Occupational exposure to blood and risk of bloodborne virus infection among health care workers in rural north Indian health care settings
AuthorKermode, M; Jolley, D; Langkham, B; Thomas, MS; Crofts, N
Source TitleAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Nossal Institute for Global Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsKermode, M., Jolley, D., Langkham, B., Thomas, M. S. & Crofts, N. (2005). Occupational exposure to blood and risk of bloodborne virus infection among health care workers in rural north Indian health care settings. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INFECTION CONTROL, 33 (1), pp.34-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2004.07.015.
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C1 - Journal Articles Refereed
BACKGROUND: Approximately 3 million health care workers (HCWs) experience percutaneous exposure to bloodborne viruses (BBVs) each year. This results in an estimated 16,000 hepatitis C, 66,000 hepatitis B, and 200 to 5000 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections annually. More than 90% of these infections are occurring in low-income countries, and most are preventable. Several studies report the risks of occupational BBV infection for HCWs in high-income countries where a range of preventive interventions have been implemented. In contrast, the situation for HCWs in low-income countries is not well documented, and their health and safety remains a neglected issue. OBJECTIVE: To describe the extent of occupational exposure to blood and the risk of BBV infection among a group of HCWs in rural north India. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of HCWs from 7 rural health settings gathered data pertaining to occupational exposure to blood and a range of other relevant variables (eg, demographic information, compliance with Universal Precautions, perception of risk, knowledge of BBVs). A mass action model was used to estimate the risk of occupational BBV infection for these HCWs over a 10-year period. RESULTS: A total of 266 HCWs returned questionnaires (response rate, 87%). Sixty-three percent reported at least 1 percutaneous injury (PI) in the last year (mean no. = 2.3) and 73% over their working lifetime (mean no. = 4.2). Predictors of PI during the last year were hospital site, job category, perception of risk, and compliance with Universal Precautions. CONCLUSION: The high level of occupational exposure to blood found among this group of rural north Indian HCWs highlights the urgent need for interventions to enhance their occupational safety to prevent unnecessary nosocomial transmission of BBVs.
KeywordsEnvironmental and Occupational Health and Safety; Occupational Health (excl. Economic Development Aspects)
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