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A Descriptive Analysis of Occupational Health Exposures in an Urban Emergency Medical Services System: 2007-2009.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21797786     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract Introduction. Prehospital providers are exposed to various infectious disease hazards. Examining specific infectious exposures would be useful in describing their current trends as well as guidance with appropriate protective measures an emergency medical services (EMS) system should consider. Objective. To describe the types of infectious occupational health exposures and associated outcomes reported at an urban EMS system. Methods. A retrospective review of all reported exposures was performed for a three-year period from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2009. Descriptive analysis was performed on data such as provider demographics, types of exposures reported, confirmation of exposure based on patient follow-up information, and outcomes. Results. Three hundred ninety-seven exposure reports were filed with the designated infection control officer (ICO), resulting in an overall exposure rate of 1.2 per 1,000 EMS incidents. The most common exposure was to possible meningitis (n = 131, 32.9%), followed by tuberculosis (TB) (n = 68, 17.1%), viral respiratory infections (VRIs) such as influenza or H1N1 (n = 61, 15.4%), and body fluid splashes to skin or mucous membranes (n = 56, 14.1%). Body fluid splashes involving the eyes accounted for 41 cases (10.3%). Only six cases (1.5%) of needlestick injuries were reported. Three hundred thirty-two of all cases (83.6%) were considered true exposures to an infectious hazard, of which 177 (53.3%) were actually confirmed. Half of all exposures required only follow-up with the ICO (52.6%). One hundred twenty-seven cases (31.9%) required follow-up at a designated occupational health services or emergency department. Of these, only 23 cases (18.1%) required treatment. There was a significant trend of increasing incidence of VRI exposures from 2008 to 2009 (6.3% vs. 26.8%, p < 0.001), while a significant decrease in TB exposures was experienced during the same year (22.9% vs. 8.2%, p = 0.002). Conclusions. Trends in our data suggest increasing exposures to viral respiratory illnesses, whereas exposures to needlestick injuries were relatively infrequent. Efforts should continue to focus on proper respiratory protection to include eye protection in order to mitigate these exposure risks.
Mazen El Sayed; Ricky Kue; Claire McNeil; K Sophia Dyer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-7-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  Prehospital emergency care : official journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the National Association of State EMS Directors     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1545-0066     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-7-29     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9703530     Medline TA:  Prehosp Emerg Care     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
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