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.
Needlestick injuries; Hepatitis B infection; Healthcare workers
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.
Human immunodeficiency virus; hepatitis B and C virus; Occupational exposure; post-exposure prophylaxis
This study aims to evaluate the effect of oral statin medication use on the subsequent development of ocular inflammatory disease (OID). A retrospective nested case–control study was carried out on patient records from the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. All male patients with a new diagnosis of OID over a 5-year period were included. Ten control subjects (without OID) were age-matched to each OID case. Prescription files of all subjects were queried for statin use. Information on selected comorbid medical conditions was also obtained. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for risk of OID development in the context of statin use, controlling for comorbid conditions.
Ninety-two incident cases of OID were identified. A trend toward a reduction in the risk of new OID development was found in patients that used statins compared to those that did not (OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.20 to 1.23, p = 0.13). The longer the duration of statin use, the greater is the effect.
Use of oral statins may be associated with a reduced risk for the development of OID. This reduced risk increases with increasing duration of use. Larger clinical studies would be required to definitively establish the effectiveness of statins in lowering the incidence of OID.
Uveitis; Statins; Epidemiology; Veteran
Occupational hepatitis B remains a threat to healthcare workers (HCWs) worldwide, even with availability of an effective vaccine. Despite limited resources for public health, the Czech Republic instituted a mandatory vaccination program for HCWs in 1983. Annual incidence rates of acute hepatitis B were followed prospectively through 1995. Despite giving vaccine intradermally from 1983 to 1989 and intramuscularly as half dose from 1990 to 1995, rates of occupational hepatitis B decreased dramatically, from 177 cases per 100,000 workers in 1982 (before program initiated) to 17 cases per 100,000 in 1995. Among high-risk workers, the effect was even more dramatic (from 587 to 23 per 100,000). We conclude that strong public-health leadership led to control of occupational hepatitis B among HCWs in the Czech Republic, despite limited resources that precluded administering full-dose intramuscular vaccine for much of the program. Application of a similar program should be considered for other countries in regions that currently do not have a hepatitis B vaccination program.
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.
HIV; Occupational exposure; Healthcare workers
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bloodborne infection; Needlestick injury; Safety device; Healthcare personnel; Occupational exposure
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide. The prevalence of hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) in Russia was 7.6 and 5.4 per 100,000, respectively. The aim of this study was to assess the proportion of HCV and HBV infection among HCC patients, to evaluate associations between HCV, HBV and stage of HCC and to compare survival of HCC patients by their HBV/HCV status in the Arkhangelsk region of northwest Russia.
Materials and methods
A retrospective cohort study was conducted using data on all histologically confirmed HCC cases. Proportions of infected and non-infected HCC cases were calculated by Wilson's method. The associations between HBV, HCV and severity of HCC were assessed by Pearson's Chi-squared test. Survival data were presented using Kaplan–Meier curves and median survival. Survival time between the groups was compared using log-rank tests. Adjustment for potential confounders (sex, age groups, stage of HCC and cirrhosis stage by Child-Paquet scale) was performed using Cox regression.
There were 583 histologically confirmed HCC cases. The viral status was registered in 311 of patients with pre-mortem diagnosis, where 124 or 39.9% (95% confidence interval (CI), 34.4–45.4) had HBV, 54 or 17.4% (95% CI, 13.5–21.9) had HCV and 16 or 5.1% (95% CI, 3.2–8.2) were infected with both HBV and HCV. The median survival rates of patients were 3 months (95% CI, 2.3–3.8), 3 months (95% CI, 2.0–3.9) and 1 month (95% CI, 0.0–0.6) for patients with HBV, HCV and HBV and HCV, respectively. For virus-free patients, it was 5 months (95% CI, 3.5–6.5), log-rank test=10.74, df=3, p=0.013. Crude Cox regression showed increased risk of death for HBV and HBV and HCV groups in comparison with virus-free patients, and not reaching the level of statistical significance for HCV. After adjustment, the hazard ratios (HRs) decreased to non-significant levels or even reversed, with only exception for the group of patients infected with both hepatitis viruses.
