Percutaneous exposure incidents: A review of practice and awareness of current protocols at a dental faculty

Allauddin Siddiqi, M.I.K Niazi, Harsha De Silva, Norman Firth, Priya Konthasingha, Sobia Zafar

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Research has shown that dental care providers (DCPs) and students are among the most vulnerable to accidental exposure to blood-borne pathogens (BBPs). An exposure to BBPs can have detrimental effects on a DCP’s professional and personal life. Objectives: The aim of this study to study the prevalence and risk factors of sharps and needlestick injuries (NSIs) sustained by the staff and undergraduate dental students at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Otago. Method: A cross-sectional survey among students (fourth & fifth year dental students, postgraduate students), staff (academic/clinical) and dental assistants was performed using a self-administered questionnaire to collect information pertaining to needlestick and sharps injuries during February 2012-November 2013. Data were tabulated in MS Excel â and analysed using SPSS statistical softwareâ.Results: Of the 350 questionnaires distributed, 234 participants completed the questionnaire. Seventy participants (29.9%) reported percutaneous injury. Most exposures occurred among undergraduate dental students (70%), followed by postgraduate students, academic staff (18.6%) and dental assistants (11.4%). Prevalence of under-reporting was noted around 32.8%. Needlestick was the most frequent (34.8%) while injury from surgical bur and scaler tips were reported at 25 (28.1%) and 19 (21.3%) respectively. Only three participants (4.28%) took the post-exposure prophylaxis after an incident.Conclusion: Percutaneous exposure incidents continue to occur in healthcare settings in spite of emphasis on improved work practices and use of safety devices. Improvements are required in the use of safe- practice and in developing a culture of more comprehensive reporting and adopting post-exposure prophylaxis when required. Students new to the clinical environment need structured training and education before starting their clinical work to minimise accidental needlestick and sharps injuries.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e80-e87
    Number of pages8
    JournalOral Surgery
    Issue number4
    Early online date2017
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


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