Bloodborne pathogen exposures: Difference in reporting rates and individual predictors among health care personnel

Cynthia Bush, Kendra Schmid, Mark E. Rupp, Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway, Barbara Wolford, Uriel Sandkovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background Employees in health care settings are at varying risk for bloodborne pathogen (BBP) exposures. We compared differences in reporting rates of BBP exposures among health care personnel during 2 different time periods, assessing job category, years of experience, and sex as potential predictors for exposure. Methods A retrospective review of the employee health department BBP database at 2 time periods (September 1, 2012-April 30, 2013, and September 1, 2013-April 30, 2014) in which 2 different reporting protocols (call center vs pager) was used. A survey was administered to assess reported and unreported exposures within a 12-month period. Results BBP exposures were highest among residents and lowest among students. Physicians' reporting rate doubled when the call center was no longer used (relative risk, 2.40; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-5.52). Percutaneous injuries were the most common (78.3%), and most occurred in the operating room or postanesthesia unit (30.8%) and patient rooms (28.9%). Of 1,105 survey respondents, 103 (9.3%) recalled some type of exposure, but only 80 (77.7%) reported these exposures. When accounting for years of experience and sex, job category was significantly associated with injury or exposure within the previous 12 months (P < .001). Risk of exposure among residents was 3 times higher (odds ratio, 3.10; 95 CI, 1.60-6.00) than nurses. Conclusions Risk and reporting behaviors of BBP exposures vary widely across different providers. Training and education to prevent BBP exposures may need to be tailored toward different provider types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-376
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Bloodborne pathogen
  • Occupational exposures
  • Percutaneous exposures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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