Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Everyday Dangers – The Impact Infectious Disease has on the Health of Paramedics: A Scoping Review

  • Brodie Thomas (a1), Peter O’Meara (a1) and Evelien Spelten (a1) (a2)

Abstract

Background

Paramedics respond to emergency scenes in often uncontrolled settings without being aware of potential risks. This makes paramedicine one of the most dangerous occupations. One of these dangers is the risk of contracting infectious diseases. Research in this area is predominantly focused on compliance in the use of protective equipment, attitudes and perceptions of paramedics, infectious disease policy, and exposure rates to blood and body fluids. The purpose of this scoping review was to determine what is known about the impact of infectious disease on the health of paramedics.

Methods

Using the Arskey and O’Malley methodological framework, a scoping review was undertaken, which allows for a broad search of the available evidence.

Results

The literature search identified eight articles for review that reported on paramedic exposure trends; the lack of reported blood-borne infections contracted, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); instances of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) infections; and the higher prevalence of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) nasal infections amongst paramedics.

Conclusions

Exposure to infectious diseases is decreasing, yet it remains significant. The decrease is attributed to prevention strategies; however, paramedic knowledge and attitudes as well as the uncontrolled environment paramedics work in can be a barrier. Contraction of infectious diseases is generally low; exceptions to this are MRSA colonization, influenza, and SARS. Paramedics are at greater risk of acquiring these infectious diseases compared to the general public. The effect on the health of paramedics is not well reported.

Thomas B , O’Meara P , Spelten E . Everyday Dangers – The Impact Infectious Disease has on the Health of Paramedics: A Scoping Review. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(2):217223.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Brodie Thomas, MSc 3 Gardenia St. Mildura, Victoria, 3500, Australia E-mail: B.Thomas2@latrobe.edu.au

