Inadvertent puncture during use, disassembly, or disposal of needles or sharp devices (called collectively, “sharps”) creates risk beyond a simple puncture. Sharps injury has always been a risk for health care workers, but emergence of certain blood-borne pathogens has intensified
the need to act. Three— hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV—are of utmost concern because they can cause significant morbidity or death. The incidence of sharps injury remains unacceptably high. Injury analysis at long-term care facilities and at the national level reveals several
trends that can be used to shape policy and select interventions. Policy, practice, and training need to address new devices engineered to prevent sharps injuries, sharps disposal containers, and prophylaxis after percutaneous injury. Abbreviations: EPA = Environmental Protection
Agency, NIOSH = National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, OSHA = Occupational Safety and Health Administration, PEP = Postexposure prophylaxis. SDC = Sharps disposal container.
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