Intravenous literature: Jacob A., Newson-Smith, M., Murphy, E., Steiner, M. and Dick, F. (2010) Sharps injuries among health care workers in the United Arab Emirates. Occupational Medicine (Oxford). 60(5), p.395-7.
BACKGROUND: World Health Organization estimates suggest that 1 in 10 health care workers (HCWs) worldwide sustain a needlestick injury each year. Although risk factors for sharps injuries among HCWs are now well established for highly developed nations the picture in developing countries is less clear.
AIMS: To explore the frequency of sharps injuries and to identify risk factors for these injuries among HCWs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
METHODS: An anonymized questionnaire was developed using Snap(R) Survey software and distributed to all 1420 HCWs in two private health care organizations in the UAE. Information sought included sharps injuries suffered in the calendar year 2006, risk factors for the most recent injury, use of universal precautions, injury reporting, hepatitis B immunization and workers’ knowledge regarding post-exposure prophylaxis.
RESULTS: The overall response rate to this questionnaire was 71% and 994 questionnaires were available for analysis; 19% (n = 190) of the respondents had sustained a sharps injury in the calendar year 2006 and 53% (n = 101) of these sharps injuries were from blood contaminated sharps. Compliance with standard precautions significantly reduced the risk of suffering a sharps injury (OR 0.55, 95% CI: 0.3-0.9, P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Sharps injuries occurred frequently in this group of HCWs but were rarely reported. Poor compliance with universal precautions was a risk factor for sharps injuries, almost doubling the risk. There was limited uptake of hepatitis B immunization. Individual, organizational and legislative barriers to reducing this burden are highlighted.