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It is estimated that more than 3 million healthcare workers worldwide suffer needlestick and splash injuries whilst at work resulting in the potential transmission of blood-borne pathogens via exposure to bodily fluids. Under-reporting and the subsequent management of occupational injuries is a problem both in the United Kingdom and abroad. Many expatriate health care workers will work in low resource settings where the risk of transmission is greatest but in contrast to wealthier countries such as the United Kingdom, there is often a lack of effective systems for its safe management. This article provides important information about this risk and how to minimise it. The reasons for an increased risk in transmission, its subsequent management and pre-departure planning are discussed, together with the evidence for initiation of post-exposure prophylaxis; current National and International guidelines as well as the urgent need for International standardisation of these is also discussed.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/tmi.12080

Type

Journal article

Journal

Trop Med Int Health

Publication Date

05/2013

Volume

18

Pages

588 - 595

Keywords

Africa, Asia, Blood-Borne Pathogens, HIV Infections, Health Personnel, Health Planning Guidelines, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Humans, Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional, Needlestick Injuries, Occupational Exposure, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, Risk Assessment, Travel, United Kingdom