Healthcare workers and medical students are at risk of exposure to blood-borne viruses such as HBV, HCV HIV, etc. Here we report the results of a survey of the frequency and causes of cutaneous blood exposure accidents (CBEA) among medical students. Anonymous questionnaires were randomly distributed to 200 interns in their second year of internship in hospitals affiliated to Tehran University of Medical Sciences. A definite exposure was defined as injury by a sharp object causing obvious bleeding, whereas a possible exposure was defined as subtle or superficial injury due to contact with a contaminated instrument or needle but without bleeding, or contamination of an existing wound with blood or other body fluids. One hundred eigthy-four subjects (92% of the original sample) responded to the questionnaire. We recorded 121 definite exposures and 259 possible exposures over a mean time interval of 14 months. Needles were the most common objects (41% of exposure episodes) causing CBEAs, while phlebotomy and suturing were the hospital procedures that accounted for the highest percentage of exposure episodes (30 and 28 percent, respectively). Only a minority of students regularly observed basic safety measures (wearing gloves, not recapping used needles and proper disposal of sharp objects). Considering the high incidence of blood exposure in medical interns at Tehran University of Medical Sciences and the ensuing risk of blood-borne infections, the subjects are likely to develop such infections during their internship period.
2007 by the Japan Society for Occupational Health