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Conditions in which nurses are exposed to the hepatitis viruses and precautions taken for prevention.

Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at risk of occupational hazards when performing their clinical activities in the hospital setting. They are exposed to blood-borne infections by pathogens, such as HIV, hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV), from sharps injuries and contact with bodily fluids (Ramos-Gomez et al 1997; Gerbending 1994; Ruben et al 1983).

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates about 2.5% of HIV cases among HCWs, and 40% of hepatitis B and C cases among HCWs worldwide, are the result of these exposures (WHO 2002). There is no immunisation for HIV and hepatitis C. It is important to prevent infection by preventing exposure. Since identification of patients infected with blood-borne pathogens cannot be reliably made by medical history and physical examination, universal precautions have been recommended by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) to be used on all patients (CDC 1986; 1985). These are simple infection prevention control measures that reduce the risk of transmission of blood-borne pathogens through exposure to blood and bodily fluids among patients and HCWs. Compliance with these universal precautions has been shown to reduce the risk of exposure to blood and bodily fluids (Chan et al 2002). The aim of this study was to evaluate the exposure status of nurses to hepatitis B and C, and to determine the precautionary measures taken for protection from these infections.

Afitap Ozdelikara, School of Health, University of Ondokuz Mayis, Samsun, Turkey; Mehtap Tan, Doc School of Nursing, University of Ataturk, Erzurum, Turkey.
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Author:Ozdelikara, Afitap; Tan, Mehtap
Publication:The Lamp
Date:Nov 1, 2012
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