Hepatitis C needlestick injuries continue to rise

In the past year, six healthcare workers have been infected with hepatitis C because of needlestick injuries, according to figures from the Health Protection Agency.

This compares with three in the previous five years, said the HPA, showing that needlestick injuries are still a major problem for NHS workers.

Dr Fortune Ncube, who co-ordinated the programme for the HPA, said: “Occupational health staff, virologists and microbiologists involved in the testing and care of healthcare workers sustaining such injuries should raise awareness of the need to carry out appropriate tests, adhering to national guidelines for their timing.”

The HPA is working with the Department of Health to set up a national surveillance programme to collect more in-depth information on needlestick injuries, which would be used to give better advice and protection to healthcare workers.

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