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Am J Prev Med. 2000 Feb;18(2):146-50.

Occupational needlestick injuries in a metropolitan police force.

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University of California/San Diego State University, Graduate School of Public Health, USA.



Police officers are at risk of bloodborne diseases through needlestick injuries but few studies have addressed this problem. The purpose of this study was to assess the risk of needlestick injuries in law enforcement officers and to determine predictors of injuries and reporting rates.


An anonymous, voluntary questionnaire was distributed to 1738 active-duty, metropolitan police officers. The survey included the number of needlestick injuries ever experienced, how often these were reported, activities at the time of injury and attitudes toward injuries.


Of the 803 respondents (46.2% of survey population), 29.7% had at least one needlestick injury, and 27.7% of this group had two or more. Risk factors included evening shifts, pat-down searches, patrol duties, male gender and less experience. Only 39.2% sought medical attention for these injuries.


Needlestick injuries occur with considerable frequency in this group of law enforcement personnel, suggesting an increased risk of becoming infected with bloodborne pathogens, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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