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Infectious diseases clinic

Managing community needlestick injuries

Janine Trevillyan, Justin T Denholm, Denis Spelman

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Abstract

Although the specific management of needlestick injuries must be tailored to the individual case, five key steps should be followed.

Article Extract

Despite increased awareness and precautions, needlestick injuries continue to occur in the community. Raising an important management issue in the general practice setting, they are often associated with significant patient distress and uncertainty. Most often, needlestick injuries are from contact with a discarded needle and syringe, but they may also occur when people are sharing needles during intravenous drug use or in cases of community occupational exposures, such as those occurring in personal carers or council cleaners. The risk of transmitting a blood-borne infection is different in each setting, and the situation needs to be taken into account when deciding on a management course.

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