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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  Tuberculosis among health care workers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a retrospective cohort analysis 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):891.
Background
Tuberculosis (TB) is an occupational hazard for health care workers (HCWs) who are at greater risk of developing TB than the general population. The objective of this study was to compare the difference in TB incidence among HCWs with versus without a history of working in TB wards, to estimate the incidence of TB among HCWs, and to identify risk factors for TB disease in HCWs.
Methods
A retrospective cohort study (January 2006 to December 2010) was conducted in three district hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Data were abstracted via chart review from occupational health medical records. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed using a Poisson multilevel mixed model.
Results
Of 1,313 (92%) medical charts reviewed with data on location of work documented, 112 (9%) cases of TB were identified. Among HCWs with TB 14 (13%) had multidrug-resistant TB. Thirty-six (32%) were cured, 33 (29%) completed treatment, and 13 (12%) died. An increased incidence of TB was reported for HCWs with a history of working in TB wards (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 2.03, 95% CI 1.11-3.71), pediatric wards (IRR 1.82 95% CI 1.07-3.10), outpatient departments (IRR 2.08 95% CI 1.23-3.52), and stores/workshop (IRR 2.38 95% CI 1.06-5.34) compared with those without such a history. HCWs living with HIV had a greater incidence of TB (IRR 3.2, 95% CI 1.54-6.66) than HIV-negative HCWs. TB incidence among HCWs was approximately two-fold greater than that of the general population over the study period.
Conclusions
HCWs working in a TB ward had an increased incidence of TB. However, a greater incidence of TB was also found in HCWs working in other wards including pediatric wards, outpatient departments and stores. We also identified a greater incidence of TB among HCWs than the general population. These findings further support the need for improved infection control measures not only in TB or drug-resistant TB wards or areas perceived to be at high-risk but also throughout hospitals to protect HCWs. Additionally, it is recommended for occupational health services to routinely screen HCWs for TB and provide HCWs with access to care for TB and HIV.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-891
PMCID: PMC4161912  PMID: 25174848
Tuberculosis; Health care worker; HIV; Occupational health; Infection control
5.  Barriers to Provider-Initiated Testing and Counselling for Children in a High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Mixed Methods Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001649.
Rashida Ferrand and colleagues combine quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate HIV prevalence among older children receiving primary care in Harare, Zimbabwe, and reasons why providers did not pursue testing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
There is a substantial burden of HIV infection among older children in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of whom are diagnosed after presentation with advanced disease. We investigated the provision and uptake of provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) among children in primary health care facilities, and explored health care worker (HCW) perspectives on providing HIV testing to children.
Methods and Findings
Children aged 6 to 15 y attending six primary care clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe, were offered PITC, with guardian consent and child assent. The reasons why testing did not occur in eligible children were recorded, and factors associated with HCWs offering and children/guardians refusing HIV testing were investigated using multivariable logistic regression. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinic nurses and counsellors to explore these factors. Among 2,831 eligible children, 2,151 (76%) were offered PITC, of whom 1,534 (54.2%) consented to HIV testing. The main reasons HCWs gave for not offering PITC were the perceived unsuitability of the accompanying guardian to provide consent for HIV testing on behalf of the child and lack of availability of staff or HIV testing kits. Children who were asymptomatic, older, or attending with a male or a younger guardian had significantly lower odds of being offered HIV testing. Male guardians were less likely to consent to their child being tested. 82 (5.3%) children tested HIV-positive, with 95% linking to care. Of the 940 guardians who tested with the child, 186 (19.8%) were HIV-positive.
Conclusions
The HIV prevalence among children tested was high, highlighting the need for PITC. For PITC to be successfully implemented, clear legislation about consent and guardianship needs to be developed, and structural issues addressed. HCWs require training on counselling children and guardians, particularly male guardians, who are less likely to engage with health care services. Increased awareness of the risk of HIV infection in asymptomatic older children is needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Over 3 million children globally are estimated to be living with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). While HIV infection is most commonly spread through unprotected sex with an infected person, most HIV infections among children are the result of mother-to-child HIV transmission during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Mother-to-child transmission can be prevented by administering antiretroviral therapy to mothers with HIV during pregnancy, delivery, and breast feeding, and to their newborn babies. According to a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS published in 2012, 92% of pregnant women with HIV were living in sub-Saharan Africa and just under 60% were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Consequently, sub-Saharan Africa is the region where most children infected with HIV live.
Why Was This Study Done?
