Needlestick Injury Statistics

What are the chances of needle-stick injury?

Estimating the likelihood of transmission following a needlestick injury is difficult as there are many factors which contribute to the risk. However, some reports have provided the following needlestick injury statistics:

  • In Australia, there are around 18,000 ‘sharps’ incidents reported each year. (1)
  • Around 1 needle-stick injury occurs in every 2 days of hospital operation. (2)
  • At least 20 pathogens can be transmitted via sharps accidents including HIV and Hepatitis B & C. (3)

The statistics of being infected that pose the greatest concern are (3):

  • Hepatitis B – approx. 2 in 5 chance
  • Hepatitis C – approx. 1 in 10 chance
  • HIV – approx. 1 in 300 chance

A few additional statistics of interest (4):

  • The most commonly reported occupational groups are females, nurses, and dental staff.
  • Most common situations where needlestick injuries are reported to the service are:
    • Routine patient care and cleaning
    • Invasive procedures such as injections, suturing and venepuncture.
  • The HIV and hepatitis status is not known for the vast majority of contact patients. Where known, exposure to hepatitis C is the most frequent disease known.

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References:

(1)    AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database, Separation statistics by principal diagnosis, Australia 2007-08.

(2)    The Medical Journal of Australia, 2002

(3)    Needlestick Injuries, Canada’s National Occupational Health & Safety Resource – www.ccohs.ca

(4)    NSW Needlestick Injury Hotline NSW Health

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