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1.  Hepatitis B Vaccination Status and Needlestick Injuries Among Healthcare Workers in Syria 
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%).
Special preventive measures (universal precaution and vaccination), which are fundamental way to protect HCW against HBV infection should be adopted.
PMCID: PMC3121707  PMID: 21645287
3.  Evaluation of immune response to Hepatitis B vaccine in health care workers at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan: an observational prospective study 
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.
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.
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%).
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.
PMCID: PMC2228304  PMID: 17961205
4.  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
5.  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.
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.
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.
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%).
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.
PMCID: PMC3840606  PMID: 24192278
Influenza; Hepatitis B; Healthcare workers; Vaccination
6.  Low hepatitis B vaccine uptake among surgical residents in Cameroon 
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.
A structured pretested questionnaire was administered to 49 of the 70 surgical residents in Cameroon during the 2011–2012 academic year.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3975270  PMID: 24629103
Hepatitis B vaccine; Healthcare workers; Cameroon
7.  Frequent Transient Hepatitis C viremia without Seroconversion among Healthcare Workers in Cairo, Egypt 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57835.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3585182  PMID: 23469082
8.  Prevalence of occupational exposure to blood and body secretions and its related effective factors among health care workers of three Emergency Departments in Tehran 
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.
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.
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
9.  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
10.  Administrative measures for preventing Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection among healthcare workers in a teaching hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 
Tuberculosis (TB) is an occupational disease of healthcare workers (HCWs). Administrative and engineering interventions simultaneously implemented in hospitals of developed countries have reduced the risk of nosocomial transmission of M. tuberculosis. We have studied the impact of administrative infection control measures on the risk for latent TB infection (LTBI) among HCWs in a resource-limited, high-burden country. An intervention study was undertaken in a university-affiliated, inner-city hospital in Rio de Janeiro, where routine serial tuberculin skin test (TST) is offered to all HCWs. From October 1998 to February 2001, the following administrative infection control measures were progressively implemented: isolation of TB suspects and confirmed TB inpatients, quick turnaround for acid-fast bacilli sputum tests and HCW education in use of protective respirators. Among 1336 initially tested HCWs, 599 were retested. The number of TST conversions per 1000 person-months during and after the implementation of these measures was reduced from 5.8/1000 to 3.7/1000 person-months (P = 0.006). The most significant reductions were observed in the intensive care unit (from 20.2 to 4.5, P < 0.001) and clinical wards (from 10.3 to 6.0, P < 0.001). Physicians and nurses had the highest reductions (from 7.6 to 0, P < 0.001; from 9.9 to 5.8, P = 0.001, respectively). We conclude that isolated administrative measures for infection control can significantly reduce LTBI among HCWs in high-burden countries and should be implemented even when resources are not available for engineering infection control measures.
PMCID: PMC2737465  PMID: 19278753
Infection control; Health personnel; Nosocomial infection; Occupational exposure; Tuberculin test; Tuberculosis
11.  Preventing Hepatitis B in Health Care Workers 
Canadian Family Physician  1985;31:1941-1944.
Exposure to hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a potentially serious occupational hazard for health care workers. Data indicate an increased risk of HBV infection in health care workers. This risk appears to be related to the frequency of contact with patients' blood and exposure to high risk patient populations. Strategies available for preventing HBV infection in the health care setting include HBV vaccine, which is the most efficacious and practical strategy. In view of the potential consequences of HBV infection, health care employers have a responsibility to provide education, serological testing and vaccination. Health care workers have a responsibility to use these programs, and to assess their own risk of infection.
PMCID: PMC2327899  PMID: 21274208
Hepatitis B; prevention; health care workers
12.  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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Descriptive retrospective study.
BJC HealthCare, a 13-hospital nonprofit healthcare organization in the Midwest.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3919446  PMID: 20055666
14.  Occupational exposure to body fluids among health care workers in Georgia 
Health care workers (HCWs) are at increased risk of being infected with blood-borne pathogens.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3612004  PMID: 22869786
Blood-borne virus; contamination injury; developing country; needlestick
15.  Long-Term Persistence of Seroprotection by Hepatitis B Vaccination in Healthcare Workers of Southern Italy 
Hepatitis Monthly  2012;12(9):e6025.
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.
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC3475028  PMID: 23087756
Hepatitis B Virus; Vaccines; Health Personnel; Vaccination
16.  Incidence of occupational exposures in a tertiary health care center 
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.
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.
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.
So far, no case of sero-conversion as a result of needle stick injuries was reported at our center.
PMCID: PMC3505302  PMID: 23188932
Human immunodeficiency virus; hepatitis B and C virus; Occupational exposure; post-exposure prophylaxis
17.  Prevalence and Incidence of Latent Tuberculosis Infection in Georgian Healthcare Workers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58202.
