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1.  Hepatitis B Vaccination Status and Needlestick Injuries Among Healthcare Workers in Syria 
Background:
Although a majority of countries in the Middle East show intermediate or high endemicity of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which clearly poses a serious public health problem in the region, the situation in the Republic of Syria remains unclear. The aim of this study is to determine the hepatitis B vaccination status, to assess the number of vaccinations administered, and to estimate the annual incidence of needlestick injuries (NSIs) among healthcare workers (HCWs) in Aleppo University hospitals.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional design with a survey questionnaire was used for exploring details of NSIs during 2008, hepatitis B vaccination status, and HBV infection among a random stratified sample of HCWs in three tertiary hospitals in Aleppo (n = 321).
Results:
Two hundred and forty-six (76.6%) HCWs had sustained at least one NSI during 2008. Nine (2.8%) had HBV chronic infection and 75 HCWs (23.4%) were never vaccinated. Anesthesiology technicians had the greatest exposure risk when compared to office workers [OR = 16,95% CI (2.55-100), P < 0.01], doctors [OR = 10,95% CI (2.1 47.57), P < 0.01], and nurses [OR = 6.75,95% CI (1.56-29.03), P = 0.01]. HCWs under 25 and between the age of 25 and 35 years were at increased risk for NSI when compared to HCWs older than 45 years [OR = 3.12,95% CI (1.19-8.19), P = 0.02] and [OR = 3.05,95% CI (1.42-6.57), P < 0.01], respectively.
Conclusion:
HCWs at Aleppo University hospitals are frequently exposed to blood-borne infections. Precautions and protection from NSIs are important in preventing infection of HCWs. Education about the transmission of blood-borne infections, vaccination, and post-exposure prophylaxis must be implemented and strictly monitored.
doi:10.4103/0974-777X.59247
PMCID: PMC2840977  PMID: 20300414
Needlestick injuries; Hepatitis B infection; Healthcare workers
2.  Incidence of occupational exposures in a tertiary health care center 
Introduction:
Occupational exposure to Hepatitis B virus (HBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a cause of concern to all health care workers (HCWs), especially those, in hospitals. Among the HCWs, nurses, interns, technicians, resident doctors and housekeeping staff have the highest incidence of occupational exposure.
Aims:
To analyze the cases of needle stick injuries and other exposures to patient's blood or body fluids among health care workers.
Materials and Methods:
A detailed account of the exposure is documented which includes incidence of needle stick injuries (NSI) and implementation of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) as per the hospital guidelines. We report a two-year continuing surveillance study where 255 health care workers (HCWs) were included. PEP was given to HCWs sustaining NSI or exposures to blood and body fluids when the source is known sero-positive or even unknown where the risk of transmission is high. Follow-up of these HCW's was done after three and six months of exposure.
Results:
Of the 255 HCWs, 59 sustained needle stick injuries and two were exposed to splashes. 31 of the NSI were from known sources and 28 from unknown sources. From known sources, thirteen were seropositive; seven for HIV, three for HCV and three for HBV. Nineteen of them sustained needle stick during needle re-capping, six of them during clean up, six of them while discarding into the container, 17 during administration of injection, eight of them during suturing, two occurred in restless patient, 17 during needle disposal.
Conclusion:
So far, no case of sero-conversion as a result of needle stick injuries was reported at our center.
doi:10.4103/0253-7184.102111
PMCID: PMC3505302  PMID: 23188932
Human immunodeficiency virus; hepatitis B and C virus; Occupational exposure; post-exposure prophylaxis
3.  Tuberculosis among Health-Care Workers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e494.
Background
The risk of transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from patients to health-care workers (HCWs) is a neglected problem in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Most health-care facilities in these countries lack resources to prevent nosocomial transmission of tuberculosis (TB).
