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Volume 5, Number 3, 2000

(released October 2000)


· Perry J. "When Home Is Where the Risk Is" (pp. 25,30-32). Home health care has expanded rapidly in the last two decades—but are health care workers being adequately protected from needlesticks and blood exposures? This question is explored through the experience of Julie Naunheim-Hipps, a St. Louis, Missouri nurse who was occupationally infected with hepatitis C through a needlestick sustained in a home care setting. The article focuses on what her injury and infection tell us about the often hazardous environment in which home care is provided, and includes three key prevention messages based on Julie’s experience. One of those messages is that health care workers need to beware of the "back-end" of needle adapters; injuries from needles inside rubber sleeves on needle adapters can occur when health care workers are instructed by their employers to reuse blood tube holders, forcing them to remove the needle adapter from the blood tube. This was the cause of Julie’s injury and subsequent seroconversion to HCV.


· Perry J, Parker G. "EPINet Data: Percutaneous Injuries in Home Health Care Settings" (pp.32-33). The companion article to the above account of Julie Naunheim-Hipps’ needlestick injury and seroconversion. We look at data on home health care from hospitals in the Center’s EPINet network that have affiliated home health care agencies. One key finding: the data show that home health care workers have a proportionately higher frequency of injuries from blood-filled needles—those most likely to transmit bloodborne pathogens—compared with hospital health care workers who sustain injuries in patient rooms.


· Jagger J, Parker G. "Drawing Venous Blood With Syringes: A Risky Use of Injection Equipment" (pp. 27-28,34-35). Discusses hazards associated with using syringes for blood drawing, based on 1998 data from 52 hospitals in the EPINet data-sharing network. Highlights in particular the hazard involved in transferring blood from a syringe into a specimen container. Recommends that the practice of drawing venous blood into syringes be reduced to a minimum.


· Perry J. "Legislative Update: Second Federal Needle Safety Bill Introduced With Strong Bipartisan Support; Massachusetts and Ohio Pass Bills" (pp. 29,34). Highlights federal needlestick prevention bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Cass Ballenger (R-NC) and colleagues on September 14th, and discusses how it differs from a previous federal needle safety bill introduced by Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) in 1999. Also discusses state needle safety legislation recently passed in Ohio and Massachusetts.

· "Recent Safety I.V. Products" (p. 26). Lists safety I.V. catheter and catheter securement devices that have recently been introduced into the market, with brief descriptions and manufacturers’ phone numbers.

· "Health Care Workers with Documented and Possible Occupationally Acquired AIDS/HIV Infection, By Occupation, U.S. through December 1999" (p. 35). Latest statistics from the CDC/MMWR on occupationally acquired HIV/AIDS among health care workers.