If an opportunity to prevent mother-to-child transmission around the time of birth is missed, diagnosis of HIV infection in a child or adolescent is likely to depend on HIV testing in health care facilities. Health care provider–initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) for children is important in areas where HIV infection is common because earlier diagnosis allows children to benefit from care that can prevent the development of advanced HIV disease. Even if a child or adolescent appears to be in good health, access to care and antiretroviral therapy provides a health benefit to the individual over the long term. The administration of HIV testing (and counselling) to children relies not only on health care workers (HCWs) offering HIV testing but also on parents or guardians consenting for a child to be tested. However, more than 30% of children in countries with severe HIV epidemics are AIDS orphans, and economic conditions in these countries cause many adults to migrate for work, leaving children under the care of extended families. This study aimed to investigate the reasons for acceptance and rejection of PITC in primary health care settings in Harare, Zimbabwe. By exploring HCW perspectives on providing HIV testing to children and adolescents, the study also sought to gain insight into factors that could be hindering implementation of testing procedures.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified all children aged 6 to 15 years old at six primary care clinics in Harare, who were offered HIV testing as part of routine care between 22 January and 31 May 2013. Study fieldworkers collected data on numbers of child attendances, numbers offered testing, numbers who underwent HIV testing, and reasons why HIV testing did not occur. During the study 2,831 children attending the health clinics were eligible for PITC, and just over half (1,534, 54.2%) underwent HIV testing. Eighty-two children tested HIV-positive, and nearly all of them received counselling, medication, and follow-up care. HCWs offered the test to around 75% of those eligible. The most frequent explanation given by HCWs for a diagnostic test not being offered was that the child was accompanied by a guardian not appropriate for providing consent (401 occasions, 59%); Other reasons given were a lack of available counsellors or test kits and counsellors refusing to conduct the test. The likelihood of being offered the test was lower for children not exhibiting symptoms (such as persistent skin problems), older children, or those attending with a male or a younger guardian. In addition, over 100 guardians or parents provided consent but left before the child could be tested.
The researchers also conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 clinic nurses and counsellors (two from each clinic) to explore challenges to implementation of PITC. The researchers recorded the factors associated with testing not taking place, either when offered to eligible children or when HCWs declined to offer the test. The interviewees identified the frequent absence or unavailability of parents or legal guardians as an obstacle, and showed uncertainty or misconceptions around whether testing of the guardian was mandatory (versus recommended) and whether specifically a parent (if one was living) must provide consent. The interviews also revealed HCW concerns about the availability of adequate counselling and child services, and fears that a child might experience maltreatment if he or she tested positive. HCWs also noted long waiting times and test kits being out of stock as practical hindrances to testing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Prevalence of HIV was high among the children tested, validating the need for PITC in sub-Saharan health care settings. Although 76% of eligible attendees were offered testing, the authors note that this is likely higher than in routine settings because the researchers were actively recording reasons for not offering testing and counselling, which may have encouraged heath care staff to offer PITC more often than usual. The researchers outline strategies that may improve PITC rates and testing acceptance for Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan settings. These strategies include developing clear laws and guidance concerning guardianship and proxy consent when testing older children for HIV, training HCWs around these policies, strengthening legislation to address discrimination, and increasing public awareness about HIV infection in older children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Davies and Kalk
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS publishes an annual report on the global AIDS epidemic, which provides information on progress towards eliminating new HIV infections
The World Health Organization has more information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The World Health Organization's website also has information about treatment for children living with HIV
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS, including stories from young people infected with HIV, are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649
PMCID: PMC4035250  PMID: 24866209
6.  Prevalence of occupational exposure to blood and body secretions and its related effective factors among health care workers of three Emergency Departments in Tehran 
Background:
Accidental exposure to blood and body secretions is frequent among health care workers (HCWs). They are at risk of acquiring blood-borne diseases. In this study, we have investigated the prevalence and risk factors of occupational exposure among the HCWs of the Emergency Departments (ED) at three teaching hospitals in Tehran.
Materials and Methods:
We conducted this observational, descriptive, cross-sectional study using a self-reporting 25-question survey, related to occupational exposures, in February 2010. It was carried out among 200 HCWs (specialist physicians, residents, medical interns, nurses, laboratory personnel, housekeepers, cleaners, and others), who were working in the EDs of the three teaching hospitals of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences. The age, sex, and job category of the HCWs suffering from the injury were determined, as also the risk factors responsible for the exposure of the HCWs.
Results:
One hundred and fifteen (57.5%) of the 200 HCWs had had at least one episode of blood or body fluid exposure in their professional life. Hollow-bore needles accounted for the highest amount of injuries, with 41.5%, followed by suture needles (18.5%). The most prevalent procedures associated with injuries were suturing (17.5%) and recapping used syringes (16.5%), respectively. All the specialist doctors in this study reported at least one exposure. The percentage of exposure in the other participants of our study was 74.3% for ED residents, 61.1% for laboratory technicians, 51.9% for nurses, and 51% for medical interns. Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that male gender, recapping needles, and job profession were independently associated with exposure to blood or body fluids.
Conclusion:
High prevalence of occupational exposure in this study emphasized the importance of promoting awareness, training, and education for the HCWs, for preventive strategies, and also reporting of occupational exposure to blood and body secretions.
PMCID: PMC3685782  PMID: 23798926
Emergency Department; health care workers; Iran; occupational exposure
7.  Screening for tuberculosis and prediction of disease in Portuguese healthcare workers 
Introduction
Results of systematic screening of healthcare workers (HCWs) for tuberculosis (TB) with the tuberculin skin test (TST) and interferon-γ release assays (IGRA) in a Portuguese hospital from 2007 to 2010 are reported.
