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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.  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
3.  Prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection among health care workers in a tertiary hospital in Tanzania 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:386.
Sub-Saharan Africa has a high prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. Health care workers (HCWs) are at high risk of contracting HBV infection through their occupation. Vaccination of HCWs against HBV is standard practice in many countries, but is often not implemented in resource-poor settings. We aimed with this cross-sectional study to determine HBV prevalence, HCW vaccination status, and the risk factors for HCWs contracting HBV infection in Tanzania.
We enrolled 600 HCWs from a tertiary Tanzanian hospital. Their demographics, medical histories, HBV vaccination details and risk factors for contracting blood-borne infections were collected using a standardized questionnaire. Serum samples were tested for HBV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) markers by ELISA techniques, PCR and an anti-HBs rapid test. HCWs were divided in two subgroups: those at risk of contracting HBV (rHCW 79.2 %) via exposure to potentially infectious materials, and those considered not at risk of contracting HBV (nrHCW, 20.8 %).
The overall prevalence of chronic HBV infection (HBsAg+, anti-HBc+, anti-HBs-) was 7.0 % (42/598). Chronic HBV infection was found in 7.4 % of rHCW versus 5.6 % of nrHCW (p-value = 0.484). HCWs susceptible to HBV (HBsAg-, anti-HBc-, anti-HBs-) comprised 31.3 %. HBV immunity achieved either by healed HBV infection (HBsAg-, anti-HBc+, anti-HBs+) or by vaccination (HBsAg-, anti-HBc-, anti-HBs+) comprised 36.5 % and 20.2 %, respectively. 4.8 % of participants had indeterminate results (HBsAg-, anti-HBc+, anti-HBc-IgM-, anti-HBs-). Only 77.1 % of HCWs who received a full vaccination course had an anti-HBs titer >10 ml/U. An anti-HBs point-of-care test was 80.7 % sensitive and 96.9 % specific. There was a significantly higher risk for contracting HBV (anti-HBc+) among those HCW at occupational risk (rHCW) of older age (odds ratios (OR) in rHCW 3.297, p < 0.0001 vs. nrHCW 1.385, p = 0.606) and among those HCW being employed more than 11 years (OR 2.51, p < 0.0001***). HCV prevalence was low (HCV antibodies 1.2 % and HCV-RNA 0.3 %).
Chronic HBV infection is common among Tanzanian HCWs. One third of HCWs were susceptible to HBV infection, highlighting the need for vaccination. Due to high prevalence of naturally acquired immunity against HBV pre-testing might be a useful tool to identify susceptible individuals.
PMCID: PMC4581415  PMID: 26399765
Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis C virus; Health care workers; Point-of-care test; Tanzania
4.  Post exposure prophylaxis following occupational exposure to HIV: a survey of health care workers in Mbeya, Tanzania, 2009-2010 
Approximately, 1,000 HIV infections are transmitted annually to health care workers (HCWs) worldwide from occupational exposures. Tanzania HCWs experience one to nine needle stick injuries (NSIs) per year, yet the use of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is largely undocumented. We assessed factors influencing use of PEP among HCWs following occupational exposure to HIV.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in Mbeya Referral Hospital, Mbozi and Mbarali District Hospitals from December 2009 to January 2010 with a sample size of 360 HCWs. Participants were randomly selected from a list of eligible HCWs in Mbeya hospital and all eligible HCWs were enrolled in the two District Hospitals. Information regarding risk of exposure to body fluids and NSIs were collected using a questionnaire. Logistic regression was done to identify predictors for PEP use using Epi Info 3.5.1 at 95% confidence interval.
Of 291 HCWs who participated in the study, 35.1% (102/291) were exposed to NSIs and body fluids, with NSIs accounting for 62.9% (64/102). Exposure was highest among medical attendants 38.8% (33/85). Out of exposed HCWs, (22.5% (23/102) used HIV PEP with females more likely to use PEP than males. Reporting of exposures (OR=21.1, CI: 3.85-115.62) and having PEP knowledge (OR =6.5, CI: 1.78-23.99) were significantly associated with using PEP.
