To identify breaks in infection control practices that might put Romanians at risk for transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) from injections.
A standardized questionnaire was administered to a systematic sample of the 1,906 nurses in Valcea District, Romania, to collect information on their knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding injection administration and universal precautions.
Of the 180 nurses interviewed, 91% (95% confidence interval [CI95], 86% to 95%) reported having attended training for universal precautions; 58% (CI95, 49% to 67%) accurately reported that HBV remains infectious for at least 1 week in the environment; and 4% (CI95, 2% to 8%) knew that HBV is transmitted more efficiently than HrV through percutaneous exposures. No nurses reported reusing syringes or needles on different patients, but 4 (2%; CI95, 1% to 6%) would reuse a syringe and 3 (2%; CI95, 0% to 5%) would reuse a needle on the same patient in an emergency. Fifty-three percent (CI95, 44% to 61%) of nurses reported having a dedicated area for the preparation of injectable medications separate from where blood-contaminated items were handled. Shortages of infection control supplies were common.
Although nurses in Valcea do not report reusing injection equipment without sterilization, other unsafe practices occur that may facilitate HBV transmission through injections, including preparing injectable medications in areas potentially contaminated with blood. Inadequate knowledge of blood-borne pathogen transmission and shortages of infection control supplies may contribute to these unsafe practices. Addressing these deficits could improve injection safety in Romania.
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