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).
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC3607575  PMID: 23536789
18.  Tuberculosis examination using whole blood interferon-gamma release assay among health care workers in a Japanese hospital without tuberculosis-specific wards 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:440.
Occupational latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) among health care workers (HCWs) is an important public health issue. The objective of this study is to assess prevalence and risk factors of LTBI among Japanese HCWs by Quantiferon-TB Gold in Tube (QFT-GIT) and the structured questionnaire. This is a cross-sectional study involving HCWs from a hospital without tuberculosis-specific wards, receiving QFT-GIT for LTBI screening. We reviewed medical records of HCWs and questioned HCWs about exposure to M. tuberculosis and employment length in health care industries. 165 HCWs, approximately 80% of the total hospital staff, were enrolled in this study.18 out of 165 subjects had positive results, suggesting LTBI prevalence rate of 11%. Multiple regression analysis revealed a significant association between the positive or intermediate QFT-GIT results and history of contact investigation for tuberculosis. QFT-GIT positivity rate among HCWs is higher than among general population in Japan.
PMCID: PMC3790903  PMID: 24102039
Latent tuberculosis infection; Quantiferon-TB gold in tube; Latent tuberculosis infection baseline screening; Health care workers
19.  Hepatitis B and hepatitis delta virus infection in South America. 
Gut  1996;38(Suppl 2):S48-S55.
About 100,000 cases of acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection occur annually in South America. The overall prevalence of HBV infection in low risk populations ranges from 6.7% to 41%, while hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) rates range from 0.4% to 13%. In high endemicity aboriginal or rural populations, perinatal transmission may play a major part in the spread of HBV. In urban populations, however, horizontal transmission, probably by sexual contact, is the predominant mode of spread, with higher rates of HBV positivity in lower socioeconomic groups. High risk populations such as health care workers and haemodialysis patients show higher rates of HBV infection than comparable populations elsewhere. The risk of posttransfusion hepatitis B remains high in some areas. Concomitant HBV infection may accelerate the chronic liver disease seen in decompensated hepatosplenic schistosomiasis. In the north, the prevalence of hepatitis delta virus (HDV) infection ranks among the highest in the world. In the south, the problem appears negligible although it is increasing within high risk urban communities. HDV superinfection has been the cause of large outbreaks of fulminant hepatitis. The cost of comprehensive or mass vaccination programmes remains unaffordable for most South American countries. Less expensive alternatives such as low dose intradermal schedules of immunisation have been used with success in selected adult subjects.
PMCID: PMC1398044  PMID: 8786054
20.  Self-reported occupational exposure to HIV and factors influencing its management practice: a study of healthcare workers in Tumbi and Dodoma Hospitals, Tanzania 
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.
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:
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3718638  PMID: 23866940
HIV; Occupational exposure; Healthcare workers
21.  Epidemiology and control of hepatitis B infection: a perspective from the Philippines, Asia. 
Gut  1996;38(Suppl 2):S43-S47.
The prevalence of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in the Philippines, as indicated by hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positivity, ranges from 2% to 16.5%, with an average of 12% in a study of rural villagers. Although mother to child transmission is a major route of HBV infection, other routes (particularly child to child transmission) play an important part after the first year of life. In a study assessing the feasibility and effectiveness of incorporating hepatitis B vaccine into the national Expanded Programme on Immunisation, the coverage rate for fully immunised 1 year olds ranged from 80.9-84% and anti-HBs seroconversion rates ranged from 72-88%. In countries where HBV is not endemic, high risk groups include commercial sex workers (CSWs) and intravenous drug users (IVDUs), who generally have higher HBsAg positivity rates than the general population. In countries with a high HBV endemicity, carrier rates may be only slightly higher among CSWs, suggesting that other modes of transmission are more important in those regions. CSWs who are also IVDUs are at even greater risk. If HBV infection is to be controlled, innovative education and screening programmes are needed, together with the mass immunisation of neonates now started in many countries around the world.
PMCID: PMC1398043  PMID: 8786053
22.  Occupational exposure to blood, hepatitis B vaccine knowledge and uptake among medical students in Cameroon 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:148.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the most contagious blood borne pathogen. The risk of occupational exposure to HBV among health care workers is a major concern, especially medical trainees. In this study we describe the knowledge of risk factors for HBV infection, history of accidental exposure to blood, awareness of HBV vaccine and the vaccination status among medical students in Cameroon.
In April 2012, a cross-sectional survey was carried out using a pretested self-administered questionnaire among 111 medical students.
