Underreporting of accidental blood exposure in Belgian hospitals

Abstract number: P1099

Leens E., Suetens C.

Objectives: In order to estimate the percentage of accidental blood exposures (ABE) not reported to the occupational health department in Belgian hospitals, a national underreporting study was carried out.

Methods: In May 2006, the Scientific Institute of Public Health invited 55 hospitals participating to the national surveillance of ABE (EPINet) to the study. Twenty percent of the healthcare workers (HCW) filled out a questionnaire anonymously during the annual consultation of occupational health (OH). They were asked how many percutaneous injuries (PI) or blood or body fluid exposures (BFE) occurred during the last month and the last year, and if so for how many ABE a registration formular (EPINet or OH insurance) was filled out.

Results: Till 28 February 2007, a total of 3311 questionnaires from 25 hospitals was received. For the recall period of 1 month 103 PI occurred in 78 HCW, of which 52 PI were registered by 38 HCW (underreporting of 49.5%, Table 1). BFE were more frequent in 1 month, but were much less registered: 165 HCW mentioned 452 BFE in the study, but only 3 cases (by 3 HCW) were declared to the surveillance or OH insurance system (99.3%). For the recall period of 1 year the percentage of non-reported injuries was 45.2% of the PI and 96.4% of the BFE.

Table 1: Percentage not reported ABE in Belgian hospitals, 2006

Conclusion: Results show that half of the PI was not declared by the HCW. The underreporting rate in Belgian hospitals is similar to average rates found in literature. The high underreporting rate for BFE was possibly related to a misinterpretation of the definition. Based on the results of this study and the PI rates of the national surveillance, the annual number of PI in Belgian hospitals could be estimated at approximately 10800 PI.

Session Details

Date: 19/04/2008
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: 18th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Presentation type:
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