Sharps injuries: Global burden of disease from sharps injuries to health-care workers
Environmental Burden of Disease Series, No. 3
The risk of infection of health-care workers from contaminated sharps should be considered part of a larger risk-factor group called “unsafe injections” (Hutin & Chen, 1999). Unsafe injections include those that lead toinfections in injection recipients (Hauri et al., 2003), or in providers before, during or after injections, as well as injections by contaminated sharps that have been improperly disposed of in the community and that lead to infection. Although the impact of unsafe injections is far greater among recipients, the bloodborne pathogens introduced by contaminated needle-sticks nevertheless cause a high burden of death and disability among health-care workers.
Occupational percutaneous exposures to bloodborne pathogens can be prevented by strategies that include: immunization against HBV; procedures to prevent percutaneous injuries; and postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent the development of disease. But in many countries, it has not been possible to implement such strategies because no supporting estimates of the disease burden associated with occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens have been available.