Sixty-two students (55.9%) had had at least one accidental exposure to blood since the beginning of their medical training, with a median of 2 (IQR, 1-3) exposures. There was a good knowledge of the risk factors for HBV infection and awareness of HBV vaccine among participants. However, only 20 (18%) participants had completed the three doses of primary HBV vaccination. Furthermore, only 2 of the 20 (10%) adequately vaccinated participants had a post-vaccination test to confirm a good immune response and thus an effective protection against HBV infection. The main reason for not being vaccinated was lack of money to pay for the vaccine (45.6%). Forty seven (42.3%) participants had been sensitized by their training institutions about the importance of HBV vaccination. These were more likely to be vaccinated compared to those who had not been sensitized (p<0,001).
There is a high rate of accidental exposure to blood and a very low HBV vaccination uptake in medical students in Cameroon, leading to a high occupational risk of HBV infection. HBV vaccination should be strongly recommended for medical students and the vaccine made available free of charge at the beginning of their training.
PMCID: PMC3874660  PMID: 24200149
Hepatitis B vaccine; Accidental exposure to blood; Medical students; Cameroon
23.  Vertical transmission of hepatitis B virus: challenges and solutions 
More than 240 million people worldwide are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV). Mother-to-child transmission remains the most important mechanism of infection in countries with a high prevalence of HBV. Universal screening of all pregnant women, at-birth prophylaxis with specific anti-HBV immune globulin, as well as HBV vaccination for newborns of infected mothers are effective in reducing the risk of vertical transmission. However, in cases of a high viral load and hepatitis B e antigen positivity, there is a residual risk of HBV transmission to the newborn despite prophylaxis. This review focuses on the above-indicated strategies and on the efficacy and safety of antiviral drugs administered during the third trimester of pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC4062549  PMID: 24966696
immune globulin; prophylaxis; telbuvidine; tenofovir; vaccine; viral load
24.  Emerging hepatitis B virus infection in vaccinated populations: a rising concern? 
Hepatitis B infection, especially by perinatal transmission, is endemic in Asian countries. After the first successful universal hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination programme for newborns in Taiwan, it became feasible to prevent HBV transmission and the resultant hepatocellular carcinoma in endemic countries. However, a small subset of vaccinated people have a suboptimal immunological response to vaccination, and the immunity of some young adults who were vaccinated as infants seems to have waned over time. Despite this loss, recent studies suggest that anamnestic anti-HBs antibody responses rapidly resume and eliminate acute HBV infection acquired through sexual contact or blood transfusion, even though the anti-HBs antibody titre has decreased below a protective level. These observations indicate prolonged protection by the HBV vaccine. Therefore, for people with a low infection risk, a universal booster vaccination is not currently recommended, but it should be considered for high-risk groups. However, we still advocate close monitoring of acute hepatitis B among patients who lack a protective level of anti-HBs antibody and suggest a wait-and-see policy to determine the necessity for booster vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3630933
anamnestic effect; anti-HBs antibody; immunity; hepatitis B; vaccination
25.  Risk of latent TB infection in individuals employed in the healthcare sector in Germany: a multicentre prevalence study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:107.
Healthcare workers are still recognised as a high-risk group for latent TB infection (LTBI). Therefore, the screening of people employed in the healthcare sector for active and LTBI is fundamental to infection control programmes in German hospitals. It was the aim of the study to determine the prevalence and putative risk factors of LTBI.
We tested 2028 employees in the healthcare sector with the QuantiFERON-Gold In-tube (QFT-IT) test between December 2005 and May 2009, either in the course of contact tracing or in serial testing of TB high-risk groups following German OSH legislation.
A positive IGRA was found in 9.9% of the healthcare workers (HCWs). Nurses and physicians showed similar prevalence rates (9.7% to 9.6%). Analysed by occupational group, the highest prevalence was found in administration staff and ancillary nursing staff (17.4% and 16.7%). None of the individuals in the trainee group showed a positive IGRA result. In the different workplaces the observed prevalence was 14.7% in administration, 12.0% in geriatric care, 14.2% in technicians (radiology, laboratory and pathology), 6.5% in admission ward staff and 8.3% in the staff of pulmonary/infectious disease wards. Putative risk factors for LTBI were age (>55 years: OR14.7, 95% CI 5.1-42.1), being foreign-born (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.4-2.8), TB in the individual's own history (OR 4.96, 95% CI 1.99-12.3) and previous positive TST results (OR 3.5, 95% CI 2.4-4.98). We observed no statistically significant association with gender, BCG vaccination, workplace or profession.
The prevalence of LTBI in low-incidence countries depends on age. We found no positive IGRA results among trainees in the healthcare sector. Incidence studies are needed to assess the infection risk. Pre-employment screening might be helpful in this endeavour.
PMCID: PMC2877045  PMID: 20429957

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