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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Infection Risk From Conducted Electrical Weapon Probes: What Do We Know?

Mark W Kroll, Mollie B Ritter, Richard A Guilbault, Dorin Panescu
Journal of Forensic Sciences 2016, 61 (6): 1556-1562
27429421
Concern has been raised over the infection risk of the TASER electrical weapon since the probes penetrate the skin. The manufacturing process produces unsterilized probes with a 5% rate of Staphylococcus aureus contamination. Voluntary recipients (n = 208) of probe exposures were surveyed and there were no self-observations of infection. With over 3.3 million probe landings, there have been 10 case reports of penetrations of sensitive tissue with no reported infections. The electrical field was modeled and found that the electrical pulses generate a field of over 1200 V/mm on the dart portion. This is sufficient to sterilize the dart via electroporation. Electrical weapon probes appear to have a very low (possibly zero) rate of infection. The factors leading to this low infection rate appear to be a manufacturing process producing a low rate of bacterial contamination and the pulses sterilizing the dart via electroporation.

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