Despite the observed rate of occupational exposure to HCWs in Tanzania, use of PEP is still low. Effective prevention from HIV infection at work places is required through proper training of HCWs on PEP with emphasis on timely reporting of exposures.
PMCID: PMC4564419  PMID: 26405468
Post exposure prophylaxis; health care workers; occupational exposure; HIV
5.  Incidence Rate of Needlestick and Sharps Injuries in 67 Japanese Hospitals: A National Surveillance Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77524.
Determining incidence rates of needlestick and sharps injuries (NSIs) using data from multiple hospitals may help hospitals to compare their in-house data with national averages and thereby institute relevant measures to minimize NSIs. We aimed to determine the incidence rate of NSIs using the nationwide EPINet surveillance system.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Data were analyzed from 5,463 cases collected between April 2009 and March 2011 from 67 Japanese HIV/AIDS referral hospitals that participated in EPINet-Japan. The NSI incidence rate was calculated as the annual number of cases with NSIs per 100 occupied beds, according to the demographic characteristics of the injured person, place, timing, device, and the patients’ infectious status. The NSI incidence rates according to hospital size were analyzed by a non-parametric test of trend. The mean number of cases with NSIs per 100 occupied beds per year was 4.8 (95% confidence interval, 4.1–5.6) for 25 hospitals with 399 or fewer beds, 6.7 (5.9–7.4) for 24 hospitals with 400–799 beds, and 7.6 (6.7–8.5) for 18 hospitals with 800 or more beds (p-trend<0.01). NSIs frequently occurred in health care workers in their 20 s; the NSI incidence rate for this age group was 2.1 (1.6–2.5) for hospitals having 399 or fewer beds, 3.5 (3.0–4.1) for hospitals with 400–799 beds, and 4.5 (3.9–5.0) for hospitals with 800 or more beds (p-trend<0.01).
The incidence rate of NSIs tended to be higher for larger hospitals and in workers aged less than 40 years; injury occurrence was more likely to occur in places such as patient rooms and operating rooms. Application of the NSI incidence rates by hospital size, as a benchmark, could allow individual hospitals to compare their NSI incidence rates with those of other institutions, which could facilitate the development of adequate control strategies.
PMCID: PMC3813677  PMID: 24204856
6.  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
7.  Percutaneous Exposure Incidents of the Health Care Personnel in a Newly Founded Tertiary Hospital: A Prospective Study 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(2):e194.
Percutaneous exposure incidents (PEIs) and blood splashes on the skin of health care workers are a major concern, since they expose susceptible employees to the risk of infectious diseases. We undertook this study in order to estimate the overall incidence of such injuries in a newly founded tertiary hospital, and to evaluate possible changes in their incidence over time.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We prospectively studied the PEIs and blood splashes on the skin of employees in a newly founded (October 2000) tertiary hospital in Athens, Greece, while a vaccination program against hepatitis B virus, as well as educational activities for avoidance of injuries, were taking place. The study period ranged from October 1, 2002 to February 28, 2005. Serologic studies for hepatitis B (HBV) and C virus (HCV) as well as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were performed in all injured employees and the source patients, when known. High-titer immunoglobulin (250 IU anti-HBs intramuscularly) and HBV vaccination were given to non-vaccinated or previously vaccinated but serologically non-responders after exposure. Statistical analysis of the data was performed using Mc Nemar's and Fisher's tests. 60 needlestick, 11 sharp injuries, and two splashes leading to exposure of the skin or mucosa to blood were reported during the study period in 71 nurses and two members of the cleaning staff. The overall incidence (percutaneous injuries and splashes) per 100 full-time employment-years (100 FTEYs) for high-risk personnel (nursing, medical, and cleaning staff) was 3.48, whereas the incidence of percutaneous injuries (needlestick and sharp injuries) alone per 100 FTEYs was 3.38. A higher incidence of injuries was noted during the first than in the second half of the study period (4.67 versus 2.29 per 100 FTEYs, p = 0.005). No source patient was found positive for HCV or HIV. The use of high-titer immunoglobulin after adjustment for the incidence of injuries was higher in the first than in the second half of the study period, although the difference was not statistically significant [9/49 (18.37%) vs 1/24 (4.17%), p = 0.15].
