Injuries to health-care workers from needle stick and other sharps carry significant risks of transmitting blood borne pathogens such as HBV, HCV and HIV, with serious consequences. The aim was to determine the incidence and assess the context of Exposure Incidents (EI) among residents and nurses at Suez Canal University hospital.Methods
A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 217 residents who were less than 3 years of work/training experience. The questionnaire included details of exposure incidents of high risk and low risk exposures. ‘high risk’ exposure includes; a penetrating injury caused by a needle or other sharp object, and causing visible bleeding. ‘low risk’ as (a) a slight, superficial abrasion caused by a needle or other sharp object without obvious bleeding or (b) an existing skin wound coming into direct contact with blood or other body fluids. Also, activities/procedures leading to exposure incidents, and preventive measures used were recoded. All participants had informed consent.Results
One hundred seventy one (78.8% of the participants) responded to the questionnaire, 117 workers (68.4.8%) reported to have (EI) (either one or more), and two hundred and thirty seven (EI) were recorded over 12 months with corresponding incidence of 0.68 and 2.1 (EIs) per worker/year. Seventy seven of exposure incidents (32.4%) were considered ‘high risk’, while 67.6% were ‘low risk’. Injection needles were the most common device (53.7% of exposure episodes) causing (EI) followed by suture needles (37.8%). Phlebotomy/injection and suturing were the most common procedures of exposure episodes (44.7% and 39.1%, respectively). Workers always recap needles/IV-catheters (47.1%) after use, and only (7.9%) always uses PPE during procedures.Conclusion
Sharp device injuries are common among physicians in their early years of work/training, and are often not reported or lack a reporting system. Improved prevention/safety practices and reporting strategies are needed.