Methods
All HCWs are offered screening for TB. Screening is repeated depending on risk assessment. TST and QuantiFERON Gold In-Tube (QFT) are used simultaneously. X-ray is performed when TST is > 10 mm, IGRA is positive or typical symptoms exist.
Results
The cohort comprises 2,889 HCWs. TST and IGRA were positive in 29.5%, TST-positive but IGRA-negative results were apparent in 43.4%. Active TB was diagnosed in twelve HCWs - eight cases were detected during screening and four cases were predicted by IGRA as well as by TST. However, the progression rate in IGRA-positive was higher than in TST-positive HCWs (0.4% vs. 0.2%, p-value 0.06).
Conclusions
The TB burden in this cohort was high (129.8 per 100,000 HCWs). However, the progression to active TB after a positive TST or positive IGRA was considerably lower than that reported in literature for close contacts in low-incidence countries. This may indicate that old LTBI prevails in these HCWs.
doi:10.1186/1745-6673-6-19
PMCID: PMC3132202  PMID: 21658231
8.  Infection control and the burden of tuberculosis infection and disease in health care workers in china: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:313.
Background
Hospitals with inadequate infection control are risky environments for the emergence and transmission of tuberculosis (TB). We evaluated TB infection control practices, and the prevalence of latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease and risk factors in health care workers (HCW) in TB centers in Henan province in China.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2005. To assess TB infection control practices in TB centers, checklists were used. HCW were tuberculin skin tested (TST) to measure LTBI prevalence, and were asked for sputum smears and chest X-rays to detect TB disease, and questionnaires to assess risk factors. Differences between groups for categorical variables were analyzed by binary logistic regression. The clustered design of the study was taken into account by using a multilevel logistic model.
Results
The assessment of infection control practices showed that only in a minority of the centers the patient consultation areas and X-ray areas were separated from the waiting areas and administrative areas. Mechanical ventilation was not available in any of the TB centers. N95 respirators were not available for HCW and surgical masks were not available for TB patients and suspects. The LTBI prevalence of HCW with and without BCG scar was 55.6% (432/777) and 49.0% (674/1376), respectively (P = 0.003). Older HCW, HCW with longer duration of employment, and HCW who worked in departments with increased contact with TB patients had a higher prevalence of LTBI. HCW who work in TB centers at the prefecture level, or with an inpatient ward also had a higher prevalence of LTBI. Twenty cases of pulmonary TB were detected among 3746 HCW. The TB prevalence was 6.7/1000 among medical staff and 2.5/1000 among administrative/logistic staff.
Conclusion
TB infection control in TB centers in Henan, China, appears to be inadequate and the prevalence of LTBI and TB disease among HCW was high. TB infection control practices in TB centers should be strengthened in China, including administrative measures, renovation of buildings, and use of respirators and masks. Regular screening of HCW for TB disease and LTBI needs to be considered, offering preventive therapy to those with TST conversions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-313
PMCID: PMC2988050  PMID: 21029452
9.  Screening for latent tuberculosis in Norwegian health care workers: high frequency of discordant tuberculin skin test positive and interferon-gamma release assay negative results 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:353.
Background
Tuberculosis (TB) presents globally a significant health problem and health care workers (HCW) are at increased risk of contracting TB infection. There is no diagnostic gold standard for latent TB infection (LTBI), but both blood based interferon-gamma release assays (IGRA) and the tuberculin skin test (TST) are used. According to the national guidelines, HCW who have been exposed for TB should be screened and offered preventive anti-TB chemotherapy, but the role of IGRA in HCW screening is still unclear.
Methods
A total of 387 HCW working in clinical and laboratory departments in three major hospitals in the Western region of Norway with possible exposure to TB were included in a cross-sectional study. The HCW were asked for risk factors for TB and tested with TST and the QuantiFERON®TB Gold In-Tube test (QFT). A logistic regression model analyzed the associations between risk factors for TB and positive QFT or TST.
Results
A total of 13 (3.4%) demonstrated a persistent positive QFT, whereas 214 (55.3%) had a positive TST (≥ 6 mm) and 53 (13.7%) a TST ≥ 15 mm. Only ten (4.7%) of the HCW with a positive TST were QFT positive. Origin from a TB-endemic country was the only risk factor associated with a positive QFT (OR 14.13, 95% CI 1.37 - 145.38, p = 0.026), whereas there was no significant association between risk factors for TB and TST ≥ 15 mm. The five HCW with an initial positive QFT that retested negative all had low interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) responses below 0.70 IU/ml when first tested.
