vaccination programs.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001774.
The World Health Organization provides a fact sheet about hepatitis B (available in several languages) and information about hepatitis B vaccination
The World Hepatitis Alliance (an international not-for-profit, non-governmental organization) provides information about viral hepatitis, including some personal stories about hepatitis B from Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Malawi
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about hepatitis B
The not-for-profit British Liver Trust provides information about hepatitis B, including Hepatitis B: PATH B, an interactive educational resource designed to improve the lives of people living with chronic hepatitis B
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about hepatitis B (in English and Spanish)
Information about the Qidong Hepatitis B intervention Study is available
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides links about hepatitis B prevention in Chinese
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001774
PMCID: PMC4280122  PMID: 25549238
18.  Frequent Transient Hepatitis C viremia without Seroconversion among Healthcare Workers in Cairo, Egypt 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57835.
Backgrounds
With 10% of the general population aged 15–59 years chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), Egypt is the country with the highest HCV prevalence worldwide. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are therefore at particularly high risk of HCV infection. Our aim was to study HCV infection risk after occupational blood exposure among HCWs in Cairo.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The study was conducted in 2008–2010 at Ain Shams University Hospital, Cairo. HCWs reporting an occupational blood exposure at screening, having neither anti-HCV antibodies (anti-HCV) nor HCV RNA, and exposed to a HCV RNA positive patient, were enrolled in a 6-month prospective cohort with follow-up visits at weeks 2, 4, 8, 12 and 24. During follow-up, anti-HCV, HCV RNA and ALT were tested. Among 597 HCWs who reported a blood exposure, anti-HCV prevalence at screening was 7.2%, not different from that of the general population of Cairo after age-standardization (11.6% and 10.4% respectively, p = 0.62). The proportion of HCV viremia among index patients was 37%. Of 73 HCWs exposed to HCV RNA from index patients, nine (12.3%; 95%CI, 5.8–22.1%) presented transient viremia, the majority of which occurred within the first two weeks after exposure. None of the workers presented seroconversion or elevation of ALT.
Conclusions/Significance
HCWs of a general University hospital in Cairo were exposed to a highly viremic patient population. They experienced frequent occupational blood exposures, particularly in early stages of training. These exposures resulted in transient viremic episodes without established infection. These findings call for further investigation of potential immune protection against HCV persistence in this high risk group.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057835
PMCID: PMC3585182  PMID: 23469082
19.  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
20.  Estimated risk of HIV acquisition and practice for preventing occupational exposure: a study of healthcare workers at Tumbi and Dodoma Hospitals, Tanzania 
Background
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at risk of acquiring human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) and other infections via exposure to infectious patients’ blood and body fluids. The main objective of this study was to estimate the risk of HIV transmission and examine the practices for preventing occupational exposures among HCWs at Tumbi and Dodoma Hospitals in Tanzania.
Methods
This study was carried out in two hospitals, namely, Tumbi in Coast Region and Dodoma in Dodoma Region. In each facility, hospital records of occupational exposure to HIV infection and its management were reviewed. In addition, practices to prevent occupational exposure to HIV infection among HCWs were observed.
Results
The estimated risk of HIV transmission due to needle stick injuries was calculated to be 7 cases per 1,000,000 HCWs-years. Over half of the observed hospital departments did not have guidelines for prevention and management of occupational exposure to HIV infections and lacked well displayed health and safety instructions. Approximately, one-fifth of the hospital departments visited failed to adhere to the instructions pertaining to correlation between waste materials and the corresponding colour coded bag/container/safety box. Seventy four percent of the hospital departments observed did not display instructions for handling infectious materials. Inappropriate use of gloves, lack of health and safety instructions, and lack of use of eye protective glasses were more frequently observed at Dodoma Hospital than at Tumbi Hospital.
Conclusions
The poor quality of the hospital records at the two hospitals hampered our effort to characterise the risk of HIV infection acquisition by HCWs. Greater data completeness in hospital records is needed to allow the determination of the actual risk of HIV transmission for HCWs. To further reduce the risk of HIV infection due to occupational exposure, hospitals should be equipped with sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) and HCWs should be reminded of the importance of adhering to universal precautions.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-369
PMCID: PMC3850547  PMID: 24079806
HIV; Occupational exposure; Healthcare workers
21.  Prevalence of occupational exposure to blood and body secretions and its related effective factors among health care workers of three Emergency Departments in Tehran 
Background:
Accidental exposure to blood and body secretions is frequent among health care workers (HCWs). They are at risk of acquiring blood-borne diseases. In this study, we have investigated the prevalence and risk factors of occupational exposure among the HCWs of the Emergency Departments (ED) at three teaching hospitals in Tehran.
Materials and Methods:
We conducted this observational, descriptive, cross-sectional study using a self-reporting 25-question survey, related to occupational exposures, in February 2010. It was carried out among 200 HCWs (specialist physicians, residents, medical interns, nurses, laboratory personnel, housekeepers, cleaners, and others), who were working in the EDs of the three teaching hospitals of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences. The age, sex, and job category of the HCWs suffering from the injury were determined, as also the risk factors responsible for the exposure of the HCWs.
Results:
One hundred and fifteen (57.5%) of the 200 HCWs had had at least one episode of blood or body fluid exposure in their professional life. Hollow-bore needles accounted for the highest amount of injuries, with 41.5%, followed by suture needles (18.5%). The most prevalent procedures associated with injuries were suturing (17.5%) and recapping used syringes (16.5%), respectively. All the specialist doctors in this study reported at least one exposure. The percentage of exposure in the other participants of our study was 74.3% for ED residents, 61.1% for laboratory technicians, 51.9% for nurses, and 51% for medical interns. Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that male gender, recapping needles, and job profession were independently associated with exposure to blood or body fluids.