We found that more than half of HCC patients were infected with HBV or HCV. The study did not reveal an association between viral status of HCC patients and stage of HCC. The viral hepatitis may have an impact on survival of HCC patients.
hepatocellular carcinoma; hepatitis B; hepatitis C; survival; Northwest Russia
Pathogens causing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) often consist of related strains that cause non-sexually transmitted, or 'ordinary infectious', diseases (OIDs). We use differential equation models of single populations to derive conditions under which a genetic variant with one (e.g. sexual) transmission mode can invade and successfully displace a genetic variant with a different (e.g. non-sexual) transmission mode. Invasion by an STD is easier if the equilibrium population size in the presence of an OID is smaller; conversely an OID can invade more easily if the equilibrium size of the population with the STD is larger. Invasion of an STD does not depend on the degree of sterility caused by the infection, but does depend on the added mortality caused by a resident OID. In contrast, the ability of an OID to invade a population at equilibrium with an STD decreases as the degree of sterility caused by the STD increases. When equilibrium population sizes for a population infected with an STD are above the point at which non-sexual contacts exceed sexual contacts (the sexual–social crossover point) and when equilibrium population sizes for an OID are below this point, there can be a stable genetic polymorphism for transmission mode. This is most likely when the STD is mildly sterilizing, and the OID causes low or intermediate levels of added mortality. Because we assume the strains are competitively equivalent and there are no heterogeneities associated with the transmission process, the polymorphism is maintained by density-dependent selection brought about by pathogen effects on population size.
Venereal Disease Density-Dependent Selection Disease Evolution
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.
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Health Knowledge; Attitudes; Practices; Iran
Needlestick and sharps injuries (NSSIs) are one of the major risk factors for blood-borne infections at healthcare facilities. This study examines the current situation of NSSIs among health care workers at public tertiary hospitals in an urban community in Mongolia and explores strategies for the prevention of these injuries.
A survey of 621 health care workers was undertaken in two public tertiary hospitals in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in July 2006. A semi-structured and self-administered questionnaire was distributed to study injection practices and the occurrence of NSSIs. A multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to investigate factors associated with experiencing NSSIs. Among the 435 healthcare workers who returned a completed questionnaire, the incidence of NSSIs during the previous 3 months was 38.4%. Health care workers were more likely to report NSSIs if they worked longer than 35 hours per week (odds ratio, OR: 2.47; 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.31-4.66) and administered more than 10 injections per day (OR: 4.76; 95% CI: 1.97-11.49). The likelihood of self-reporting NSSIs significantly decreased if health care workers adhered to universal precautions (OR: 0.34; 95% CI: 0.17-0.68).
NSSIs are a common public health problem at public tertiary hospitals in Mongolia. The promotion of adequate working conditions, elimination of excessive injection use, and adherence to universal precautions will be important for the future control of potential infections with blood-borne pathogens due to occupational exposures to sharps in this setting.
needlestick and sharps injuries; infection control; blood-borne pathogens; universal precautions; Mongolia
Tuberculosis (TB) is an established occupational disease affecting health care workers (HCWs). Determining the risk of TB among HCWs is important to enable authorites to take preventative measures in health care facilities and protect HCWs. This study was designed to assess the incidence of TB in a teaching hospital in Istanbul, Turkey. This study is retrospective study of health records of HCWs in our hospital from 1991 to 2000.
The mean workforce of the hospital was 3359 + 33.2 between 1991 and 2000. There were 31 cases (15 male) meeting the diagnostic criteria for TB, comprising eight doctors, one nurse and 22 other health professionals. Mean incidence of TB was 96 per 100,000 for all HCWs (relative risk: 2.71), 79 per 100,000 for doctors (relative risk: 2.2), 14 per 100,000 for nurses and 121 per 100,000 (relative risk: 3.4) for other professionals. The mean incidence of TB in Turkey between 1991 and 2000 was 35.4 per 100,000. Incidence of TB was similar in the Departments of Chest Diseases and Clinical Medicine but there were no TB cases in the Basic Science and Managerial Departments.
