alexa Pediatric Injuries From Needles Discarded in the Community: Epidemiology and Risk of Seroconversion
Medicine

Medicine

Family Medicine & Medical Science Research

Author(s): Jesse Papenburg, Denis Blais, Dorothy Moore, Mohammed AlHosni, Cline Laferrire

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OBJECTIVES. Although anxiety exists concerning the perceived risk of transmission of bloodborne viruses after community-acquired needlestick injuries, seroconversion seems to be rare. The objectives of this study were to describe the epidemiology of pediatric community-acquired needlestick injuries and to estimate the risk of seroconversion for HIV, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus in these events. METHODS. The study population included all of the children presenting with community-acquired needlestick injuries to the Montreal Children's Hospital between 1988 and 2006 and to Hôpital Sainte-Justine between 1995 and 2006. Data were collected prospectively at Hôpital Sainte-Justine from 2001 to 2006. All of the other data were reviewed retrospectively by using a standardized case report form. RESULTS. A total of 274 patients were identified over a period of 19 years. Mean age was 7.9 ± 3.4 years. A total of 176 (64.2%) were boys. Most injuries occurred in streets (29.2%) or parks (24.1%), and 64.6% of children purposely picked up the needle. Only 36 patients (13.1%) noted blood on the device. Among the 230 patients not known to be immune for hepatitis B virus, 189 (82.2%) received hepatitis B immunoglobulin, and 213 (92.6%) received hepatitis B virus vaccine. Prophylactic antiretroviral therapy was offered beginning in 1997. Of the 210 patients who presented thereafter, 82 (39.0%) received chemoprophylaxis, of whom 69 (84.1%) completed a 4-week course of therapy. The use of a protease inhibitor was not associated with a significantly higher risk of adverse effects or early discontinuation of therapy. At 6 months, 189 were tested for HIV, 167 for hepatitis B virus, and 159 for hepatitis C virus. There were no seroconversions. CONCLUSIONS. We observed no seroconversions in 274 pediatric community-acquired needlestick injuries, thereby confirming that the risk of transmission of bloodborne viruses in these events is very low.

This article was published in AAP Gateway and referenced in Family Medicine & Medical Science Research

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