Our data show that nurses are the healthcare worker group that reports most of PEIs. Doctors did not report such injuries during the study period in our setting. However, the possibility of even relatively frequent PEIs in doctors cannot be excluded. This is due to underreporting of such events that has been previously described for physicians and surgeons. A decrease of the incidence of PEIs occurred during the operation of this newly founded hospital.
PMCID: PMC1805815  PMID: 17332844
8.  Reduction of needlestick injuries in healthcare personnel at a university hospital using safety devices 
Healthcare personnel (HCP) is exposed to bloodborne pathogens through occupational risk factors. The objective of this study was to compare the incidence of needlestick injuries (NSIs) before and after the introduction of safety devices in all departments of our hospital.
Data was extracted from mandatory needlestick report forms of the hospital’s Occupational Health Service. Serological results of patients and healthcare personnel (HCP) were reviewed in the laboratory information system.
In 2007, the year before the introduction of safety devices, 448 needlestick injuries were self-reported, corresponding to an annual rate of 69.0 NSIs per 1 000 full-time HCP. The highest incidence was observed among medical staff in the surgery department and internal medicine with 152 (33.9%) and 79 (17.6%) NSIs, respectively. Of all occupational groups, nurses (36.2%) had the highest risk to sustain NSIs. In 2008 safety devices were introduced across the hospital, e.g. peripheral venous catheter, hypodermic needle and stapling system for wound sealing providing active or passive protection. In 2009, the year after introduction of safety devices, only 350 NSIs were reported, the annual rate of NSIs decreased to 52.4 per 1 000 full-time HCP. Thus an overall reduction of 21.9% for NSIs was achieved when safer devices were applied. The number of NSIs was reduced by even 50% for blood withdrawal, for use of peripheral venous catheters and application of hypodermic needles.
The application of safety devices led to a reduction of NSIs and significantly reduces the risk of bloodborne infections.
PMCID: PMC3728001  PMID: 23895578
Bloodborne infection; Needlestick injury; Safety device; Healthcare personnel; Occupational exposure
9.  Tuberculosis among Health-Care Workers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e494.
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).
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
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
• 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
PMCID: PMC1716189  PMID: 17194191
10.  Estimated risk of HIV acquisition and practice for preventing occupational exposure: a study of healthcare workers at Tumbi and Dodoma Hospitals, Tanzania 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3850547  PMID: 24079806
HIV; Occupational exposure; Healthcare workers
11.  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
12.  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
13.  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
14.  Healthcare workers and health care-associated infections: knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in emergency departments in Italy 
This survey assessed knowledge, attitudes, and compliance regarding standard precautions about health care-associated infections (HAIs) and the associated determinants among healthcare workers (HCWs) in emergency departments in Italy.
An anonymous questionnaire, self-administered by all HCWs in eight randomly selected non-academic acute general public hospitals, comprised questions on demographic and occupational characteristics; knowledge about the risks of acquiring and/or transmitting HAIs from/to a patient and standard precautions; attitudes toward guidelines and risk perceived of acquiring a HAI; practice of standard precautions; and sources of information.
HCWs who know the risk of acquiring Hepatitis C (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from a patient were in practice from less years, worked fewer hours per week, knew that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, knew that HCV and HIV infections can be serious, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Those who know that gloves, mask, protective eyewear, and hands hygiene after removing gloves are control measures were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, knew that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, did not know that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Being a nurse, knowing that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, obtaining information from educational courses and scientific journals, and needing information were associated with a higher perceived risk of acquiring a HAI. HCWs who often or always used gloves and performed hands hygiene measures after removing gloves were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, and knew that hands hygiene after removing gloves was a control measure.
