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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


WARLEY, Eduardo et al. A study of occupational blood and body fluid exposure among nursing staff at a reference hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.25, n.6, pp.524-529. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the frequency of occupational blood and body fluids exposure (OBBFE) among the nursing staff at the Dr. Diego Paroissien Hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina; analyze the possible risk factors associated; and assess the level of knowledge regarding universal precautions and control procedures following exposure. METHODS: A cross-sectional descriptive study was performed using a voluntary and anonymous survey administered between April and May 2005. In addition to personal and professional data, information was collected on knowledge and practice of universal precautions and procedures, OBBFE experienced, barriers to following the standards, and whether or not the Hepatitis B vaccine had been received. The dependent variable in the analysis was ever having experienced an OBBFE accident. RESULTS: Of the 186 responses analyzed, 77.7% were female, the mean age was 44.6 ± 8.9 years, and the institution was 13.3 ± 6.4 years old. Of those surveyed, 91 (48.9%) indicated that at some time they had an OBBFE, with 33 (17.7%) of these having occurred during the previous year; 73.0% confirmed that the tools necessary for complying with universal precautions were available always or almost always; 76.2% felt they had complete information, although 56.3% said they had not received adequate training; and, 94.1% claimed to have been vaccinated against Hepatitis B. Being overworked (54.5%), insufficient training (21.8%), and a lack of protective tools (18.8%) were the reasons most often identified as impeding compliance with universal precaution guidelines. Not having received training during the preceding year and having recently started work in a clinical or adult intensive-care unit were significantly associated with having experienced an OBBFE. CONCLUSIONS: These results signal a risk alert for OBBFE among health care workers and underscore the need for improving standards and surveillance.

Keywords : Occupational exposure; universal precautions; nurses; Argentina.

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