Percutaneous Injury, Blood Exposure, and Adherence to Standard Precautions: Are Hospital-Based Health Care Providers Still at Risk?

Bradley N. Doebbeling, Thomas E. Vaughn, Kimberly D. McCoy, Susan E. Beekmann, Robert F. Woolson, Kristi J. Ferguson, James C. Torner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

118 Scopus citations

Abstract

To examine factors associated with blood exposure and percutaneous injury among health care workers, we assessed occupational risk factors, compliance with standard precautions, frequency of exposure, and reporting in a stratified random sample of 5123 physicians, nurses, and medical technologists working in Iowa community hospitals. Of these, 3223 (63%) participated. Mean rates of hand washing (32%-54%), avoiding needle recapping (29%-70%), and underreporting sharps injuries (22%-62%; overall, 32%) varied by occupation (P < .01). Logistic regression was used to estimate the adjusted odds of percutaneous injury (aORinjury), which increased 2%-3% for each sharp handled in a typical week. The overall aORinjury for never recapping needles was 0.74 (95% CI, 0.60-0.91). Any recent blood contact, a measure of consistent use of barrier precautions, had an overall aORinjury of 1.57 (95% CI, 1.32-1.86); among physicians, the aORinjury was 2.18 (95% CI, 1.34-3.54). Adherence to standard precautions was found to be suboptimal. Underreporting was found to be common. Percutaneous injury and mucocutaneous blood exposure are related to frequency of sharps handling and inversely related to routine standard-precaution compliance. New strategies for preventing exposures, training, and monitoring adherence are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1006-1013
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Volume37
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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