The extent of injection site infection in injecting drug users: findings from a national surveillance study

V D Hope, A Marongiu, J V Parry, F Ncube
Epidemiology and Infection 2010, 138 (10): 1510-8
Injection site infections in injecting drug users (IDUs) are associated with serious morbidity and healthcare costs. Factors associated with symptoms of these were examined through annual (2006-2008) unlinked-anonymous survey of IDUs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Overall 36% (1863/5209) self-reported having a symptom with no trend over time (35% 2006, 37% 2007, 34% 2008). Symptoms were less common in the North East of England; increased with years injecting; and were higher in women, those recently homeless, those recently using a needle exchange, and those injecting both opiates and stimulants. Of those injecting during the previous 4 weeks (n=3733) symptoms were associated with: injecting daily; injecting >or=10 times a day; injecting into hands, groin, or legs; sharing filters; and reusing water to flush syringes. Symptoms of injection site infections are common in IDUs. Better-targeted preventive interventions are needed, and continued surveillance should assist with assessing the impact of new initiatives.


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