HCWs have high knowledge, positive attitudes, but low compliance concerning standard precautions. Nurses had higher knowledge, perceived risk, and appropriate HAIs' control measures than physicians and HCWs answered correctly and used appropriately control measures if have received information from educational courses and scientific journals.
PMCID: PMC2848042  PMID: 20178573
15.  Costs and cost-effectiveness of different follow-up schedules for detection of occupational hepatitis C virus infection 
Gut  2008;58(1):105-110.
The purpose of this study was to compare the costs and cost-effectiveness (C/E) of early hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA testing (alternative-US recommendations) after occupational exposure to HCV with existing follow-up strategies: (1) French, anti-HCV antibodies and alanine transaminase (ALT) activity at months 1, 3 and 6; (2) European, monthly ALT activity for 4 months and anti-HCV antibodies at month 6; (3) and baseline-US, anti-HCV antibodies and ALT activity at month 6.
A decision tree simulated each strategy for 7300 healthcare workers (HCWs) exposed to HCV each year in France, taking into account the impact of early diagnosis on the response to antiviral treatment and the deterioration of HCW quality of life after exposure.
For a HCV transmission risk of 0.5% after exposure, the French strategy led to the highest costs/person (€181.40) and the baseline-US strategy to the lowest (€126.60) (€178.50) for alternative-US). The shortest mean time to HCV infection diagnosis (1 month) and the lowest number of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients (1.9/7300 HCWs exposed) was obtained with the alternative-US strategy (vs 6 months and 7.9 CHC, respectively with baseline-US). Compared with the alternative-US, the French strategy was associated with higher costs and lower utilities, and the European with a higher incremental C/E ratio. Compared with the baseline-US strategy, the alternative-US strategy C/E ratio was €2020 per quality-adjusted life year saved.
In HCWs exposed to HCV, a strategy based on early HCV RNA testing shortens the period during which the HCW’s wait for his HCV status, leads to lower risk of progression to CHC and is reasonably cost-effective.
PMCID: PMC2597690  PMID: 18824553
16.  Factors Affecting Occupational Exposure to Needlestick and Sharps Injuries among Dentists in Taiwan: A Nationwide Survey 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34911.
Although the risks of needlestick and sharps injuries (NSIs) for dentists are well recognized, most papers published only described the frequency of occupational exposure to NSIs. Less has been reported assessing factors contributing to exposure to NSIs. The purpose of this study was to update the epidemiology of NSIs among dentists in Taiwan and identify factors affecting NSIs in order to find preventive strategies.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A nationwide survey was conducted in dentists at 60 hospitals and 340 clinics in Taiwan. The survey included questions about factors supposedly affecting exposure to NSIs, such as dentist and facility characteristics, knowledge and attitudes about infectious diseases, and practices related to infection control. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the association between risk factors and exposure to NSIs. In total, 434 (74.8%) of 580 dentists returned the survey questionnaires, and 100 (23.0%) reported that they had experienced more than one NSI per week. Our data showed that the risk of occupational NSIs is similarly heightened by an older age (odds ratio [OR], 3.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.62–6.25), more years in practice (OR, 2.57; 95% CI, 1.41–4.69), working in clinics (OR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.08–2.77), exhibiting less compliance with infection-control procedures (OR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.04–3.18), having insufficient knowledge of blood-borne pathogens (OR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.04–2.67), and being more worried about being infected by blood-borne pathogens (OR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.05–3.13).
High rates of NSIs and low compliance with infection-control procedures highly contribute to the chance of acquiring a blood-borne pathogen infection and threaten occupational safety. This study reveals the possible affecting factors and helps in designing prevention strategies for occupational exposure to NSIs.
PMCID: PMC3318009  PMID: 22509367
17.  Economic benefits of safety-engineered sharp devices in Belgium - a budget impact model 
Measures to protect healthcare workers where there is risk of injury or infection from medical sharps became mandatory in the European Union (EU) from May 2013. Our research objective was to estimate the net budget impact of introducing safety-engineered devices (SEDs) for prevention of needlestick injuries (NSIs) in a Belgian hospital.
