Issue: 2011 > October > special article

Needlestick injuries and infectious patients in a major academic medical centre from 2003 to 2010

G. Frijstein, J. Hortensius, H.L. Zaaijer


To implement adequate preventive measures in a hospital, the number and nature of occupational exposures to blood must be known. In the Amsterdam Academic Medical Centre a standardised procedure was used to assess all reported occupational exposures to blood from 2003 to 2010. 1601 incidents were reported of which 66% were needlestick accidents. Thirty-five percent of the incidents concerned persons in training and 27% concerned experienced nurses. Twenty-nine percent of accidents occurred during cleaning up after a medical procedure, including the recapping of needles in 6%. In 8% of the accidents the patient was known or found to be infected with hepatitis B or C virus or HIV and in 86% of accidents the personnel were immune to HBV. One case of HCV transmission occurred. The number and nature of the occupational exposures
indicate that preventive measures must focus on the
replacement of needles by safety devices and on awareness training of experienced nurses and of persons in training.