November 20, 2008
A new CDC study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine has found that health care workers face an increased risk of dying from bloodborne diseases, such as HIV, and related illnesses compared with workers in other fields, Reuters reports. The study also found that male health care workers face a more than twofold risk of dying from HIV/AIDS-related causes. According to researchers Sara Luckhaupt and Geoffrey Calvert of CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, accidental needle sticks and other workplace accidents can put health care workers at an increased risk of exposure to bloodborne diseases. Luckhaupt notes that evidence over the past 20 to 25 years shows that health care workers have been more likely to die from bloodborne diseases than workers in other fields, Reuters reports.
The study examined data from the National Occupational Mortality Surveillance system from 1984 to 2004, which included 248,550 deaths from HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, liver cancer and cirrhosis. According to Reuters, the researchers in a previous study found that male health care workers were at an increased risk of HIV and hepatitis but conducted the new study to determine if deaths from these infections also were higher in the health care field.
Results pointed to a more than doubled risk of dying from HIV/AIDS-related causes for male health care workers -- as well as a nearly doubled likelihood of dying from hepatitis B -- compared with workers in other fields. Hepatitis C and cirrhosis deaths were also more likely among male health care workers. For female health care workers, hepatitis C was more frequent than in other occupations. An analysis of mortality risk based on occupation showed that male nurses faced the highest risk of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B mortality, while female nurses were 31% less likely to die from HIV/AIDS-related causes than women outside of the health care industry, Reuters reports.
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2008 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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