June 12, 2013

CDC: Unsafe injections a growing problem

JUN 12, 2013

By: Christine Blank

Unsafe injections remain a problem in the United States and throughout the world, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

While injection safety had been a public health issue mainly in low-income and middle-income country settings, overall incidents have increased substantially in recent years. Since 2001, at least 49 outbreaks have occurred because of contamination of injectable medical products, according to the CDC. Globally, the burden of disease from unsafe injections in 2000 included approximately 20 million new hepatitis B virus infections, 2 million new hepatitis C infections, and 250,000 new HIV infections.

The CDC believes proposed engineering solutions may help prevent syringe reuse in the future. Proposals include the redesign of syringes to change color after use or the incorporation of tamper-evident packaging.

In addition, CDC and its partners in the Safe Injection Practices Coalition have developed the One & Only campaign. “The ultimate goal of the campaign is to prevent outbreaks, infections, and the need for patient notification,” the CDC stated. “Recognizing that education is necessary but not always sufficient, policies and mechanisms must be in place to support and ensure that injection safety and infection control procedures are followed [and] to mandate corrective action,” the agency added.

As part of increased patient involvement in medical decision-making, The One & Only campaign encourages patients to ask their healthcare provider about bloodborne pathogen safety.

The CDC has implemented the 4 “Es” to help prevent unsafe injection practices. They include epidemiologic surveillance, reporting, monitoring, and investigation of outbreaks potentially related to unsafe injections; educational initiatives to promote understanding and use of safe injection and basic infection control practices; enforcement and oversight by federal and state authorities; and engineering of devices, equipment, and processes to reduce or eliminate disease transmission risks.

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