HCWs in Turkey who work in clinics have an increased risk for TB. Post-graduate education and prevention programs reduce the risk of TB. Control programs to prevent nosocomial transmission of TB should be established in hospitals to reduce risk for HCWs.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) may occur among hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected individuals. HCV is one of the most common blood-borne pathogens transmitted from patients to health-care workers (HCWs). The development of NHL among HCV-infected HCWs has recently been shown. To investigate this issue further a tailored health surveillance program was applied to 3,138 HCWs from four Medical Institutions. To this aim, all employees were screened for both anti-HCV antibodies and HCV-related extrahepatic manifestations. The HCV prevalence rate, similar among all the HCW subgroups, was 7.3%. The occurrence of a gastric mucosa-associated lymphoma tissue (MALT) lymphoma, diagnosed in a physician following a long history of HCV chronic infection, was observed. Molecular characterization of MALT tissue indicated that immunoglobuline gene combinations were those usually found among HCV-associated lymphomas. Furthermore, B-cell expansion exhibited t(14;18) translocation, as a genetic abnormality associated with the development of MALT lymphomas from HCV-positive patients. Overall, these findings support the hypothesis that HCV viral infection potentially affects the pathway of transformation and progression of lymphoma cells. The occurrence of B-cell NHL, among HCV-positive HCWs, is an additional reason to apply the standard precautions to reduce the risk of blood-borne pathogen transmission.
hepatitis C virus; health-care worker; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; surveillance
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.
There has been limited study on the effect of infection with different hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes on the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in hepatitis B virus (HBV) endemic regions of Asia.
Hazard ratios of HCC development were estimated for HBV and HCV co-infected subjects among a community-based prospective cohort. HCV genotype was determined in HCV RNA-positive samples. Incident HCC cases were identified through linkage to the cancer registry.
HCC incidence was 79 per 100,000 person-years in the study population (50 incident cases among 6,694 individuals within 63,170 person-years with an average of 9.4 years of follow-up); seroprevalence of HBsAg and anti-HCV was 5.2% and 5.6%. Adjusted hazard ratios of HCC by HBsAg positivity and anti-HCV positivity were 13.3 (CI: 7.3-24.4) and 6.7 (CI: 3.6-12.6). HRs of HBV and HCV monoinfection, and HBV/HCV coinfection were 17.1 (CI: 8.4-34.8), 10.4 (CI: 4.9-22.1) and 115.0 (CI: 32.5-407.3). Multiplicative synergistic effect of HBV/HCV coinfection on HCC risk was also observed (synergy index: 4.5, CI: 1.3-15.5). Infection with HCV genotype 1 (HR: 29.7, CI: 13.6-46.8) and mixed infection with genotype 1 and 2 (HR: 68.7, CI: 16.4-288.4) significantly elevated HCC risk, much higher than HBV infection.
The effect of differences in HCV genotype and the multiplicative synergistic effect of HBV/HCV coinfection on HCC risk shown in the present study underline the need for comprehensive identification of hepatitis infection status in order to prevent and control HCC in this HBV endemic area.
Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis C virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Cohort study
Percutaneous exposure incidents facilitate transmission of bloodborne pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV). This study was conducted to identify the circumstances and equipment related to percutaneous injuries among dental professionals.
We used workers' compensation claims submitted to the Department of Labor and Industries State Fund during a 7-year period (1995 through 2001) in Washington State for this study. We used the statement submitted by the injured worker on the workers' compensation claim form to determine the circumstances surrounding the injury including the type of activity and device involved.
Of a total of 4,695 accepted State Fund percutaneous injury claims by health care workers (HCWs), 924 (20%) were submitted by dental professionals. Out of 924 percutaneous injuries reported by dental professionals 894 (97%) were among dental health care workers in non-hospital settings, including dentists (66, 7%), dental hygienists (61, 18%) and dental assistants (667, 75%). The majority of those reporting were females (638, 71%). Most (781, 87%) of the injuries involved syringes, dental instruments (77, 9%), and suture needles (23%). A large proportion (90%) of injuries occurred in offices and clinics of dentists, while remainder occurred in offices of clinics and of doctors of medicine (9%), and a few in specialty outpatient facilities (1%). Of the 894 dental health care workers with percutaneous injuries, there was evidence of HBV in 6 persons, HCV in 30 persons, HIV in 3 persons and both HBV and HVC (n = 2) exposure.