Conclusions
We demonstrate a low prevalence of LTBI in HCW working in hospitals with TB patients in our region. The “IGRA-only” seems like a desirable screening strategy despite its limitations in serial testing, due to the high numbers of discordant TST positive/IGRA negative results in HCW, probably caused by BCG vaccination or boosting due to repetitive TST testing. Thus, guidelines for TB screening in HCW should be updated in order to secure accurate diagnosis of LTBI and offer proper treatment and follow-up.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-353
PMCID: PMC3637593  PMID: 23590619
Tuberculosis; Quantiferon; Interferon-gamma release assay; IGRA; Screening; Health care workers; Low-endemic country, Norway
10.  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
11.  Rates of Latent Tuberculosis in Health Care Staff in Russia 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(2):e55.
Background
Russia is one of 22 high burden tuberculosis (TB) countries. Identifying individuals, particularly health care workers (HCWs) with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), and determining the rate of infection, can assist TB control through chemoprophylaxis and improving institutional cross-infection strategies. The objective of the study was to estimate the prevalence and determine the relative risks and risk factors for infection, within a vertically organised TB service in a country with universal bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cross-sectional study to assess the prevalence of and risk factors for LTBI among unexposed students, minimally exposed medical students, primary care health providers, and TB hospital health providers in Samara, Russian Federation. We used a novel in vitro assay (for gamma-interferon [IFN-γ]) release to establish LTBI and a questionnaire to address risk factors. LTBI was seen in 40.8% (107/262) of staff and was significantly higher in doctors and nurses (39.1% [90/230]) than in students (8.7% [32/368]) (relative risk [RR] 4.5; 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.1–6.5) and in TB service versus primary health doctors and nurses: respectively 46.9% (45/96) versus 29.3% (34/116) (RR 1.6; 95% CI 1.1–2.3). There was a gradient of LTBI, proportional to exposure, in medical students, primary health care providers, and TB doctors: respectively, 10.1% (24/238), 25.5% (14/55), and 55% (22/40). LTBI was also high in TB laboratory workers: 11/18 (61.1%).
Conclusions
IFN-γ assays have a useful role in screening HCWs with a high risk of LTBI and who are BCG vaccinated. TB HCWs were at significantly higher risk of having LTBI. Larger cohort studies are needed to evaluate the individual risks of active TB development in positive individuals and the effectiveness of preventive therapy based on IFN-γ test results.
Gamma-interferon assays were used in a cross-sectional study of Russian health care workers and found high rates of latent tuberculosis infection.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a very common and life-threatening infection caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is carried by about a third of the world's population. Many people who are infected do not develop the symptoms of disease; this is called “latent infection.” However, it is important to detect latent infection among people in high-risk communities, in order to prevent infected people from developing active disease, and therefore also reduce the spread of TB within the community. 22 countries account for 80% of the world's active TB, and Russia is one of these. Health care workers are particularly at risk for developing active TB disease in Russia, but the extent of latent infection is not known. In order to design appropriate measures for controlling TB in Russia, it is important to know how common latent infection is among health care workers, as well as other members of the community.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers here had been studying the spread of tuberculosis in Samara City in southeastern Russia, where the rate of TB disease among health care workers was very high; in 2004 the number of TB cases among health care workers on TB wards was over ten times that in the general population. There was also no information available on the rates of latent TB infection among health care workers in Samara City. The researchers therefore wanted to work out what proportion of health care workers in Samara City had latent TB infection, and particularly to compare groups whom they thought would be at different levels of risk (students, clinicians outside of TB wards, clinicians on TB wards, etc.). Finally, the researchers also wanted to use a new test for detecting latent TB infection. The traditional test for detecting TB infection (tuberculin skin test) is not very reliable among people who have received the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination against TB earlier in life, as is the case in Russia. In this study a new test was therefore used, based on measuring the immune response to two proteins produced by M. tuberculosis, which are not present in the BCG vaccine strain.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In this study the researchers tested health care workers from all the TB clinics in Samara City, as well as other clinical staff and students, for latent tuberculosis. In total, 630 people had blood samples taken for testing. A questionnaire was also used to collect information on possible risk factors for TB. As expected, the rate of latent TB infection was highest among clinical staff working in the TB clinics, 47% of whom were infected with M. tuberculosis. This compared to a 10% infection rate among medical students and 29% infection rate among primary care health workers. The differences in infection rate between medical students, primary care health workers, and TB clinic staff were statistically significant and reflected progressively increasing exposure to TB. Among primary care health workers, past exposure to TB was a risk factor for having latent TB infection.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study showed that there was a high rate of latent TB infection among health care workers in Samara City and that infection is increasingly likely among people with either past or present exposure to TB. The results suggest that further research should be carried out to test whether mass screening for latent infection, followed by treatment, will reduce the rate of active TB disease among health care workers and also prevent further spread of TB. There are concerns that widespread treatment of latent infection may not be completely effective due to the relatively high prevalence of drug-resistant TB strains and any new initiatives would therefore need to be carefully evaluated.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040055.
The Stop TB Partnership has been set up to eliminate TB as a public health problem; its site provides data and resources about TB in each of the 22 most-affected countries, including Russia
Tuberculosis minisite from the World Health Organization, providing data on tuberculosis worldwide, details of the Stop TB strategy, as well as fact sheets and current guidelines
The US Centers for Disease Control has a tuberculosis minisite, including a fact sheet on latent TB
Information from the US Centers for Disease Control about the QuantiFERON-TB Gold test, used to test for latent TB infection in this study
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040055
PMCID: PMC1796908  PMID: 17298167
12.  Which preventive measures might protect health care workers from SARS? 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:81.
