Needlestick injuries in a tertiary care centre in Mumbai, India

A Mehta, C Rodrigues, S Ghag, P Bavi, S Shenai, F Dastur
Journal of Hospital Infection 2005, 60 (4): 368-73
Accidental exposure from blood/body fluid of patients is a risk to healthcare workers (HCWs). Percutaneous injury is the most common method of exposure to blood-borne pathogens. A policy was formulated at our institute, a tertiary care centre in central Mumbai, and we report a six-year (1998--2003) ongoing surveillance of needlestick injuries. Of the 380 HCWs who reported needlestick injuries, 45% were nurses, 33% were attendants, 11% were doctors and 11% were technicians. On source analysis, 23, 15 and 12 were positive for Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), respectively. Immediate action following potential exposure included washing the wound with soap and water, encouraging bleeding and reporting the incident to the emergency room. Analysis of the source of injuries revealed that known sources accounted for 254 injuries, and unknown sources from garbage bags and Operating Theatre instruments accounted for 126 injuries. Most needlestick injuries occurred during intravenous line insertion (N=112), followed by blood collection (N=69), surgical blade injury (N=36) and recapping needles (N=36). Immediate postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) for HCWs who sustained injuries with hepatitis-B-virus-positive patients included booster hepatitis B immunization for those positive for antiHBs. A full course of immunization with hepatitis B immunoglobulin was given to those who were antiHBs negative. All staff who sustained injury with HIV were given immediate antiretroviral therapy (AZT 600 mg/day) for six weeks. Subsequent six-month follow-up showed zero seroconversion.

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