Why it took so long for the world to start using ‘smart,’ self-destructing syringes

The World Health Organization called Monday for the worldwide use of needle syringes that self-destruct after a single injection.

These "smart" syringes are a response to a problem that medical authorities have recognized for decades -- the frequent reuse of disposable shots. An estimated 25 percent of the 18 billion medical injections performed worldwide each year are done with dirty needles. Unsafe injections cause as many as 1.7 million new hepatitis B infections annually, 315,000 hepatitis C infections and 33,800 HIV infections, according to the World Health Organization. Stopping these infections would be a boon for public health.

“This is a risk we don’t have to be taking,” the WHO's Lisa Hedman said.

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