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review to summarize the evidence on the incidence and prevalence of latent TB infection (LTBI) and disease among HCWs in LMICs, and to evaluate the impact of various preventive strategies that have been attempted. To identify relevant studies, we searched electronic databases and journals, and contacted experts in the field. We identified 42 articles, consisting of 51 studies, and extracted data on incidence, prevalence, and risk factors for LTBI and disease among HCWs. The prevalence of LTBI among HCWs was, on average, 54% (range 33% to 79%). Estimates of the annual risk of LTBI ranged from 0.5% to 14.3%, and the annual incidence of TB disease in HCWs ranged from 69 to 5,780 per 100,000. The attributable risk for TB disease in HCWs, compared to the risk in the general population, ranged from 25 to 5,361 per 100,000 per year. A higher risk of acquiring TB disease was associated with certain work locations (inpatient TB facility, laboratory, internal medicine, and emergency facilities) and occupational categories (radiology technicians, patient attendants, nurses, ward attendants, paramedics, and clinical officers).
Conclusions
In summary, our review demonstrates that TB is a significant occupational problem among HCWs in LMICs. Available evidence reinforces the need to design and implement simple, effective, and affordable TB infection-control programs in health-care facilities in these countries.
A systematic review demonstrates that tuberculosis is an important occupational problem among health care workers in low and middle-income countries.
Editors' Summary
Background.
One third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). In many people, the bug causes no health problems—it remains latent. But about 10% of infected people develop active, potentially fatal TB, often in their lungs. People with active pulmonary TB readily spread the infection to other people, including health-care workers (HCWs), in small airborne droplets produced when they cough or sneeze. In high-income countries such as the US, guidelines are in place to minimize the transmission of TB in health-care facilities. Administrative controls (for example, standard treatment plans for people with suspected or confirmed TB) aim to reduce the exposure of HCWs to people with TB. Environmental controls (for example, the use of special isolation rooms) aim to prevent the spread and to reduce the concentration of infectious droplets in the air. Finally, respiratory-protection controls (for example, personal respirators for nursing staff) aim to reduce the risk of infection when exposure to M. tuberculosis is unavoidably high. Together, these three layers of control have reduced the incidence of TB in HCWs (the number who catch TB annually) in high-income countries.
Why Was This Study Done?
But what about low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where more than 90% of the world's cases of TB occur? Here, there is little money available to implement even low-cost strategies to reduce TB transmission in health-care facilities—so how important an occupational disease is TB in HCWs in these countries? In this study, the researchers have systematically reviewed published papers to find out the incidence and prevalence (how many people in a population have a specific disease) of active TB and latent TB infections (LTBIs) in HCWs in LMICs. They have also investigated whether any of the preventative strategies used in high-income countries have been shown to reduce the TB burden in HCWs in poorer countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To identify studies on TB transmission to HCWs in LMICs, the researchers searched electronic databases and journals, and also contacted experts on TB transmission. They then extracted and analyzed the relevant data on TB incidence, prevalence, risk factors, and control measures. Averaged-out over the 51 identified studies, 54% of HCWs had LTBI. In most of the studies, increasing age and duration of employment in health-care facilities, indicating a longer cumulative exposure to infection, was associated with a higher prevalence of LTBI. The same trend was seen in a subgroup of medical and nursing students. After accounting for the incidence of TB in the relevant general population, the excess incidence of TB in the different studies that was attributable to being a HCW ranged from 25 to 5,361 cases per 100, 000 people per year. In addition, a higher risk of acquiring TB was associated with working in specific locations (for example, inpatient TB facilities or diagnostic laboratories) and with specific occupations, including nurses and radiology attendants; most of the health-care facilities examined in the published studies had no specific TB infection-control programs in place.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all systematic reviews, the accuracy of these findings may be limited by some aspects of the original studies, such as how the incidence of LTBI was measured. In addition, the possibility that the researchers missed some relevant published studies, or that only studies where there was a high incidence of TB in HCWs were published, may also affect the findings of this study. Nevertheless, they suggest that TB is an important occupational disease in HCWs in LMICs and that the HCWs most at risk of TB are those exposed to the most patients with TB. Reduction of that risk should be a high priority because occupational TB leads to the loss of essential, skilled HCWs. Unfortunately, there are few data available to indicate how this should be done. Thus, the researchers conclude, well-designed field studies are urgently needed to evaluate whether the TB-control measures that have reduced TB transmission to HCWs in high-income countries will work and be affordable in LMICs.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030494.