A 5-year incidence-based budget impact model was developed from the hospital inpatient perspective, comparing costs and outcomes with SEDs and prior-used conventional (non-safety) devices. The model accounts for device acquisition costs and costs of NSI management in 4 areas of application where SEDs are currently used: blood collection, infusion, injection and diabetes insulin administration. Model input data were sourced from the Institut National d’Assurance Maladie-Invalidité, published studies, clinical guidelines and market research. Costs are discounted at 3%.
For a 420-bed hospital, 100% substitution of conventional devices by SEDs is estimated to decrease the cumulative 5-year incidence of NSIs from 310 to 75, and those associated with exposure to blood-borne viral diseases from 60 to 15. Cost savings from managing fewer NSIs more than offset increased device acquisition costs, yielding estimated 5-year overall savings of €51,710. The direction of these results is robust to a range of sensitivity and model scenario analyses. The model was most sensitive to variation in the acquisition costs of SEDs, rates of NSI associated with conventional devices, and the acquisition costs of conventional devices.
NSIs are a significant potential risk with the use of sharp devices. The incidence of NSIs and the costs associated with their management can be reduced through the adoption of safer work practices, including investment in SEDs. For a Belgian hospital, the budget impact model reports that the incremental acquisition costs of SEDs are offset by the savings from fewer NSIs. The availability of more robust data for NSI reduction rates, and broadening the scope of the model to include ancillary measures for hospital conversion to SED usage, outpatient and paramedic device use, and transmission of other blood-borne diseases, would strengthen the model.
PMCID: PMC4222860  PMID: 24274747
Budget; Model; Economic; Needlestick; Safety-engineered; Device
18.  Exposure rate of needlestick and sharps injuries among Australian veterinarians 
Needlestick and sharps injuries (NSI) represent an important occupational health issue in veterinary practice. Little is known about the distribution and correlates of NSI among Australian veterinarians.
A questionnaire-based NSI survey was mailed to 1094 veterinarians registered with the Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland during 2006.
A total of 664 surveys were returned from 1038 eligible participants (response rate 64.0%) with 56.8% being male, around one-third in the >50 years age group and about half aged 31-50 years. Just over two-fifths were working in small animal practice only. Around three quarters (75.3%) reported suffering at least one NSI in the previous 12 months, while 58.9% reported suffering from at least one contaminated NSI during the previous 12 months, which crudely extrapolates to an exposure rate of 75.3 and 58.9 NSI per 100 person-years respectively. Risk factors for contaminated NSI were female gender, working in small or mixed animal practice, being less experienced, seeing more patients per week and working longer hours per week. The most common causative devices were syringes (63.7%), suture needles (50.6%) and scalpel blades (34.8%).
The exposure rate of NSI is high for Queensland veterinarians and clearly remains a major occupational health problem. Current guidelines and strategies to reduce NSI in veterinary practice should be promoted, but appear to be adapted from human health care. Studies to understand why veterinarians have such high NSI rates are required to not only identify risk factors for NSI, but also to determine attitudes and beliefs about NSI. From these studies specific strategies for veterinarians can be designed and trialed to develop evidence-based guidelines and policies that are effective in decreasing the exposure rate of NSI in veterinary practice.
PMCID: PMC2744915  PMID: 19712488
19.  Hepatitis B and C seroprevalence among health care workers in a tertiary hospital in Rwanda 
Hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) are significant global public health challenges with health care workers (HCWs) at especially high risk of exposure in resource-poor settings. We aimed to measure HBV and HCV prevalence, identify exposure risks and evaluate hepatitis-related knowledge amongst Rwandan tertiary hospital HCWs.
A cross sectional study involving tertiary hospital employees was conducted from October to December 2013. A pre-coded questionnaire was used to collect data on HCWs' socio-demographics, risk factors and knowledge of blood-borne infection prevention. Blood samples were drawn and screened for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-HCV antibodies.
