Risk of Transmission of Viral Disease by Needle Puncture in Health Care Workers
Yosef Mishal, Chaim Yosefy, Emil Hay, Dalia Catz, Elisia Ambon, Roza Schneider
Infectious Disease Unit, Emergency Dept. and Microbiology Lab, Barzilai Medical Center, Ashkelon (Affiliated with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
The accidental exposure of the health care workers (HCW) to blood and blood products constitutes a danger for transmission of blood-borne pathogens and the development of severe diseases. Most attention is focused on exposure to the viruses of hepatitis B, C and human immunodeficiency. The objectives of this prospective study were to determine the rate of exposure of our HCW to blood and blood products; to define the high risk groups; and to establish recommendations to prevent transmission or reduce the risk of exposure to these viruses.
During the year 1996, 103 injuries from needle-puncture or other sharp objects were reported to our infectious diseases control unit. Most of those injured were women. 58.4% of the events occurred in the vicinity of the patient. The source of exposure was known in 60% of the cases. 73.8% of those injured had already been immunized against hepatitis B. The departments in which most exposures occurred were the operating theater (12.5%), medical departments A (10.6%) and B (9.6%), and the emergency department (7.7%). Nurses were at highest risk, constituting 47% of those injured.
Our recommendations are that a continuous teaching program be established for the high risk groups; that HCW be urged to report every event of exposure; and to encourage HCW to undergo active immunization against hepatitis B.