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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34911. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034911. Epub 2012 Apr 3.

Factors affecting occupational exposure to needlestick and sharps injuries among dentists in Taiwan: a nationwide survey.

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  • 1School of Dentistry, College of Oral Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.



Although the risks of needlestick and sharps injuries (NSIs) for dentists are well recognized, most papers published only described the frequency of occupational exposure to NSIs. Less has been reported assessing factors contributing to exposure to NSIs. The purpose of this study was to update the epidemiology of NSIs among dentists in Taiwan and identify factors affecting NSIs in order to find preventive strategies.


A nationwide survey was conducted in dentists at 60 hospitals and 340 clinics in Taiwan. The survey included questions about factors supposedly affecting exposure to NSIs, such as dentist and facility characteristics, knowledge and attitudes about infectious diseases, and practices related to infection control. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the association between risk factors and exposure to NSIs. In total, 434 (74.8%) of 580 dentists returned the survey questionnaires, and 100 (23.0%) reported that they had experienced more than one NSI per week. Our data showed that the risk of occupational NSIs is similarly heightened by an older age (odds ratio [OR], 3.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.62-6.25), more years in practice (OR, 2.57; 95% CI, 1.41-4.69), working in clinics (OR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.08-2.77), exhibiting less compliance with infection-control procedures (OR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.04-3.18), having insufficient knowledge of blood-borne pathogens (OR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.04-2.67), and being more worried about being infected by blood-borne pathogens (OR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.05-3.13).


High rates of NSIs and low compliance with infection-control procedures highly contribute to the chance of acquiring a blood-borne pathogen infection and threaten occupational safety. This study reveals the possible affecting factors and helps in designing prevention strategies for occupational exposure to NSIs.

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