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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 138-143

Awareness of blood-borne infections and burden of occupational exposures to blood and body fluids among health care personnel in a tertiary care teaching hospital


1 Department of General Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Dhanvantrinagar, Puducherry - 605 006, India
2 Department of Biostatistics, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Dhanvantrinagar, Puducherry - 605 006, India

Correspondence Address:
K V Vinod
Department of General Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Dhanvantrinagar, Puducherry - 605 006
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5278.203140

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Background and Objectives: Occupational exposures (OEs) to blood and body fluids (BBFs) pose significant risk of transmission of blood-borne infections (BBIs) to health care personnel (HCP) and are grossly underreported. We aimed to study the awareness of BBIs and their prevention, burden of OEs, assess factors contributing to them and their poor reporting and assess the practices for their prevention among HCP. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study conducted at a tertiary care teaching hospital located in south India used a self-administered questionnaire to assess the awareness of BBIs, attitude and practice of HCP for prevention of OEs, and to quantify the burden of exposures. All formally self-reported OEs during the study period of 2 years were documented prospectively. Results: Majority (369/401, 92%) of HCP surveyed had fair general awareness of BBIs. Though 90% were aware of the concept of universal precautions (UPs), self-reported adherence to barrier precautions was acceptable in only 80%. Overall, 56% and 46% of HCP were aware of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) respectively. Eighteen percent (74/401) were either not vaccinated or incompletely vaccinated against hepatitis B. Recapping of used needles was reported by 79% (317/401). Nearly half (208/401) reported OEs over preceding year and 70% (146/208) of exposed had not formally reported them. Over the 2-year study period, 53 formally self-reported exposures were documented prospectively. Needle stick injuries accounted for 83% of the exposures, and appropriate personal protective devices were not being used during 47% of exposures. Though doctors had the highest awareness, they reported lowest adherence to barrier precautions and highest burden of exposures (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Though majority of HCP had fair awareness of BBIs, it did not translate into adequate adherence to UPs and safe practices. High burden of OEs and their poor reporting emphasize the need to motivate our HCP to adhere to safe work practices and to promptly seek professional counselling after exposures. There is an urgent need to educate HCP about the availability and effectiveness of PEP for HIV and hepatitis B. A uniform national policy for prevention and reporting of OEs has to be framed.






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