Background
Despite the use of a series of preventive measures, a high incidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was observed among health care workers (HCWs) during the SARS epidemic. This study aimed to determine which preventive measures may have been effective in protecting HCWs from infection, and which were not effective.
Methods
A retrospective study was performed among 758 'frontline' health care workers who cared for SARS patients at the Second Affiliated Hospital and the Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University. The HCWs with IgG against SARS and those without IgG against SARS were respectively defined as the "case group" and the "control group", and logistic regression was conducted to explore the risk factors for SARS infection in HCWs.
Results
After adjusting for age, gender, marital status, educational level, professional title, and the department in which an individual worked, the results of a multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that incidence of SARS among HCWs was significantly and positively associated with: performing tracheal intubations for SARS patients, methods used for air ventilation in wards, avoiding face-to-face interaction with SARS patients, the number of pairs of gloves worn by HCWs, and caring for serious SARS cases.
Conclusion
Some measures, particularly good air ventilation in SARS wards, may be effective in minimizing or preventing SARS transmission among HCWs in hospitals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-81
PMCID: PMC2666722  PMID: 19284644
13.  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
14.  Incidence of Visits for Health Care Worker Blood or Body Fluid Exposures and HIV Postexposure Prophylaxis Provision at Rhode Island Emergency Departments 
Objectives
To compare the incidence and types of emergency department (ED) visits for blood or body fluid exposures sustained by health care workers (HCWs) in Rhode Island and to identify factors predictive of HIV postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) utilization for these exposures.
Methods
A retrospective study of ED visits for blood or body fluid exposures to all Rhode Island EDs from January 1995 to June 2001 was conducted. Average incidence rates (IRs) of visits by HCW occupation and type of exposure were estimated and compared. Logistic regression models were created to determine which HCWs were more likely to be offered and to accept HIV PEP.
Results
Of 1551 HCW ED visits for occupational exposures, 72.5% sustained a percutaneous injury and only 2.5% were exposed to a source known to be HIV-infected. Hospital custodians had the highest IR of ED visits for percutaneous injuries (81 ED visits per year per 10,000 workers). Visits for all exposures increased over the study years and were most common during March, on weekends, and at 5:00 PM. Of all HCWs, 91.2% presented within 24 hours of their exposure and 98.2% presented within 72 hours. HIV PEP was offered to 469 HCWs and accepted 229 times. HCWs more likely to be offered HIV PEP were exposed to a known HIV-infected source (odds ratio [OR] = 6.38), sustained a significant exposure (OR = 4.98), presented to an academic hospital ED (OR = 2.60), were a member of the medical staff (OR = 2.02), and were exposed during the latter years of the study (OR = 1.23). HCWs were more likely to accept HIV PEP when it was offered if they were male (OR = 1.64) and presented to an academic hospital ED (OR = 2.72).
Conclusions
The IRs of ED visits for exposures varied by occupation, and there were clear temporal trends for these visits. Despite the existence of federal guidelines for HIV PEP for occupational blood or body fluid exposures, factors other than characteristics of the exposure, such as type of hospital, occupation, and gender, may be influencing HIV PEP utilization.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e318160d599
PMCID: PMC3180865  PMID: 18176321
blood-borne pathogens; emergency services; HIV; HIV postexposure prophylaxis; needlestick injuries; occupational exposures
15.  Results of five-year systematic screening for latent tuberculosis infection in healthcare workers in Portugal 
Introduction
The risk of tuberculosis (TB) in healthcare workers (HCWs) is related to its incidence in the general population, and increased by the specific risk as a professional group. The prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in HCWs in Portugal using the tuberculin skin test (TST) and the interferon-γ release assays (IGRA) was analyzed over a five-year period.
Methods
A screening programme for LTBI in HCWs was conducted, with clinical evaluations, TST, IGRA, and chest radiography. Putative risk factors for LTBI were assessed by a standardised questionnaire.
Results
Between September 2005 and June 2009, 5,414 HCWs were screened. The prevalence of LTBI was 55.2% and 25.9% using a TST ≥ 10 mm or an IGRA test result (QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube) INF-γ ≥0.35 IU/mL as a criterion for LTBI, respectively. In 53 HCWs active TB was diagnosed. The number of HCWs with newly detected active TB decreased from 19 in the first year to 6 in 2008. Risk assessment was poorly related to TST diameter. However, physicians (1.7%) and nurses (1.0%) had the highest rates of active TB.