• US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases patient fact sheet on tuberculosis
• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information for patients and professionals on tuberculosis
• MedlinePlus encyclopedia entry on tuberculosis
• NHS Direct Online, from the UK National Health Service, patient information on tuberculosis
• US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, information about tuberculosis for health-care workers
• American Lung Association information on tuberculosis and health-care workers
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030494
PMCID: PMC1716189  PMID: 17194191
4.  Incidence Rate of Needlestick and Sharps Injuries in 67 Japanese Hospitals: A National Surveillance Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77524.
Background
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).
Conclusions/Significance
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077524
PMCID: PMC3813677  PMID: 24204856
5.  Percutaneous Exposure Incidents of the Health Care Personnel in a Newly Founded Tertiary Hospital: A Prospective Study 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(2):e194.
Background
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].
Conclusions/Significance
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000194
PMCID: PMC1805815  PMID: 17332844
6.  Occupational exposure to body fluids among health care workers in Georgia 
Background
Health care workers (HCWs) are at increased risk of being infected with blood-borne pathogens.
Aims
To evaluate risk of occupational exposure to blood-borne viruses and determine the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HCWs in Georgia.
Methods
The sample included HCWs from seven medical institutions in five cities in Georgia. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on demographic, occupational and personal risk factors for blood-borne viruses. After obtaining informed consent, blood was drawn from the study participants for a seroprevalence study of HBV, HCV and HIV infections.
Results
There were 1386 participating HCWs from a number of departments, including surgery (29%), internal medicine (19%) and intensive care (19%). Nosocomial risk events were reported by the majority of HCWs, including accidental needlestick injury (45%), cuts with contaminated instruments (38%) and blood splashes (46%). The most frequent risk for receiving a cut was related to a false move during a procedure, reassembling devices and handing devices to a colleague. The highest proportion of needlestick injuries among physicians (22%) and nurses (39%) was related to recapping of used needles. No HIV-infected HCW was identified. Prevalence of HCV infection was 5%, anti-HBc was present among 29% with 2% being HBsAg carriers.
Conclusions
Data from this study can be utilized in educational programs and implementation of universal safety precautions for HCWs in Georgia to help achieve similar reductions in blood-borne infection transmission to those achieved in developed countries.
doi:10.1093/occmed/kqs121
PMCID: PMC3612004  PMID: 22869786
Blood-borne virus; contamination injury; developing country; needlestick
7.  Reduction of needlestick injuries in healthcare personnel at a university hospital using safety devices 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
The application of safety devices led to a reduction of NSIs and significantly reduces the risk of bloodborne infections.
doi:10.1186/1745-6673-8-20
PMCID: PMC3728001  PMID: 23895578
Bloodborne infection; Needlestick injury; Safety device; Healthcare personnel; Occupational exposure
8.  Factors Affecting Occupational Exposure to Needlestick and Sharps Injuries among Dentists in Taiwan: A Nationwide Survey 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34911.
Background
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).
Conclusions/Significance
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034911
PMCID: PMC3318009  PMID: 22509367
9.  Estimated risk of HIV acquisition and practice for preventing occupational exposure: a study of healthcare workers at Tumbi and Dodoma Hospitals, Tanzania 
Background
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at risk of acquiring human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) and other infections via exposure to infectious patients’ blood and body fluids. The main objective of this study was to estimate the risk of HIV transmission and examine the practices for preventing occupational exposures among HCWs at Tumbi and Dodoma Hospitals in Tanzania.
Methods
This study was carried out in two hospitals, namely, Tumbi in Coast Region and Dodoma in Dodoma Region. In each facility, hospital records of occupational exposure to HIV infection and its management were reviewed. In addition, practices to prevent occupational exposure to HIV infection among HCWs were observed.
Results
The estimated risk of HIV transmission due to needle stick injuries was calculated to be 7 cases per 1,000,000 HCWs-years. Over half of the observed hospital departments did not have guidelines for prevention and management of occupational exposure to HIV infections and lacked well displayed health and safety instructions. Approximately, one-fifth of the hospital departments visited failed to adhere to the instructions pertaining to correlation between waste materials and the corresponding colour coded bag/container/safety box. Seventy four percent of the hospital departments observed did not display instructions for handling infectious materials. Inappropriate use of gloves, lack of health and safety instructions, and lack of use of eye protective glasses were more frequently observed at Dodoma Hospital than at Tumbi Hospital.