Out of hospital percutaneous injuries are a substantial risk to dental health professionals in Washington State. Improved work practices and safer devices are needed to address this risk.
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.
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.
Exposure to blood‐borne pathogens from sharp injuries continue to pose a significant risk to healthcare workers (HCW). The number of sharps injuries sustained by HCW is still unclear, primarily due to under‐reporting of events. Healthcare professionals are at risk of sustaining such injuries from hollow‐bore needles. Sharps injuries are associated with risk of infection with blood‐borne pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) hepatitis C virus (HCV) and other live organisms. Here we are reporting a case of an adverse reaction in a HCW due to an accidental sharps injury by a needle used to administer the Bacillus Calmittee Gurien (BCG) vaccine.
BCG vaccine; adverse reaction; healthcare worker; medical error
Because Mongolia has much higher liver disease burden than any other regions of the world, it is necessary to provide information on real-time situation of chronic liver disease in Mongolia. In this article, we reviewed studies performed in Mongolia from 2000 to 2011 on seroprevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among healthy individuals and patients with chronic liver diseases, and on the practice patterns for the management of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). According to previous reports, the seroprevalence of HBV and HCV in general population in Mongolia is very high (11.8% and 15% for HBV and HCV, respectively). Liver cirrhosis is also highly prevalent, and mortality from liver cirrhosis remained high for the past decade (about 30 deaths per 100,000 populations per year). Among patients with cirrhosis, 40% and 39% are positive for HBsAg and anti-HCV, respectively, and 20% are positive for both. The seroprevalence is similar for HCC and more than 90% of HCC patients are positive for either HBV or HCV. The incidence of HCC in Mongolia is currently among the highest in the world. The mortality from HCC is also very high (52.2 deaths per 100,000 persons per year in 2010). Partly due to the lack of established surveillance systems, most cases of HCC are diagnosed at an advanced stage. The mortality from liver cirrhosis and HCC in Mongolia may be reduced by implementation of antiviral therapy program and control of alcohol consumption.
Mongolia; Carcinoma, hepatocellular; Liver cirrhosis
Occupational reaction to natural rubber latex (NRL) glove use by healthcare employees has been an area of increasing concern. Unfortunately, there is little data demonstrating the prevalence and severity of actual reactivity to NRL.
Occupational reaction to NRL was estimated using workers' compensation claims filed by healthcare employees in Oregon for the period of 1987–1998. For the first ten years, these claims were estimated by source and conditions consistent with NRL glove reactions, while in the last two years a specific code developed in 1997 for NRL glove reactions was also employed.
The claim rate was on average 0.58 per 10,000 healthcare workers annually, which constituted 0.29% of all workers' compensation claims. The most common condition experienced was dermatitis (80%) and most common body part affected was the hands (55.4%). The majority of claimants, 45 (69.2%), reported taking less than a month off work, suggesting most reactions were minor in nature, although one fatality was reported. The average NRL claim cost was $8,309.48. Overall the average cost per insured healthcare worker was approximately $0.50 per year. The occupational groups with the highest number of claims were nurses (30.8% of claimants) and nursing aides and orderlies (24.6% of claimants).
