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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1994 Jan;15(1):27-31.

The epidemiology of needlestick and sharp instrument accidents in a Nigerian hospital.

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  • 1School of Dentistry, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.



To characterize the epidemiology of percutaneous injuries of healthcare workers (HCWs) in Ile-Ife, Nigeria.


A cross-sectional survey of a random sample of HCWs regarding details of needlestick and sharp instrument injuries within the previous year.


University hospital and clinics in Ile-Ife, Nigeria.


Hospital personnel with potential occupational exposure to patients' blood.


Needlestick accidents during the previous year were reported by 27% of 474 HCWs, including 100% of dentists, 81% of surgeons, 32% of nonsurgical physicians, and 31% of nursing staff. The rate of needlestick injuries was 0.6 per person-year overall: 2.3 for dentists, 2.3 for surgeons, 0.4 for nonsurgical physicians, and 0.6 for nursing staff. Circumstances associated with needlestick injuries included unexpected patient movement in 29%, handling or disposal of used needles in 23%, needle recapping in 18%, accidental stick by a colleague in 18%, and needle disassembly in 10%. Sharp instrument injuries were reported by 15% of HCWs and most commonly involved broken glass patient specimen containers (39%). Almost all HCWs were aware of the potential risk of HIV transmission through percutaneous injuries, and 91% considered themselves very concerned about their occupational risk of HIV acquisition.


The high frequency of percutaneous exposure to blood among HCWs in this Nigerian hospital potentially could be reduced by simple interventions at modest cost.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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