Advances in Exposure Prevention: summary of latest issue


Volume 6, number 3, 2003 (released April 2003)

Jagger J, Perry J. “Comparison of EPINet Data for 1993 and 2001 Shows Marked Decline in Needlestick Injury Rates” (pp. 25-27). In order to document the impact of safety-engineered sharp devices on percutaneous injury (PI) rates for hospital workers, we compared rates from 1993 and 2001 in a network of participating EPINet hospitals. The year 1993 was the first year for which EPINet data were available, and 2001 was the most recent complete year of EPINet data. To avoid confounding factors, we selected data for teaching hospitals and nurses only. Also, we compared PI rates for conventional and safety devices separately so that the relative effects of conventional vs. safety device usage could be distinguished. We found that the overall PI rate (including injuries from both conventional and safety devices) declined from 19.5 PIs per 100 occupied beds in 1993 to 9.6 PIs per 100 occupied beds in 2001—a decrease of 51%. We compare rates for other characteristics of PIs, such as the location of injuries, procedures performed, and when injuries occurred.

Perry J, Jagger J. “Healthcare Worker Blood Exposure Risks: Correcting Some Outdated Statistics” (pp. 28-31). Data on occupational exposures to bloodborne pathogens have increased dramatically during the last decade. In the U.S., the most accurate national estimates to date of the number of percutaneous injuries (PIs) sustained by hospital-based healthcare workers (HCWs) have been derived by combining data from the EPINet and NaSH surveillance networks. Researchers have also been able to estimate more precise underreporting rates for PIs. And large-scale surveillance of HCWs sustaining blood exposures to hepatitis C-infected source patients has provided a more accurate picture of hepatitis C (HCV) transmission risk from occupational exposures. This article discusses the latest estimates for the annual number of PIs in the U.S. for hospital-based healthcare workers, underreporting rates for PIs, and occupational transmission rates for HCV; it includes tables that list studies of underreporting and of HCV transmission in the last decade and the rates derived from those studies.

Perry J, Parker G, Jagger J. “EPINet Report: 2001 Percutaneous Injury Rates.” In 2001, the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center collected data on percutaneous injuries and blood and body fluid exposures from 58 healthcare facilities in the United States that use the EPINet surveillance program to track exposure incidents. These facilities voluntarily participate in the collaborative EPINet network coordinated by the Center, and their exposure data were combined into an aggregate database. In this article we report findings from the 2001 data, and compare percutaneous injury rates for 1999 and 2001. Published along with the article are the actual EPINet data reports for 2001 for (1) needlesticks and sharp-object injuries (58 healthcare facilities; 1,929 injuries); (2) blood and body fluid exposures (49 healthcare facilities, 463 exposures); (3) needlesticks and sharp-object injuries for safety devices (58 facilities; 393 injuries). We discuss in a separate section the injury data for safety devices and what it does—and doesn’t—tell us about the efficacy of these devices.