Cochrane Systematic Review: Prevention of percutaneous injuries with risk of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or other viral infections for health care workers
Health care workers are at risk of acquiring infectious diseases through exposure at work. Exposure to blood or bodily fluids from infected patients can lead to infection with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV viruses. These are serious infections that may cause chronic disease or initiate cancer, and eventually lead to death. Approximately two million health care workers across the world experience percutaneous exposure to infectious diseases each year. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the proportion of HBV, HCV, and HIV infections among health care workers due to occupational sharps injuries are the highest in the world at 55, 83, and 11 percent, respectively.
The transmission of occupational blood-borne infectious diseases leads to absenteeism, morbidity, and in some cases mortality among health care workers. These ultimately lead to a reduction in workforce and consequently affect patients quality of care and safety. Health care workers may also suffer from psychological stress, which affects both work and personal life. There is also the financial burden imposed on hospitals due to occupational exposure to blood-borne diseases, which includes costs related to blood tests, treatment, outpatient visits, and lost working hours.'
Several strategies are available and widely used to prevent PEIs among health care workers. Therefore, it is important to know if these preventive interventions are effective. The objective of the Cochrane systematic review is to determine the benefits and harms of interventions for preventing percutaneous exposure incidents with risk of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or other viral infections for health-care workers.