Conclusions
The poor quality of the hospital records at the two hospitals hampered our effort to characterise the risk of HIV infection acquisition by HCWs. Greater data completeness in hospital records is needed to allow the determination of the actual risk of HIV transmission for HCWs. To further reduce the risk of HIV infection due to occupational exposure, hospitals should be equipped with sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) and HCWs should be reminded of the importance of adhering to universal precautions.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-369
PMCID: PMC3850547  PMID: 24079806
HIV; Occupational exposure; Healthcare workers
10.  Economic benefits of safety-engineered sharp devices in Belgium - a budget impact model 
Background
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.
Methods
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%.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-489
PMCID: PMC4222860  PMID: 24274747
Budget; Model; Economic; Needlestick; Safety-engineered; Device
11.  Self-reported occupational exposure to HIV and factors influencing its management practice: a study of healthcare workers in Tumbi and Dodoma Hospitals, Tanzania 
Background
Blood borne infectious agents such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immune deficiency virus (HIV) constitute a major occupational hazard for healthcare workers (HCWs). To some degree it is inevitable that HCWs sustain injuries from sharp objects such as needles, scalpels and splintered bone during execution of their duties. However, in Tanzania, there is little or no information on factors that influence the practice of managing occupational exposure to HIV by HCWs. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of self-reported occupational exposure to HIV among HCWs and explore factors that influence the practice of managing occupational exposure to HIV by HCWs in Tanzania.
Methods
Self-administered questionnaire was designed to gather information of healthcare workers’ occupational exposures in the past 12 months and circumstances in which these injuries occurred. Practice of managing occupational exposure was assessed by the following questions:
Results
Nearly half of the HCWs had experienced at least one occupational injury in the past 12 months. Though most of the occupational exposures to HIV were experienced by female nurses, non-medical hospital staff received PEP more frequently than nurses and doctors. Doctors and nurses frequently encountered occupational injuries in surgery room and labor room respectively. HCWs with knowledge on the possibility of HIV transmission and those who knew whom to contact in event of occupational exposure to HIV were less likely to have poor practice of managing occupational exposure.
Conclusion
Needle stick injuries and splashes are common among HCWs at Tumbi and Dodoma hospitals. Knowledge of the risk of HIV transmission due to occupational exposure and knowing whom to contact in event of exposure predicted practice of managing the exposure. Thus provision of health education on occupational exposure may strengthen healthcare workers’ practices to manage occupational exposure.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-276
PMCID: PMC3718638  PMID: 23866940
HIV; Occupational exposure; Healthcare workers
12.  Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice of Iranian Medical Specialists regarding Hepatitis B and C 
Hepatitis Monthly  2010;10(3):176-182.
Background and Aims
Health care workers (HCWs) are at risk of contracting and spreading hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) to others. The aim of this study was to evaluate knowledge, attitudes and behavior of physicians concerning HBV and HCV.
Methods
A 29-item questionnaire (reliability coefficient = 0.7) was distributed at two national/regional congresses and two university hospitals in Iran. Five medical groups (dentists, general practitioners, paraclinicians, surgeons and internists) received 450 questionnaires in 2009, of which 369 questionnaires (82%) were filled out.
Results
Knowledge about routes of transmission of HBV and HCV, prevalence rate and seroconversion rates secondary to a needlestick injury was moderate to low. Concern about being infected with HBV and HCV was 69.4±2.1 and 76.3±2 (out of 100), respectively. Complete HBV vaccination was done on 88.1% of the participants. Sixty percent had checked their hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs), and 83.8% were positive. Only 24% of the surgeons often used double gloves and 28% had reported a needlestick. There was no significant correlation between the different specialties and: concern about HBV and HCV; the underreporting of needlestick injuries; and correct knowledge of post-needlestick HBV infection.
Conclusions
Although our participants were afraid of acquiring HBV and HCV, knowledge about routes of transmission, prevalence, protection and post-exposure seroconversion rates was unsatisfactory. By making physicians aware of possible post-exposure prophylaxis, the underreporting of needlestick injuries could be eliminated. Continuous training about HBV and HCV transmission routes, seroconversion rates, protection, as well as hepatitis B vaccination and checking the anti-HBs level, is a matter of necessity.
PMCID: PMC3269081  PMID: 22308136
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Health Knowledge; Attitudes; Practices; Iran
13.  Frequent Transient Hepatitis C viremia without Seroconversion among Healthcare Workers in Cairo, Egypt 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57835.