Among 378 consenting HCWs, the prevalence of HBsAg positivity was 2.9% (11/378; 95% CI: 1.9 to 4.6%) and anti-HCV positivity 1.3% (5/378; 95% CI: 0.7 to 2.7%). Occupational exposure to blood was reported in 57.1% (216/378). Of the 17 participants (4.5%; 17/378) who reported having received the HBV vaccine, only 3 participants (0.8%) had received the three-dose vaccination course. Only 42 HCWs (42/378; 11.1%) were aware that a HBV vaccine was available. Most HCW (95.2%; 360/378) reported having been tested for HIV in the last 6 months.
Despite their high workplace exposure risk, HBV and HCV sero-prevalence rates among HCWs were low. The low HBV vaccination coverage and poor knowledge of preventative measures among HCWs suggest low levels of viral hepatitis awareness despite this high exposure.
PMCID: PMC4321023  PMID: 25636951
Health care workers; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Rwanda
20.  Occupational Exposure to Blood and Body Fluids among Health Care Workers in Teaching Hospitals in Tehran, Iran 
Health care workers (HCWs) are vulnerable populations for infection with blood borne pathogens. This study was conducted to determine occupational exposure to blood and body fluids among HCWs in teaching hospitals in Tehran, Iran.
A self-structures questionnaire was used to study 650 HCWs during 2006 -2007 in some teaching hospitals in Tehran, Iran.
occupational exposure to blood and body fluids to blood and body fluids of patients was noticed in 53.4%. Recapping was the most common cause of niddle stick injuries (26.5%) and 19.9% of HCWs with a history of needlestick or mucosal exposure had sought medical advice from a specialist, 79.4% of these visited a doctor in the first 24 hours after exposure. Twenty percent of people with a history of needlestick or mucosal exposure to human immune deficiency virus positive (HIV+) patients received post-exposure prophylaxis and 46.7% tested themselves for seroconversion. 25.8% of HCWs with a history of needlestick or mucosal exposure with HBsAg+ patients received hepatitis B immunoglobuline (HBIG), all of these had received it in the first 72 hours after exposure. History of vaccination, and reassurance about the effective serum antibody titer was the most frequent reason mentioned in case the individuals did not receive HBIG (56.5%).
There is a need for further research to investigate why many HCWs do not take prophylactic and essential actions after needle stick or mucosal exposure to body fluids of infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3438432  PMID: 22997555
Needlestick injuries; Health care workers; Blood borne pathogens
21.  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
22.  Effects of Training Course on Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens: A Controlled Interventional Study 
One of the serious occupational concerns in health care workers (HCWs) is exposure to blood/body fluids that can transmit blood borne pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B and C viruses. We are reporting the effects of training course and surveillance on the rate of needle stick injuries (NSIs) among HCWs at an educational hospital in Iran.
To evaluate the effects of training course on the rate of NSIs and its reporting.
We selected two hospitals (A&B) based on their similarities in wards and facilities then asked the managers of these two hospitals to participate in our study. We established a new occupational health center and conducted a training course at hospital A on 2010 and compared it with control group (hospital B). The data from 2009 to 2011 was collected, analyzed to compare pre and post intervention rates.
During study period nurses sustained the highest number of injuries (hospital A: n=80; 66.1% and hospital B: n=64; 35.4%). The incidence rate of NSIs in hospital A was 7.16 NSI/100FTE/YEAR before the intervention which was increased to 12.06 after the intervention. In hospital B this rate was 6.05 during three years.
The study revealed remarkable increase in the incidence rate of NSIs after the intervention. This is being achieved by meticulous surveillance, training course and improving awareness
PMCID: PMC3883246  PMID: 24404356
Bloodborne pathogens; health care workers; needle stick injuries
23.  Molecular epidemiology of hcv among health care workers of khyber pakhtunkhwa 
Virology Journal  2011;8:105.
