NewsCAP: Health care workers are at higher risk for contracting and dying from bloodborne viral infections than workers in other professions
Health care workers are at higher risk for contracting and dying from bloodborne viral infections than workers in other professions, reported the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Using death certificate data from 1984 to 2004, researchers found that, compared with non–health care workers, male nurses are 5.9 times more likely to die from hepatitis B, and female laboratory technicians are 4.3 times more likely. Male nurses also have nearly twice the risk of death from hepatitis C than female nurses and almost four times the risk of death from HIV than workers in other occupations; female nurses are 31% less likely to die from HIV than other workers. These high risks in male nurses suggest that risk-reduction strategies may need to be sex specific, and research should examine whether male nurses acquire HIV and hepatitis infections at work or from risky personal behaviors, write the authors in the November 2008 issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.