Backgrounds
With 10% of the general population aged 15–59 years chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), Egypt is the country with the highest HCV prevalence worldwide. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are therefore at particularly high risk of HCV infection. Our aim was to study HCV infection risk after occupational blood exposure among HCWs in Cairo.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The study was conducted in 2008–2010 at Ain Shams University Hospital, Cairo. HCWs reporting an occupational blood exposure at screening, having neither anti-HCV antibodies (anti-HCV) nor HCV RNA, and exposed to a HCV RNA positive patient, were enrolled in a 6-month prospective cohort with follow-up visits at weeks 2, 4, 8, 12 and 24. During follow-up, anti-HCV, HCV RNA and ALT were tested. Among 597 HCWs who reported a blood exposure, anti-HCV prevalence at screening was 7.2%, not different from that of the general population of Cairo after age-standardization (11.6% and 10.4% respectively, p = 0.62). The proportion of HCV viremia among index patients was 37%. Of 73 HCWs exposed to HCV RNA from index patients, nine (12.3%; 95%CI, 5.8–22.1%) presented transient viremia, the majority of which occurred within the first two weeks after exposure. None of the workers presented seroconversion or elevation of ALT.
Conclusions/Significance
HCWs of a general University hospital in Cairo were exposed to a highly viremic patient population. They experienced frequent occupational blood exposures, particularly in early stages of training. These exposures resulted in transient viremic episodes without established infection. These findings call for further investigation of potential immune protection against HCV persistence in this high risk group.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057835
PMCID: PMC3585182  PMID: 23469082
14.  Healthcare workers and health care-associated infections: knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in emergency departments in Italy 
Background
This survey assessed knowledge, attitudes, and compliance regarding standard precautions about health care-associated infections (HAIs) and the associated determinants among healthcare workers (HCWs) in emergency departments in Italy.
Methods
An anonymous questionnaire, self-administered by all HCWs in eight randomly selected non-academic acute general public hospitals, comprised questions on demographic and occupational characteristics; knowledge about the risks of acquiring and/or transmitting HAIs from/to a patient and standard precautions; attitudes toward guidelines and risk perceived of acquiring a HAI; practice of standard precautions; and sources of information.
Results
HCWs who know the risk of acquiring Hepatitis C (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from a patient were in practice from less years, worked fewer hours per week, knew that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, knew that HCV and HIV infections can be serious, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Those who know that gloves, mask, protective eyewear, and hands hygiene after removing gloves are control measures were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, knew that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, did not know that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Being a nurse, knowing that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, obtaining information from educational courses and scientific journals, and needing information were associated with a higher perceived risk of acquiring a HAI. HCWs who often or always used gloves and performed hands hygiene measures after removing gloves were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, and knew that hands hygiene after removing gloves was a control measure.
Conclusions
HCWs have high knowledge, positive attitudes, but low compliance concerning standard precautions. Nurses had higher knowledge, perceived risk, and appropriate HAIs' control measures than physicians and HCWs answered correctly and used appropriately control measures if have received information from educational courses and scientific journals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-35
PMCID: PMC2848042  PMID: 20178573
15.  Costs and cost-effectiveness of different follow-up schedules for detection of occupational hepatitis C virus infection 
Gut  2008;58(1):105-110.
Objective:
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.
Methods:
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.
Results:
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.
Conclusion:
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.
doi:10.1136/gut.2007.145516
PMCID: PMC2597690  PMID: 18824553
16.  MRSA as an occupational disease: a case series 
Objectives
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1007/s00420-010-0610-7
PMCID: PMC3037496  PMID: 21212973
MRSA; Occupational disease; Infection; Healthcare worker; Surveillance
17.  Exposure rate of needlestick and sharps injuries among Australian veterinarians 
Background
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.
Methods
A questionnaire-based NSI survey was mailed to 1094 veterinarians registered with the Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland during 2006.
