UK: Risk of blood-borne viruses from sharps injuries continues, report claims

Healthcare workers continue to be at risk of exposure to blood-borne viruses through occupational sharps injuries, with reported cases increasing, Public Health England (PHE) has warned in a damning report.

This is despite awareness of the risk of sharps injuries, safe practices being much more widespread, and the fact safety-engineered devices to prevent such injuries are now widely available, it has added.

In its latest report on exposures to a blood-borne virus (BBV), PHE said cases reported had increased among healthcare workers from 373 in 2004 to 496 in 2013.

The updated Eye of the Needle report, which was first published in 2012, found that, over this 10-year period, approximately 30% of exposures involved a source patient infected with HIV; 54% involved hepatitis C (HCV) and 9% hepatitis B (HBV).


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