Conclusions
LTBI and TB burden among HCWs in Portugal is high. The screening of these professionals to identify HCWs with LTBI is essential in order to offer preventive chemotherapy to those with a high risk of future progression to disease. Systematic screening had a positive impact on the rate of active TB in HCWs either by early case detection or by increasing the awareness of HCWs and therefore the precautions taken by them.
doi:10.1186/1745-6673-5-22
PMCID: PMC2921383  PMID: 20659314
16.  Men who have sex with men sensitivity training reduces homoprejudice and increases knowledge among Kenyan healthcare providers in coastal Kenya 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2013;16(4Suppl 3):18748.
Introduction
Healthcare workers (HCWs) in Africa typically receive little or no training in the healthcare needs of men who have sex with men (MSM), limiting the effectiveness and reach of population-based HIV control measures among this group. We assessed the effect of a web-based, self-directed sensitivity training on MSM for HCWs (www.marps-africa.org), combined with facilitated group discussions on knowledge and homophobic attitudes among HCWs in four districts of coastal Kenya.
Methods
We trained four district “AIDS coordinators” to provide a two-day training to local HCWs working at antiretroviral therapy-providing facilities in coastal Kenya. Self-directed learning supported by group discussions focused on MSM sexual risk practices, HIV prevention and healthcare needs. Knowledge was assessed prior to training, immediately after training and three months after training. The Homophobia Scale assessed homophobic attitudes and was measured before and three months after training.
Results
Seventy-four HCWs (68% female; 74% clinical officers or nurses; 84% working in government facilities) from 49 health facilities were trained, of whom 71 (96%) completed all measures. At baseline, few HCWs reported any prior training on MSM anal sexual practices, and most HCWs had limited knowledge of MSM sexual health needs. Homophobic attitudes were most pronounced among HCWs who were male, under 30 years of age, and working in clinical roles or government facilities. Three months after training, more HCWs had adequate knowledge compared to baseline (49% vs. 13%, McNemar's test p<0.001); this was most pronounced in those with clinical or administrative roles and in those from governmental health providers. Compared to baseline, homophobic attitudes had decreased significantly three months after training, particularly among HCWs with high homophobia scores at baseline, and there was some evidence of correlation between improvements in knowledge and reduction in homophobic sentiment.
Conclusions
Scaling up MSM sensitivity training for African HCWs is likely to be a timely, effective and practical means to improve relevant sexual health knowledge and reduce personal homophobic sentiment among HCWs involved in HIV prevention, testing and care in sub-Saharan Africa.
doi:10.7448/IAS.16.4.18748
PMCID: PMC3852129  PMID: 24321111
sensitivity training; MSM behaviour; Homophobia Scale; homoprejudice; healthcare workers; Kenya
17.  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
18.  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
19.  Did the pandemic have an impact on influenza vaccination attitude? a survey among health care workers 
Background
Health care workers' (HCWs) influenza vaccination attitude is known to be negative. The H1N1 epidemic had started in mid 2009 and made a peak in October-November in Turkey. A national vaccination campaign began on November 2nd, 2009. Despite the diligent efforts of the Ministry of Health and NGOs, the attitudes of the media and politicians were mostly negative. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether HCWs' vaccination attitudes improved during the pandemic and to assess the related factors.
Methods
This cross-sectional survey was carried out at the largest university hospital of the Aegean Region-Turkey. A self-administered questionnaire with 12 structured questions was applied to 807 HCWs (sample coverage 91.3%) before the onset of the vaccination programme. Their final vaccination status was tracked one week afterwards, using immunization records. Factors influencing vaccination rates were analyzed using ANOVA, t-test, chi-square test and logistic regression.
Results
Among 807 participants, 363 (45.3%) were doctors and 293 (36.6%) nurses. A total of 153 (19.0%) had been vaccinated against seasonal influenza in the 2008-2009 season. Regarding H1N1 vaccination, 143 (17.7%) were willing to be vaccinated vs. 357 (44.2%) unwilling. The number of indecisive HCWs was 307 (38.0%) one week prior to vaccination. Only 53 (11.1%) stated that they would vaccinate their children. Possible side effects (78%, n = 519) and lack of comprehensive field evaluation before marketing (77%, n = 508) were the most common reasons underlying unwillingness or hesitation.
Among the 749 staff whose vaccination status could be tracked, 228 (30.4%) actually received the H1N1 vaccine. Some of the 'decided' staff members had changed their mind one week later. Only 82 (60%) of those willing, 108 (37%) of those indecisive and 38 (12%) of those unwilling were vaccinated.
Indecisive HCWs were significantly younger (p = 0.017). Females, nurses, and HCWs working in surgical departments were more likely to reject vaccination (p < 0.05). Doctors, HCWs working in medical departments, and HCWs previously vaccinated against seasonal influenza were more likely to accept vaccination (p < 0.05). Being younger than 50 and having been vaccinated in the previous season were important predictors of attitude towards pandemic influenza vaccination.
Conclusions
Vaccination rates increased substantially in comparison to the previous influenza season. However, vaccination rates could have been even higher since hesitation to be vaccinated increased dramatically within one week (only 60% of those willing and the minority of those indecisive were finally vaccinated). We speculate that this may be connected with negative media at the time.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-87
PMCID: PMC3084177  PMID: 21473763
20.  Stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS by healthcare workers at a tertiary hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a cross-sectional descriptive study 
BMC Medical Ethics  2013;14(Suppl 1):S6.
