Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

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




Journal article


Trop Med Int Health

Publication Date





588 - 595


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