Occupational Exposure to Blood and Body Fluids Among Health Care Workers in a General Hospital, China

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ObjectivesTo understand current status of occupational exposure to blood and body fluids (BBF), and awareness of knowledge about occupational bloodborne pathogen exposures and universal precaution among hospital-based health care workers (HCWs).MethodsA cross-sectional study was conducted during April to May 2004 to study incidence of occupational exposure to BBF among 1,144 hospital-based HCWs.ResultsThe total incidence and the average number of episodes exposure to BBF was 66.3/100 HCWs per year and 7.5 per person per year in the past year, respectively. The incidence (per 100/HCWs per year) and the average number of episodes (per HCW per year) of percutaneous injury (PCI), mucous-membrane exposure (MME), and exposure to BBF by damaged skin was 50.3 and 1.8; 34.4 and 1.7; and 37.9 and 4.0, respectively. The leading incidence and the average number of episodes of PCI occurred in delivery room (82.6 and 1.8). The highest percentage of PCI's that occurred during the previous 2 weeks occurred during a surgical operation (22.8%). Of all sharp instruments, the suture needle contributed the highest percentage of PCI's (24.7%) among HCWs in the last 2 weeks. Over two-thirds (68.3%) of respondents were immunized with Hepatitis B vaccine; less than one-half (47%) of HCWs wore gloves while doing procedures on patients. The respondents demonstrated a lack of knowledge regarding transmission of bloodborne diseases and universal precautions.ConclusionsRisk for potential exposure to BBF appears high in HCWs, and almost all of episodes are not reported. It is urgent to establish the Guideline for Prevention and Control of Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens among HCWs.

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