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Occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens from needlesticks and other sharps injuries is a serious problem, but it is often preventable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year 385,000 needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries are sustained by hospital-based healthcare personnel. Similar injuries occur in other healthcare settings, such as nursing homes, clinics, emergency care services, and private homes. Sharps injuries are primarily associated with occupational transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but they may be implicated in the transmission of more than 20 other pathogens. (Source: CDC)
Sharps injuries can be avoided by eliminating the unnecessary handling and use of needles, using devices with safety features, and promoting education and safe work practices for handling needles and related systems. These measures should be part of a comprehensive program to prevent the transmission of bloodborne pathogens.
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