Results
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%).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1745-6673-4-25
PMCID: PMC2744915  PMID: 19712488
18.  Evaluation of immune response to Hepatitis B vaccine in health care workers at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan: an observational prospective study 
Background
Seroconversion rates reported after Hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination globally ranges from 85–90%. Health care workers (HCWs) are at high risk of acquiring HBV and non responders' rates after HBV vaccination were not reported previously in Pakistani HCWs. Therefore we evaluated immune response to HBV vaccine in HCWs at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods
Descriptive observational study conducted at Aga Khan University from April 2003 to July 2004. Newly HBV vaccinated HCWs were evaluated for immune response by measuring serum Hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb) levels, 6 weeks post vaccination.
Results
Initially 666 employees were included in the study. 14 participants were excluded due to incomplete records. 271 (41%) participants were females and 381(59%) were males. Majority of the participants were young (<25–39 years old), regardless of gender. Out of 652 HCWs, 90 (14%) remained seronegative after six weeks of post vaccination. The percentage of non responders increased gradually from 9% in participants of <25, 13% in 25–34, 26% in 35–49, and 63% in >50 years of age. Male non responders were more frequent (18%) than female (8%).
Conclusion
Seroconversion rate after HBV vaccination in Pakistani HCWs was similar to that reported in western and neighboring population. HCWs with reduced immune response to HBV vaccine in a high disease prevalent population are at great risk. Therefore, it is crucial to check post vaccination HBsAb in all HCWs. This strategy will ensure safety at work by reducing nosocomial transmission and will have a cost effective impact at an individual as well as at national level, which is very much desired in a resource limited country.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-120
PMCID: PMC2228304  PMID: 17961205
19.  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.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00050-12
PMCID: PMC3346335  PMID: 22441392
20.  High Incidence of Hospital Admissions with Multidrug Resistant and Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis among South African Health Care Workers 
Annals of internal medicine  2010;153(8):516-522.
Background
Nosocomial transmission has been described in extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) and HIV co-infected patients in South Africa. However, little is known about rates of drug-resistant TB among healthcare workers (HCWs) in TB and HIV endemic settings.
Objective
To estimate rates of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and XDR-TB hospitalizations among HCWs in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa.
Design
Retrospective study of drug-resistant TB patients admitted for the initiation of drug-resistant TB therapy between 2003 and 2008.
Setting
A public TB referral hospital in KZN, South Africa.
Participants
HCWs admitted with MDR-TB (N=203) or XDR-TB (N=28) were compared with non-HCWs admitted with MDR-TB (N=3807) or XDR-TB (N=344).
Measurements
Hospital admission rates, hospital admission incidence rate ratios.
Results
Estimated incidence of MDR-TB hospitalization was 64.8/100,000 for HCWs versus 11.9/100,000 for non-HCWs (I.R.R. 5.56 95% C.I. 4.87–6.35). Estimated incidence of XDR-TB hospitalizations was 7.2/100,000 among HCWs versus 1.1/100,000 in non-HCWs (I.R.R. 6.69 95% C.I. 4.38–10.20). A higher percentage of HCWs than non-HCWs with MDR-TB or XDR-TB were female (78% vs. 47%, p<0.001) and fewer HCWs reported previous TB treatment (41% vs. 92%, p<0.001). Prevalence of HIV infection did not differ between HCW and non-HCW (55% vs. 57%, p=0.71), but a higher percentage of HIV infected HCWs were on antiretroviral medications (63% vs. 47%, p<0.001).
Conclusion
HCWs in this HIV-endemic area were substantially more likely to be hospitalized with either MDR-TB or XDR-TB compared to non-HCWs. The increased risk may be explained by occupational exposure and not by other risk factors, underlining the urgent need for TB infection control programs.
Primary Funding Source
No funding was received for this study
doi:10.1059/0003-4819-153-8-201010190-00008
PMCID: PMC3074259  PMID: 20956708
21.  Tuberculosis in healthcare workers – a narrative review from a German perspective 
Introduction
Despite the decline of tuberculosis in the population at large, healthcare workers (HCW) are still at risk of infection.
Methods
In a narrative review the TB risk in HCW and preventive measures are described, with the focus on epidemiology and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) regulations in Germany.
