Healthcare workers, including dental practitioners and
dental students, are at risk of occupational exposure to
blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis B, C and HIV.
The present study set out to determine the prevalence,
knowledge, management and perceptions of percutaneous
injuries among staff and students at a dental training
institute in Durban, KwaZulu - Natal with a view to identifying
policies aimed at reducing the incidence. The prevalence
of percutaneous injuries experienced by dental staff and
students from 2001 to 2011 was determined. The levels of
knowledge and their management of percutaneous injuries
were determined among current dental staff and students.
The dental department sustained 40% of total Hospital injuries,
and of these 76% were suffered by students and 24%
by staff. 22% of the sample had sustained a percutaneous
injury, and of these, 57% had endured more than one and
24%, three or more injuries. Most current respondents had
reported the incident (81%) and had taken the initial dose of
post exposure prophylaxis; however, only 22% had taken
the medication for the recommended period of four weeks.
Avoiding percutaneous injuries by adopting safe work practices
is probably the best practice to prevent transmission
of blood-borne infections such as Hepatitis and HIV.