Rise of Blood Borne Infections in Pakistan: Is it a Call for Action?
Health care workers are exposed to a number of occupational hazards including injury from needle stick, which puts workers at risk of transmission of as many as 30 pathogens, of which the most life-threatening are the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Hepatitis C virus (HCV), and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This letter focuses on various factors in the health sector of developing countries that have led to an increase prevalence of HBV, HCV and HIV in health care workers. A thorough literature review was performed to identify factors contributing to an increased prevalence of blood borne infections among health care workers in developing countries including Pakistan. Majority of the health care workers are at increased risk of acquiring blood borne infections due to needle stick injuries. The two most important risk factors for needle stick injuries include lack of precautions in needle handling by health care workers and defective or absent screening and vaccination protocols within health employees. Therefore, special preventative measure should be taken to minimize transmission risk of HBV, HCV and HIV in health care workers especially in the developing countries where occupational hazards such as needle stick injury is a major contributing factor in transmission of these blood borne infections.