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Maria Gańczak, Andrzej Bohatyrewicz, Marcin Korzeń and Beata Karakiewicz

The Comparison of Sharps Injuries Reported by Doctors Versus Nurses from Surgical Wards in the Context of the Prevalence of HBV, HCV and HIV Infections

The aim of the study was to evaluate the nature and frequency of sharps injuries among doctors and nurses from the same surgical/gynecological wards and the prevalence of HBV/HCV/HIV infection.

Material and methods. An anonymous cross-sectional sero-survey, with ELISA system used to detect anti-HBc, anti-HCV, anti-HIV, was conducted among 89 doctors and 414 nurses from 16 randomly selected hospitals in West Pomerania, Poland, between January-June 2009.

Results. During the preceding 12 months, 82% doctors and 44.4% nurses (p<0.0001) had sustained at least one sharps injury; 12.3% doctors vs 2.2% nurses (p<0.003) sustained more than 10 injuries. The multivariable regression model revealed that being a doctor was associated with a greater odds (OR 4.2) of being injured with sharps. Sixty nine percent of nurses sustained a hollow-bore needle injury vs 8.9% doctors; p<0.001. Anti-HBc were found in 16.4% of doctors and 11.2% of nurses, p>0.28; anti-HCV - in 1.1% of doctors vs 1.4% of nurses, p>0.79; no anti-HIV positive cases were found. The analysis of potential risk factors for contracting a HBV revealed that for both job categories only length of employment was associated with an increased odds of being infected.

Conclusions. Although the prevalence of HBV/HCV infection between doctors and nurses does not differ significantly, modifiable risk factors for contracting a BBI such as frequency and nature of sharps injuries may differ, which call for tailoring preventive measures to specific job categories. Long lasting exposure to injury events should be taken into consideration while assessing the risk for accuiring an occupational infection with HBV, HCV or HIV.