Epidemiology of occupational needlestick injuries

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“The aim of this study was to examine the epidemiology of occupational accidents and self-reported attitude of health-care workers (HCWs) in Serbia” Markovic-Denic et al (2014).

Reference:

Markovic-Denic, L., Maksimovic, N., Marusic, V., Vucicevic, J., Ostric, I. and Djuric, D. (2014) Occupational Exposure to Blood and Body Fluids among Health-Care Workers in Serbia. Medical Principles and Practice. 1st November. [epub ahead of print].

Abstract:

Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the epidemiology of occupational accidents and self-reported attitude of health-care workers (HCWs) in Serbia.

Subjects and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among HCWs in selected departments of five tertiary care hospitals and in one secondary care hospital in February 2012. A previously developed self-administered questionnaire was provided to HCWs who had direct daily contact with patients. χ2 test and Student’s t test were used for statistical analysis of the data.

Results: Of the 1,441 potential participants, 983 (68.2%) completed the questionnaire: 655 (66.7%) were nurses/medical technicians, 243 (24.7%) were physicians and 85 (8.6%) were other personnel. Of the 983 participants, 291 (29.6%) HCWs had had at least one accident during the previous year and 106 (40.2%) of them reported it to the responsible person. The highest prevalence (68.6%) of accidents was among nurses/technicians (p = 0.001). Accidents occurred more often in large clinical centers (81.1%; p < 0.001) and in the clinical ward, intensive care unit and operating theater (p = 0.003) than in other departments. Seventy-six (13.1%) nurses/medical technicians had an accident during needle recapping (p < 0.001). Of all the HCWs, 550 (55.9%) were fully vaccinated, including significantly more doctors (154, 63.4%) than participants from other job categories (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: There was a relatively high rate of accidents among HCWs in our hospitals, most commonly amongst nurses and staff working in clinical wards, intensive care units and operating theaters. The most common types of accidents were needlestick injuries and accidents due to improper handling of contaminated sharp devices or occuring while cleaning instruments or by coming into contact with blood through damaged skin or through the conjunctiva/mucous membranes.

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