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BLOODBORNE PATHOGENS AND

NEEDLE STICK AND SHARPS


INJURIES

DAY 1
Basic Infection Control Course for Nurses
What infections can be caused by needlestick
injuries?
 Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
 Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) -- the
virus that causes AIDS
Hepatitis B Virus Infection
• The virus attacks the liver and can
cause chronic infection, cirrhosis
of the liver, liver cancer, liver
failure – even death
• Transmission occurs most often
through sexual contact with infected
partners, sharing contaminated
needles and/or syringes, or from
needlestick or sharps exposure in
the healthcare setting
Hepatitis B Virus Infection

• HBV Carriers – those with


chronic, or long term
infection with HBV – can shed
large quantities of viral
particles on environmental
surfaces through open cuts or
sores
• Transmission can occur through
contact with infected surfaces
Hepatitis C
• The most common chronic bloodborne
viral infection in the US
– 3.9 M Americans are infected with HCV
– 2.7 M of those are chronically
infected
• Many people have no apparent
symptoms for up to ten to twenty
years after infection
Hepatitis C
• HCV transmission occurs primarily from
needle sharing among drug users
• BLOOD IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT
SOURCE OF HCV EXPOSURE IN THE
HEALTHCARE SETTING
– Injured by a contaminated needle or other
sharps object
– Eyes, nose, mouth or non intact skin contact
potentially infectious blood, tissue or
other body fluids
– Any contact without barrier protection to
concentrated virus in the laboratory
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus
• Attacks a person’s immune system,
gradually destroying cells that protect
the body from infection and cancer
• HIV can live in a person for years with
no obvious symptoms
• Damage can be observed in blood tests –
lowered T-cell counts (e.g., before
actual symptoms are experienced).
• When the Infected Person has one or
more opportunistic infections, or the
T-cell count drops below 200, the
infected person is diagnosed with AIDS
EXPOSURE TO HIV
• Sharps Injuries
• Contact with non-intact skin
• Contact with mucous membranes and blood, tissue
or other body fluids that are potentially
infectious and containing visible blood
• Contact with semen and vaginal secretions
and/or CSF, Synovial, Pleural, Peritoneal,
Pericardial and Amniotic Fluid (Low
concentration of virus)
• Contact with concentrated virus in the
laboratory without barrier protection
• Human bites and scratches, exposing both
parties – the attacker and the person bitten or
scratched
REMEMBER!

No vaccine exists to
prevent HCV or HIV
infection.
Where, When and How Do Injuries Occur?

• Sharp devices can cause Six devices are


injuries anywhere within responsible for:
the healthcare – Disposable
environment. syringes
• Majority of injuries occur on – Suture needles
inpatient units, particularly
medical floors and intensive – Winged steel
care units, and in operating needles
rooms. – Scalpel blades
• Injuries most often occur – Intravenous (IV)
after use and before catheter stylets
disposal of a sharp device – Phlebotomy
during use of a sharp needles
device on a patient and
during or after disposal.
Do certain work practices increase the risk of
needlestick injury?

Yes. Past studies have shown that needlestick injuries


are often associated with these activities:

• Recapping needles
• Transferring a body fluid between containers
• Failing to dispose of used needles properly in
puncture-resistant sharps containers
Who are at risk of needlestick injury?
How can I protect myself from needlestick
injuries?
• Promptly dispose of used needles in appropriate
sharps disposal containers.
• Report all needlestick and sharps-related injuries
promptly to ensure that you receive appropriate
followup care.
• Tell your employer about any needlestick hazards you
observe.
• Participate in training related to infection prevention.
• Get a hepatitis B vaccination.