Background
The issue of stigma is very important in the battle against HIV/AIDS in Africa since it may affect patient attendance at healthcare centres for obtaining antiretroviral (ARV) medications and regular medical check-ups. Stigmatization creates an unnecessary culture of secrecy and silence based on ignorance and fear of victimization. This study was designed to determine if there is external stigmatization of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) by health care workers (HCWs) at a tertiary hospital in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, South Africa. The study investigated the impact of knowledge of HIV/AIDS by HCWs on treatment of patients, as well as the comfort level and attitude of HCWs when rendering care to PLWHA.
Methods
A descriptive cross sectional study was designed to collect data using an anonymous self-administered structured questionnaire from 334 HCWs. The study was conducted in clinical departments of a large multidisciplinary 922-bed tertiary care teaching hospital in Durban, KZN.
Results
Overall HCWs had an above average knowledge about HIV/AIDS although some gaps in knowledge were identified. Tests of statistical significance showed that there was association between level of education and knowledge of HIV/AIDs (p ≤ 0.001); occupation and knowledge of HIV/AIDS (p ≤ 0.001); and gender and knowledge of HIV/AIDS (p = 0.004). Test for comfort level was only significant for gender, with males showing more comfort and empathy when dealing with PLWHA (p = 0.003). The study also revealed that patients were sometimes tested for HIV without informed consent before surgery, due to fear of being infected, and there was some gossiping about patients' HIV status by HCWs, thereby compromising patient confidentiality. The majority of HCWs showed a willingness to report incidents of stigmatization and discrimination to higher authorities, for better monitoring and control.
Conclusions
Although knowledge, attitude and comfort level of HCWs taking care of PLWHA was above average, enforcement of existing antidiscrimination laws and continuing education in medical ethics and healthcare law, would greatly improve the performance of HCWs taking care of PLWHAs. More psychological support and counselling should be provided to HCWs, to further reduce the impact of stigmatization and discrimination against PLWHA.
doi:10.1186/1472-6939-14-S1-S6
PMCID: PMC3878339  PMID: 24564982
HIV/AIDS; Africa; Attitude; Comfort; Discrimination; Healthcare workers; PLWHA; Stigmatization
21.  Prevalence of measles antibodies among health care workers in Catalonia (Spain) in the elimination era 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:391.
Background
Interruption of measles transmission was achieved in Catalonia (Spain) in 2000. Six years later, a measles outbreak occurred between August 2006 and June 2007 with 381 cases, 11 of whom were health care workers (HCW).
The objective was to estimate susceptibility to measles in HCW and related demographic and occupational characteristics.
Methods
A measles seroprevalence study was carried out in 639 HCW from six public tertiary hospitals and five primary healthcare areas. Antibodies were tested using the Vircell Measles ELISA IgG Kit. Data were analyzed according to age, sex, type of HCW, type of centre and vaccination history.
The odds ratios (OR) and their 95% CI were calculated to determine the variables associated with antibody prevalence. OR were adjusted using logistic regression.
Positive predictive values (PPV) and the 95% confidence intervals (CI) of having two documented doses of a measles containing vaccine (MCV) for the presence of measles antibodies and of reporting a history of measles infection were calculated.
Results
The prevalence of measles antibodies in HCW was 98% (95% CI 96.6-98.9), and was lower in HCW born in 1981 or later, after the introduction of systematic paediatric vaccination (94.4%; 95% CI 86.4-98.5) and higher in HCW born between 1965 and 1980 (99.0%; 95% CI 97.0-99.8). Significant differences were found for HCW born in 1965–1980 with respect to those born in 1981 and after (adjusted OR of 5.67; 95% CI: 1.24-25.91).
A total of 187 HCW reported being vaccinated: the proportion of vaccinated HCW decreased with age. Of HCW who reported being vaccinated, vaccination was confirmed by the vaccination card in 49%. Vaccination with 2 doses was documented in only 50 HCW, of whom 48 had measles antibodies. 311 HCW reported a history of measles.
The PPV of having received two documented doses of MCV was 96% (95% CI 86.3-99.5) and the PPV of reporting a history of measles was 98.7% (95% CI 96.7-99.6).
Conclusions
Screening to detect HCW who lack presumptive evidence of immunity and vaccination with two doses of vaccine should be reinforced, especially in young workers, to minimize the risk of contracting measles and infecting the susceptible patients they care for.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-391
PMCID: PMC3765384  PMID: 23978316
Measles; Seroprevalence; Health care workers; MCV vaccination
22.  High risk for occupational exposure to HIV and utilization of post-exposure prophylaxis in a teaching hospital in Pune, India 
Background
The risk for occupational exposure to HIV has been well characterized in the developed world, but limited information is available about this transmission risk in resource-constrained settings facing the largest burden of HIV infection. In addition, the feasibility and utilization of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) programs in these settings are unclear. Therefore, we examined the rate and characteristics of occupational exposure to HIV and the utilization of PEP among health care workers (HCW) in a large, urban government teaching hospital in Pune, India.