In comparison with other workers' compensation claims filed by healthcare workers during this period, 0.25% of the total was potentially related to NRL gloves. The rare incidence of respiratory and ocular claims is inconsistent with the hypothesis that asthmatic or conjunctival reactions to NRL gloves are common.
latex; latex allergy; workers' compensation; NRL gloves
Exposure to blood-borne pathogens poses a serious risk to health care workers (HCWs). We review the risk and management of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in HCWs and also discuss current methods for preventing exposures and recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis. In the health care setting, blood-borne pathogen transmission occurs predominantly by percutaneous or mucosal exposure of workers to the blood or body fluids of infected patients. Prospective studies of HCWs have estimated that the average risk for HIV transmission after a percutaneous exposure is approximately 0.3%, the risk of HBV transmission is 6 to 30%, and the risk of HCV transmission is approximately 1.8%. To minimize the risk of blood-borne pathogen transmission from HCWs to patients, all HCWs should adhere to standard precautions, including the appropriate use of hand washing, protective barriers, and care in the use and disposal of needles and other sharp instruments. Employers should have in place a system that includes written protocols for prompt reporting, evaluation, counseling, treatment, and follow-up of occupational exposures that may place a worker at risk of blood-borne pathogen infection. A sustained commitment to the occupational health of all HCWs will ensure maximum protection for HCWs and patients and the availability of optimal medical care for all who need it.
Concerns have been raised about how the transmission of emerging infectious diseases from patients to healthcare workers (HCWs) and vice versa could be recognized and prevented in a timely manner. An effective strategy to block transmission of pandemic H1N1 (2009) influenza in HCWs is important.
An infection control program was implemented to survey and prevent nosocomial outbreaks of H1N1 (2009) influenza at a 2,600-bed, tertiary-care academic hospital. In total, 4,963 employees at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital recorded their temperature and received online education on control practices for influenza infections. Administration records provided vaccination records and occupational characteristics of all HCWs. Early recognition of a pandemic H1N1 (2009) influenza case was followed by a semi-structured questionnaire to analyze possible routes of patient contact, household contact, or unspecified contact. Surveillance spanned August 1, 2009 to January 31, 2010; 51 HCWs were confirmed to have novel H1N1 (2009) influenza by quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Prevalence of patient contact, household contact, or unspecified contact infection was 13.7% (7/51), 13.7% (7/51), and 72.5% (37/51), respectively. The prevalence of the novel H1N1 infection was significantly lower among vaccinated HCWs than among unvaccinated HCWs (p<0.001). Higher viral loads in throat swabs were found in HCWs with patient and household contact infection than in those with unspecified contact infection (4.15 vs. 3.53 copies/mL, log10, p = 0.035).
A surveillance system with daily temperature recordings and online education for HCWs is important for a low attack rate of H1N1 (2009) influenza transmission before H1N1 (2009) influenza vaccination is available, and the attack rate is further decreased after mass vaccination. Unspecified contact infection rates were significantly higher than that of patient contact and household contact infection, highlighting the need for public education of influenza transmission in addition to hospital infection control.
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.
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.
Occupationally acquired infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an issue of increasing concern. However, the number of cases of occupational disease (OD) due to MRSA in healthcare workers (HCWs) and the characteristics of such cases have not been reported for Germany.
Cases of OD due to MRSA were identified from the database of a compensation board (BGW) for the years 2006 and 2007 and the individual files analyzed. The variables extracted from these data were occupation, workplace, workplace exposure, and the reasons for recognizing a claim as an OD. Seven cases were selected due to the specific characteristics of their medical history and described in more detail.
Over a 2-year period, a total of 389 MRSA-related claims were reported to the BGW, of which 17 cases with infections were recognized as an OD. The reasons for not recognizing claims as an OD were either a lack of symptomatic infection or lack of a work-related MRSA exposure. The recognized cases were predominantly among staff in hospitals and nursing homes. The most frequent infection sites were ears, nose, and throat, followed by skin infections. Three cases exhibited secondary infection of the joints, associated with skin damage primarily caused by trauma. There was only one case in which a genetic link between an MRSA-infected index patient and MRSA in a HCW was documented. MRSA infections were recognized as an OD due to known contact with MRSA-positive patients or because workplace conditions were presumed to involve increased exposure to MRSA. Long-term incapacity resulted in four cases.
MRSA infection can cause severe health problems in HCWs that may lead to long-term incapacity. As recognition of HCW claims often depends on workplace characteristics, improved surveillance of MRSA infections in HCWs would facilitate the recognition of MRSA infections as an OD.
MRSA; Occupational disease; Infection; Healthcare worker; Surveillance