To document the frequency and circumstances of bloodborne pathogen exposures among surgeons in sub-Saharan Africa, we surveyed surgeons attending the 2006 Pan-African Association of Surgeons conference. During the previous year, surgeons sustained a mean of 3.1 percutaneous injuries, which were typically caused by suture needles. They sustained a mean of 4.1 exposures to blood and body fluid, predominantly from blood splashes to the eyes. Fewer than half of the respondents reported completion of hepatitis B vaccination, and postexposure prophylaxis for human immunodeficiency virus was widely available. Surgeons reported using hands-free passing and blunt suture needles. Non-fluid-resistant cotton gowns and masks were the barrier garments worn most frequently.
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