Conclusion:
High prevalence of occupational exposure in this study emphasized the importance of promoting awareness, training, and education for the HCWs, for preventive strategies, and also reporting of occupational exposure to blood and body secretions.
PMCID: PMC3685782  PMID: 23798926
Emergency Department; health care workers; Iran; occupational exposure
22.  Healthcare Workers' Challenges in the Implementation of Tuberculosis Infection Prevention and Control Measures in Mozambique 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114364.
Objective
Healthcare Workers (HCWs) have a higher frequency of TB exposure than the general population and have therefore an occupational TB risk that infection prevention and control (IPC) measures aim to reduce. HCWs are crucial in the implementation of these measures. The objective of the study was to investigate Mozambican HCWs' perceptions of their occupational TB risk and the measures they report using to reduce this risk. In addition, we explored the challenges HCWs encounter while using these TBIPC measures.
Methods
Focus group discussion. Analysis according content method.
Participants
Four categories of HCWs: auxiliary workers, medical (doctors and clinical officers), nurses and TB program staff.
Results
HCWs are aware of their occupational TB risk and use various measures to reduce their risk of infection. HCWs find it challenging to employ measures that minimize such risks and a lack of clear guidelines contributes to these challenges. HCWs' and patient behavior further complicate the use of TBIPC measures.
Conclusion
HCWs in Mozambique perceive a high occupational risk of TB infection. They report several challenges using measures to reduce this risk such as shortage of material, lack of clear guidelines, insufficient motivation and inadequate training. Robust training with motivational approaches, alongside supervision and support for HCWs could improve implementation of TBIPC measures. Healthcare management should address the areas for improvement that are beyond the individual HCW's control.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114364
PMCID: PMC4266607  PMID: 25501847
23.  Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice of Iranian Medical Specialists regarding Hepatitis B and C 
Hepatitis Monthly  2010;10(3):176-182.
Background and Aims
Health care workers (HCWs) are at risk of contracting and spreading hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) to others. The aim of this study was to evaluate knowledge, attitudes and behavior of physicians concerning HBV and HCV.
Methods
A 29-item questionnaire (reliability coefficient = 0.7) was distributed at two national/regional congresses and two university hospitals in Iran. Five medical groups (dentists, general practitioners, paraclinicians, surgeons and internists) received 450 questionnaires in 2009, of which 369 questionnaires (82%) were filled out.
Results
Knowledge about routes of transmission of HBV and HCV, prevalence rate and seroconversion rates secondary to a needlestick injury was moderate to low. Concern about being infected with HBV and HCV was 69.4±2.1 and 76.3±2 (out of 100), respectively. Complete HBV vaccination was done on 88.1% of the participants. Sixty percent had checked their hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs), and 83.8% were positive. Only 24% of the surgeons often used double gloves and 28% had reported a needlestick. There was no significant correlation between the different specialties and: concern about HBV and HCV; the underreporting of needlestick injuries; and correct knowledge of post-needlestick HBV infection.
Conclusions
Although our participants were afraid of acquiring HBV and HCV, knowledge about routes of transmission, prevalence, protection and post-exposure seroconversion rates was unsatisfactory. By making physicians aware of possible post-exposure prophylaxis, the underreporting of needlestick injuries could be eliminated. Continuous training about HBV and HCV transmission routes, seroconversion rates, protection, as well as hepatitis B vaccination and checking the anti-HBs level, is a matter of necessity.
PMCID: PMC3269081  PMID: 22308136
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Health Knowledge; Attitudes; Practices; Iran
24.  Practice of universal precautions among healthcare workers. 
INTRODUCTION: Healthcare workers (HCWs) are exposed to bloodborne infections by pathogens, such as HIV, and hepatitis B and C viruses, as they perform their clinical activities in the hospital. Compliance with universal precautions has been shown to reduce the risk of exposure to blood and body fluids. This study was aimed at assessing the observance of universal precautions by HCWs in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: The study was conducted in September 2003 in Abeokuta metropolis, Ogun State, Nigeria. The respondents were doctors, trained and auxiliary nurses, laboratory scientists and domestic staff. They were selected through a multistage sampling technique from public and private healthcare facilities within the metropolis. The instrument was an interviewer-administered, semistructured questionnaire that assessed the practice of recapping and disposal of used needles, use of barrier equipment, handwashing and screening of transfused blood. RESULTS: There were 433 respondents, 211 (48.7%) of which were trained nurses. About a third of all respondents always recapped used needles. Compliance with nonrecapping of used needles was highest among trained nurses and worst with doctors. Less than two-thirds of respondents (63.8%) always used personal protective equipment, and more than half of all respondents (56.5%) had never worn goggles during deliveries and at surgeries. The provision of sharps containers and screening of transfused blood by the institutions studied was uniformly high. A high percentage (94.6%) of HCWs observed handwashing after handling patients. The use of barrier equipment was variable in the institutions studied. CONCLUSION: Recapping of used needles is prevalent in the health facilities studied. Noncompliance with universal precautions place Nigerian HCWs at significant health risks. Training programs and other relevant measures should be put in place to promote the appropriate use of protective barrier equipment by HCWs at all times.
PMCID: PMC2569287  PMID: 16749647
25.  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

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