Naked eyes: Occupational exposure to potentially infectious materials by splashes at a tertiary hospital


Fereshte Sheybani, Hamid Reza Naderi, Irandokht Mostafavi, Nasrin Khosravi, Amin Bojdi

Background: Occupational transmission of blood-borne pathogens may occur during patient care. The greatest risk is through skin penetration by sharp injuries. However, infectious materials can transmit through mucous membranes and non-intact skin exposures. Aim: The aim of this study is to emphasize the danger of eye exposure by splashes of blood and body fluids at healthcare setting. Methods: This retrospective, analytic study reviews the collected data at a university hospital in Mashhad- Iran- over a period of four years, 2009 Mar–2013 Mar. Results: There were 65 self-reported eye mucous membrane exposures by splashes ofblood or other bodily fluids. 58 exposures (89%) occurred during urgent care of critically ill patients while, 3 (5%) occurred in operating room, 2 (3%) during debridement of infected wounds and 2 (3%) involving other invasive procedures. Eye shield and/or mask during body fluid splash used by only 37% (71% nurses, 22% physicians, 7% the others). One nurse contracted crimean-congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) but treated appropriately. Conclusions: Practical training on the process of reporting occupational exposures and update training sessions on standard precautions and preventive measures should be available for all healthcare workers in their workplace.