Results
There is an increased risk of infection not only in pneumology and laboratories with regular contact with tuberculosis patients or infectious materials. Epidemiological studies have also verified an increased risk of infection from activities that involve close contact with patients’ breath (e.g. bronchoscopy, intubation) or close contact with patients in need of care in geriatric medicine or geriatric nursing. In occupational disease claim proceedings on account of tuberculosis, the burden of proof can be eased for insured persons who work in these or other comparable fields. Forgoing evidence of an index person as a source of infection has led to a doubling of the rate of cases of tuberculosis recognised as an occupational disease and has halved the duration of occupational disease claim proceedings in Germany. For several years now, it has been possible to use the new interferon-y release assays (IGRAs) to diagnose a latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) with significantly greater validity than with the traditional tuberculin skin test (TST). However, variability of the IGRAs around the cut-off poses problems especially in serial testing of HCWs. At around 10%, LTBI prevalence in German healthcare workers is lower than had been assumed. It can make sense to treat a recent LTBI in a young healthcare worker so as to prevent progression into active tuberculosis. If the LTBI is occupational in origin, the provider of statutory accident insurance can cover the costs of preventive treatment. However, little is known about disease progression in HCWs with positive IGRA sofar.
Conclusion
TB screening in HCWs will remain an important issue in the near future even in low incidence, high income countries, as active TB in HCWs is often due to workplace exposure. The IGRAs facilitate these screenings. However, variability of IGRA results in serial testing of HCWs need further investigations.
doi:10.1186/1745-6673-9-9
PMCID: PMC3984703  PMID: 24625063
Tuberculosis; Provision; Occupational disease; Assessment; Healthcare; Prevention
22.  The Effects of Influenza Vaccination of Health Care Workers in Nursing Homes: Insights from a Mathematical Model 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e200.
Background
Annual influenza vaccination of institutional health care workers (HCWs) is advised in most Western countries, but adherence to this recommendation is generally low. Although protective effects of this intervention for nursing home patients have been demonstrated in some clinical trials, the exact relationship between increased vaccine uptake among HCWs and protection of patients remains unknown owing to variations between study designs, settings, intensity of influenza seasons, and failure to control all effect modifiers. Therefore, we use a mathematical model to estimate the effects of HCW vaccination in different scenarios and to identify a herd immunity threshold in a nursing home department.
Methods and Findings
We use a stochastic individual-based model with discrete time intervals to simulate influenza virus transmission in a 30-bed long-term care nursing home department. We simulate different levels of HCW vaccine uptake and study the effect on influenza virus attack rates among patients for different institutional and seasonal scenarios. Our model reveals a robust linear relationship between the number of HCWs vaccinated and the expected number of influenza virus infections among patients. In a realistic scenario, approximately 60% of influenza virus infections among patients can be prevented when the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 to 1. A threshold for herd immunity is not detected. Due to stochastic variations, the differences in patient attack rates between departments are high and large outbreaks can occur for every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
Conclusions
The absence of herd immunity in nursing homes implies that vaccination of every additional HCW protects an additional fraction of patients. Because of large stochastic variations, results of small-sized clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination should be interpreted with great care. Moreover, the large variations in attack rates should be taken into account when designing future studies.
Using a mathematical model to simulate influenza transmission in nursing homes, Carline van den Dool and colleagues find that each additional staff member vaccinated further reduces the risk to patients.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza, a contagious viral disease of the nose, throat, and airways. Most people recover completely from influenza within a week or two but some develop life-threatening complications such as bacterial pneumonia. As a result, influenza outbreaks kill about half a million people—mainly infants, elderly people, and chronically ill individuals—each year. To minimize influenza-related deaths, the World Health Organization recommends that vulnerable people be vaccinated against influenza every autumn. Annual vaccination is necessary because flu viruses continually make small changes to the viral proteins (antigens) that the immune system recognizes. This means that an immune response produced one year provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. To provide maximum protection against influenza, each year's vaccine contains disabled versions of the major circulating strains of influenza viruses.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most Western countries also recommend annual flu vaccination for health care workers (HCWs) in hospitals and other institutions to reduce the transmission of influenza to vulnerable patients. However, many HCWs don't get a regular flu shot, so should efforts be made to increase their rate of vaccine uptake? To answer this question, public-health experts need to know more about the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection. In particular, they need to know whether a high rate of vaccine uptake by HCWs will provide “herd immunity.” Herd immunity occurs because, when a sufficient fraction of a population is immune to a disease that passes from person to person, infected people rarely come into contact with susceptible people, which means that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are protected from the disease. In this study, the researchers develop a mathematical model to investigate the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection in a nursing home department.