Methods
Demographic and clinical data on occupational exposures and their management were prospectively collected from January 2003–December 2005. US Centers for Diseases Control guidelines were utilized to define risk exposures, for which PEP was recommended. Incidence rates of reported exposures and trends in PEP utilization were examined using logistic regression.
Results
Of 1955 HCW, 557 exposures were reported by 484 HCW with an incidence of 9.5 exposures per 100 person-years (PY). Housestaff, particularly interns, reported the greatest number of exposures with an annual incidence of 47.0 per 100 PY. Personal protective equipment (PPE) was used in only 55.1% of these exposures. The incidence of high-risk exposures was 6.8/100 PY (n = 339); 49.1% occurred during a procedure or disposing of equipment and 265 (80.0%) received a stat dose of PEP. After excluding cases in which the source tested HIV negative, 48.4% of high-risk cases began an extended PEP regimen, of whom only 49.5% completed it. There were no HIV or Hepatitis B seroconversions identified. Extended PEP was continued unnecessarily in 7 (35%) of 20 cases who were confirmed to be HIV-negative. Over time, there was a significant reduction in proportion of percutaneous exposures and high-risk exposures (p < 0.01) and an increase in PEP utilization for high risk exposures (44% in 2003 to 100% in 2005, p = 0.002).
Conclusion
Housestaff are a vulnerable population at high risk for bloodborne exposures in teaching hospital settings in India. With implementation of a hospital-wide PEP program, there was an encouraging decrease of high-risk exposures over time and appropriate use of PEP. However, overall use of PPE was low, suggesting further measures are needed to prevent occupational exposures in India.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-8-142
PMCID: PMC2588594  PMID: 18939992
23.  Demographic differences between health care workers who did or did not respond to a safety and organizational culture survey 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:328.
Background
Areas for institutional improvement to enhance patient safety are commonly identified by surveying health care workers' (HCWs) attitudes, values, beliefs, perceptions and assumptions regarding institutional practices. An ideal response rate of 100% is rarely achieved in such surveys, and non-response bias can occur when non-respondents differ from respondents on a dimension likely to influence survey conclusions. The conditions for non-response bias to occur can be detected by comparing demographic characteristics of respondents and non-respondents and relating any differences to findings in the literature of differences in the construct of interest as a function of these demographic characteristics. The current study takes this approach.
Findings
All 5,609 HCWs at a university medical center were invited to participate in a survey measuring safety and organizational culture (response rate = 53.40%). Respondents indicated their professional group, gender, age group, years of working in the hospital and executive function. Because all HCWs were invited, the demographic composition of the group who did not respond was known. Differences in the demographic composition of respondents and non-respondents were compared using separate Pearson's chi-square tests for each demographic characteristic.
Nurses and clinical workers were generally more likely to respond than were physicians, laboratory workers and non-medical workers. Male HCWs were less likely to respond than were females, HCWs aged younger than 45 years old had a lower response rate than did HCWs aged 45 to 54 years old, HCWs who had worked in the hospital for less than 5 years were less likely to respond than were those who had worked in the hospital for 5 years or more and HCWs without an executive function were less likely to respond than were executives.
Conclusions
Demographic characteristics can be linked to response rates and need to be considered in conducting surveys among HCWs. The possibility of non-response bias can be reduced by conducting analyses separately as a function of relevant demographic characteristics, sampling a higher percentage of groups that are known to be less likely to respond, or weighting responses with the reciprocal of the response rate for the respective demographic group.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-328
PMCID: PMC3180706  PMID: 21899771
24.  Prevalence of HBV and HBV vaccination coverage in health care workers of tertiary hospitals of Peshawar, Pakistan 
Virology Journal  2011;8:275.
Background
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) may progress to serious consequences and increase dramatically beyond endemic dimensions that transmits to or from health care workers (HCWs) during routine investigation in their work places. Basic aim of this study was to canvass the safety of HCWs and determine the prevalence of HBV and its possible association with occupational and non-occupational risk factors. Hepatitis B vaccination coverage level and main barriers to vaccination were also taken in account.
Results
A total of 824 health care workers were randomly selected from three major hospitals of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Blood samples were analyzed in Department of Zoology, Kohat University of Science and Technology Kohat, and relevant information was obtained by means of preset questionnaire. HCWs in the studied hospitals showed 2.18% prevalence of positive HBV. Nurses and technicians were more prone to occupational exposure and to HBV infection. There was significant difference between vaccinated and non-vaccinated HCWs as well as between the doctors and all other categories. Barriers to complete vaccination, in spite of good knowledge of subjects in this regard were work pressure (39.8%), negligence (38.8%) un-affordability (20.9%), and unavailability (0.5%).
Conclusions
Special preventive measures (universal precaution and vaccination), which are fundamental way to protect HCW against HBV infection should be adopted.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-275
PMCID: PMC3121707  PMID: 21645287
25.  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

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