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Sharps injuries continue to pose risk to HCWs

Kate Woodhead RGN DMS warns that healthcare workers (HCWs) are still being put at occupational risk from sharps injuries. She discusses best practice and the importance of training

One of the most common and potentially harmful risks to healthcare workers is an infection resulting from a sharp or needlestick injury. Data are difficult to obtain since many of the serious reports also cite severe underreporting. However, the general consensus is that of the three million healthcare worker (HCW) exposures to blood pathogens through percutaneous injury, two million were exposed to hepatitis B virus (HBV), 0.9 million were exposed to hepatitis C virus (HCV) and 170,000 were exposed to HIV, of which more than 90% occurred in developing countries.1

It is repeatedly emphasised too that it is not just the three viruses to which HCWs are exposed but a cornucopia of at least twenty different pathogens, which can be transmitted via needlestick injury (NSI). 

A systematic review of the global prevalence identified that the incidence of NSIs is 43% of 525,798 HCWs, with the highest rate of injuries in Africa. Women were more frequently affected by NSIs than men. Hepatitis C was the disease most commonly transmitted via NSIs, at 21%. 

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Upcoming Events

Arab Health 2023

Dubai World Trade Centre
30th January - 2nd February 2023

Central Sterilising Club Annual Scientific Meeting

Crowne Plaza, Newcastle Upon Tyne
3rd - 4th April 2023

DECON UK 2023

Hilton Birmingham Metropole
18th April 2023

Infection Prevention and Control 2023

National Conference Centre, Birmingham
25th - 26th April 2023

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

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