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To predict influenza virus attack rates (the number of patient infections divided by the number of patients in a nursing home department during an influenza season) at different levels of HCW vaccine uptake, the researchers develop a stochastic transmission model to simulate epidemics on a computer. This model predicts that as the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 (no HCWs vaccinated) to 1 (all the HCWs vaccinated), the expected average influenza virus attack rate decreases at a constant rate. In the researchers' baseline scenario—a nursing home department with 30 beds where patients come into contact with other patients, HCWs, and visitors—the model predicts that about 60% of the patients who would have been infected if no HCWs had been vaccinated are protected when all the HCWs are vaccinated, and that seven HCWs would have to be vaccinated to protect one patient. This last figure does not change with increasing vaccine uptake, which indicates that there is no level of HCW vaccination that completely stops the spread of influenza among the patients; that is, there is no herd immunity. Finally, the researchers show that large influenza outbreaks can happen by chance at every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all mathematical models, the accuracy of these predictions may depend on the specific assumptions built into the model. Therefore the researchers verified that their findings hold for a wide range of plausible assumptions. These findings have two important practical implications. First, the direct relationship between HCW vaccination and patient protection and the lack of any herd immunity suggest that any increase in HCW vaccine uptake will be beneficial to patients in nursing homes. That is, increasing the HCW vaccination rate from 80% to 90% is likely to be as important as increasing it from 10% to 20%. Second, even 100% HCW vaccination cannot guarantee that influenza outbreaks will not occasionally occur in nursing homes. Because of the large variation in attack rates, the results of small clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination may be inaccurate and future studies will need to be very large if they are to provide reliable estimates of the amount of protection that HCW vaccination provides to vulnerable patients.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050200.
Read the related PLoSMedicine Perspective by Cécile Viboud and Mark Miller
A related PLoSMedicine Research Article by Jeffrey Kwong and colleagues is also available
The World Health Organization provides information on influenza and on influenza vaccines (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information for patients and professionals on all aspects of influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK Health Protection Agency also provides information on influenza
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to other information about influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service provides information about herd immunity, including a simple explanatory animation
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides an overview on the types of influenza
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050200
PMCID: PMC2573905  PMID: 18959470
23.  Occupational Exposure to Blood and Body Fluids among Health Care Workers in Teaching Hospitals in Tehran, Iran 
Background
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.
Methods
A self-structures questionnaire was used to study 650 HCWs during 2006 -2007 in some teaching hospitals in Tehran, Iran.
Results
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%).
Conclusion
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
24.  Study of Prevalence and Response to Needle Stick Injuries among Health Care Workers in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Delhi, India 
Background:
Because of the environment in which they work, many health care workers are at an increased risk of accidental needle stick injuries (NSI).
Objective:
To study prevalence and response to needle stick injuries among health care workers.
Materials and Methods:
Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: A tertiary care hospital in Delhi. Participants: 322 resident doctors, interns, nursing staff, nursing students, and technicians. Statistical Analysis: Proportions and Chi-square test.
Results:
A large percentage (79.5%) of HCWs reported having had one or more NSIs in their career. The average number of NSIs ever was found to be 3.85 per HCW (range 0-20). 72 (22.4%) reported having received a NSI within the last month. More than half (50.4%) ascribed fatigue as a cause in their injury. Most of the injuries (34.0%) occurred during recapping. In response to their most recent NSI, 60.9% washed the site of injury with water and soap while 38 (14.8%) did nothing. Only 20 (7.8%) of the HCWs took post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) against HIV/AIDS after their injury.
Conclusions:
The occurrence of NSI was found to be quite common. Avoidable practices like recapping of needles were contributing to the injuries. Prevention of NSI is an integral part of prevention programs in the work place, and training of HCWs regarding safety practices indispensably needs to be an ongoing activity at a hospital.
doi:10.4103/0970-0218.62565
PMCID: PMC2888373  PMID: 20606925
Needle stick injury; health care workers; HIV
25.  Molecular epidemiology of hcv among health care workers of khyber pakhtunkhwa 
Virology Journal  2011;8:105.
Background
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-105
PMCID: PMC3060846  PMID: 21385397

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