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Int J Occup Saf Ergon. 2013;19(4):623-9.

Under-reporting of accidents involving biological material by nursing professionals at a Brazilian emergency hospital.

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  • 1Ribeirăo Preto Nursing School, University of Săo Paulo, Ribeirăo Preto, Săo Paulo, Brazil. luiza@eerp.usp.br.



Pathogens can be transmitted to health professionals after contact with biological material. The exact number of infections deriving from these events is still unknown, due to the lack of systematic surveillance data and under-reporting.


A cross-sectional study was carried out, involving 451 nursing professionals from a Brazilian tertiary emergency hospital between April and July 2009. Through an active search, cases of under-reporting of occupational accidents with biological material by the nursing team were identified by means of individual interviews. The Institutional Review Board approved the research project.


Over half of the professionals (237) had been victims of one or more accidents (425 in total) involving biological material, and 23.76% of the accidents had not been officially reported using an occupational accident report. Among the underreported accidents, 53.47% were percutaneous and 67.33% were bloodborne. The main reason for nonreporting was that the accident had been considered low risk.


The under-reporting rate (23.76%) was low in comparison with other studies, but most cases of exposure were high risk.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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