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Needle Stick

Often victims have to wait and see after a needle stick injury. While many people will not contract a disease, they are in danger of getting potentially fatal diseases from bloodborne pathogens including: Hepatitis, including Hepatitis B virus (HBV)and Hepatitis C virus (HCV); Diphtheria; Typhus; Herpes; Malaria; Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS); Tuberculosis; Spotted Fever; and Syphilis.

According to the Center for Disease Control, about 600,000 to 800,000 needle stick injuries occur in the health care industry each year. The injuries are caused by needles such as hypodermic needles, blood collection needles, intravenous (IV) stylets, and needles used to connect parts of IV delivery systems. Over $3 billion in health care costs is spent each year treating the victims.

More than 8 million health care workers in the United States work in hospitals and other health care settings. According to Center for Disease Control data, the number of needle stick and other percutaneous injuries among health care workers is growing every year. About half of these injuries are unreported. At an average hospital, workers incur approximately 30 needle stick injuries per 100 beds per year.

Most reported needle stick injuries involve nursing staff; however, laboratory staff, physicians, housekeepers, and other health care workers are also at risk. These injuries expose workers to blood-borne pathogens such as HBV, HCV, and HIV.

Infections with each of these pathogens are potentially life threatening and preventable.This impact is particularly severe when the injury involves exposure to HIV. In one study of 20 health care workers with an HIV exposure, 11 reported acute severe distress, 7 had persistent moderate distress, and 6 quit their jobs as a result of the exposure.

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