Studies of the molecular epidemiology and risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) in health care workers (HCWs) of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region are scarce. Lack of awareness about the transmission of HCV and regular blood screening is contributing a great deal towards the spread of hepatitis C. This study is an attempt to investigate the prevalence of HCV and its possible association with both occupational and non-occupational risk factors among the HCWs of Peshawar.
Blood samples of 824 HCWs, aged between 20-59 years were analysed for anti-HCV antibodies, HCV RNA and HCV genotypes by Immunochromatographic tests and PCR. All relevant information was obtained from the HCWs with the help of a questionnaire. The study revealed that 4.13% of the HCWs were positive for HCV antibodies, while HCV RNA was detected in 2.79% of the individuals. The most predominant HCV genotype was 3a and 2a.
A program for education about occupational risk factors and regular blood screening must be implemented in all healthcare setups of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in order to help reduce the burden of HCV infection.
PMCID: PMC3060846  PMID: 21385397
24.  Hepatitis C Virus-Multispecific T-Cell Responses without Viremia or Seroconversion among Egyptian Health Care Workers at High Risk of Infection 
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific cell-mediated immunity (CMI) has been reported among exposed individuals without viremia or seroconversion. Limited data are available regarding CMI among at-risk, seronegative, aviremic Egyptian health care workers (HCW), where HCV genotype 4 predominates. We investigated CMI responses among HCW at the National Liver Institute, where over 85% of the patients are HCV infected. We quantified HCV-specific CMI in 52 seronegative aviremic Egyptian HCW using a gamma interferon (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunospot assay in response to 7 HCV genotype 4a overlapping 15-mer peptide pools covering most of the viral genome. A positive HCV-specific IFN-γ response was detected in 29 of 52 HCW (55.8%), where 21 (40.4%) had a positive response for two to seven HCV pools and 8 (15.4%) responded to only one pool. The average numbers of IFN-γ total spot-forming cells (SFC) per million peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) (± standard error of the mean [SEM]) in the 29 responding and 23 nonresponding HCW were 842 ± 141 and 64 ± 15, respectively (P < 0.001). Flow cytometry indicated that both CD4+ and CD4− T cells produced IFN-γ. In summary, more than half of Egyptian HCW demonstrated strong HCV multispecific CMI without viremia or seroconversion, suggesting possible clearance of low HCV exposure(s). These data suggest that detecting anti-HCV and viremia to determine past exposure to HCV can lead to an underestimation of the true disease exposure and that CMI response may contribute to the low degree of chronic HCV infection in these HCW. These findings could have strong implications for planning vaccine studies among populations with a high HCV exposure rate. Further studies are needed to determine whether these responses are protective.
PMCID: PMC3346335  PMID: 22441392
25.  Hepatitis B in healthcare workers: Transmission events and guidance for management 
World Journal of Hepatology  2015;7(3):488-497.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the most efficiently transmissible of the bloodborne viruses that are important in healthcare settings. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at risk for exposure to HBV from infected patients and, if infected, are similarly at risk of transmitting HBV to patients. Published cases of HBV transmission from HCW to patient are relatively rare, having decreased in frequency following the introduction of standard (universal) precautions, adoption of enhanced percutaneous injury precautions such as double-gloving in surgery, and routine HBV vaccination of HCWs. Here we review published cases of HCW-to-patient transmission of HBV, details of which have helped to guide the creation of formal guidelines for the management of HBV-infected HCWs. We also compare the published guidelines for the management of HBV-infected HCWs from various governing bodies, focusing on their differences with regard to vaccination requirements, viral load limits, frequency of monitoring, and restrictions on practice. Importantly, while there are differences among the recommendations from governing bodies, no guidelines uniformly restrict HBV-infected HCWs from performing invasive or exposure-prone procedures.
PMCID: PMC4381171  PMID: 25848472
Hepatitis B; Healthcare worker; Blood-borne pathogens; Transmission; Invasive procedures

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