Footnotes

Hide All
Conflicts of interest: none

Footnotes

References

Hide All
1. Speers, D. Infectious disease and the prehospital practitioner. JEPHC. 2003;1(1):1-9.
2. Maguire, BJ, Hunting, KL, Guidotti, TL, Smith, GS. Occupational injuries among Emergency Medical Services personnel. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2005;9(4):405-411.
3. Maguire, BJ, O’Meara, PF, Brightwell, RF, O’Neill, BJ, Fitzgerald, GJ. “Occupational injury risk among Australian paramedics: an analysis of national data.” Med J Aust. 2014;200(8):477-480.
4. Sanders, MJ, McKenna, KD, Lewis, LM, Quick, G. “Infectious and communicable diseases.” In Bayless L, (ed). Mosby’s Paramedic Textbook. 4th ed. St. Louis, Missouri USA: Elsevier; 2012: 843-885.
5. Checchi, F. (ed). Principles of Infectious Disease Transmission: Short Course on Infectious Diseases in Humanitarian Emergencies. London, UK: World Health Organization; 2009.
6. Macdonald, RD. “Infectious and communicable diseases.” In Cone DC, Brice JH, Delbridge TR, Myers JB, (eds). Emergency Medical Services: Clinical Practice and Systems Oversight. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley and Sons, Ltd; 2015: 198-207.
7. Dixon, RE. Control of health-care associated infections, 1961-2011. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2011;60(4):58-63.
8. West, KH, Cohen, ML. Standard precautions - a new approach to reducing infection transmission in the hospital setting. J Intraven Nurs. 1997;20(6):7-10.
9. Harris, SA, Nicolai, LA. Occupational exposures in Emergency Medical Service providers and knowledge of and compliance with universal precautions. Am J Infect Control. 2010;38(2):86-94.
10. Jackson, C, Lowton, K, Griffiths, P. Infection prevention as “a show:” a qualitative study of nurses’ infection prevention behaviors. Int J Nurs Stud. 2014;51:400-408.
11. Larmer, PJ, Tillson, TM, Scown, FM, Grant, PM, Exton, J. Evidence-based recommendations for hand hygiene for health care workers in New Zealand. N Z Med J. 2008;121(1272):69-81.
12. Andrusiek, DL, Szydlo, D, May, S, et al. A comparison of invasive airway management and rates of pneumonia in prehospital and hospital settings. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2015;19(4):475-481.
13. Linwood, R, Day, G, Fitzgerald, G, Oldenburg, B. Quality improvement and paramedic care: what does the literature reveal for prehospital emergency care in Australia? Int J Health Care Qual Assur. 2007;20(5):405-415.
14. Reed, E, Daya, MR, Jui, J, Grellman, K, Gerber, L, Loveless, MO. Occupational infectious disease exposures in EMS personnel. J Emerg Med. 1993;11(1):9-16.
15. Shaban, R, Creedy, D, Clark, M. Paramedic knowledge of infectious disease aetiology and transmission in an Australian Emergency Medical System. JEPHC. 2003;1(3).
16. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Occupational HIV transmission and prevention among health care workers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/other/occupational.html. Accessed June 30, 2015.
17. Ho, JD, Ansari, RK, Page, D. Hand sanitization rates in an urban Emergency Medical Service system. J Emerg Med. 2014;47(2):163-168.
18. Mackler, N, Wilkerson, W, Cinti, S. Will first-responders show up for work during a pandemic? Lessons from a smallpox vaccination survey of paramedics. Disaster Manag Response. 2007;5:45-48.
19. Smith, E, Morgans, A, Qureshi, K, Burkle, F, Archer, F. Paramedics’ perceptions of risk and willingness to work during disasters. Australian J Emerg Manag. 2008;23(2):14-20.
20. Arksey, H, O’Malley, L. Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. Int J Soc Res Method. 2005;8(1):19-32.
21. Kennedy, S, Kenny, A, O’Meara, P. Student paramedic experience of transition into the workforce: a scoping review. Nurse Educ Today. 2015;35(10):1037-1043.
22. Tredea, F, McEwena, C, Kenny, A, O’Meara, P. Supervisors’ experiences of workplace supervision of nursing and paramedic students in rural settings: a scoping review. Nurse Educ Today. 2014;34(5):783-788.
23. Grant, MJ, Booth, A. A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Info Libr J. 2009;26:91-108.
24. Kenny, A, Hyett, N, Sawtell, J, Dickson-Swift, V, Farmer, J, O’Meara, P. Community participation in rural health: a scoping review. BMC Health Serv Res. 2013;13:64.
25. O’Meara, P. Community paramedics: a scoping review of their emergence and potential impact. Int Paramed Pract. 2014;4(1):5-12.
26. Anderson, S, Allen, P, Peckham, S, Goodwin, N. Asking the right questions: scoping studies in the commissioning of research on the organization and delivery of health services. Health Res Policy Syst. 2008;6(7):12.
27. Sayed, ME, Kue, R, McNeil, C, Dyer, KS. A descriptive analysis of occupational health exposures in an urban Emergency Medical Services system: 2007-2009. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2011;15(4):506-510.
28. Hubble, M, Zontek, T, Richards, M. Predictors of influenza vaccination among Emergency Medical Services personnel. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2011;15(2):175-183.
29. Ko, PC, Chen, W, Ma, MH, et al. Emergency Medical Services utilization during an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the incidence of SARS-associated coronavirus infection among emergency medical technicians. Acad Emerg Med. 2004;11(9):903-911.
30. Petsas, A, Sharma, A, Aghadiuno, O, Abid, M, Paranthaman, K. A secondary case of meningococcal disease in an ambulance worker, Berkshire, November 2007. Euro Surveill. 2008;13(4):1-2.
31. Verbeek, R, McClelland, IW, Silverman, AC, Burgess, RJ. Loss of paramedic availability in an urban Emergency Medical Services system during a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak. Acad Emerg Med. 2004;11(9):973-978.
32. Amiry, AA, Bissell, RA, Maguire, RJ, Alves, DW. Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization prevalence among Emergency Medical Services personnel. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(4):348-352.
33. Barrett, B. Viral upper respiratory infection. In Rakel D, (ed). Integrative Medicine. Philadelphia, USA: Elsevier; 2012: 149-159.
34. Monto, AS. Epidemiology of viral respiratory infections. Am J Med. 2002;112(6):4-12.
35. World Health Organization. Constitution of the World Health Organization. WHO Web site. http://www.who.int/governance/eb/who_constitution_en.pdf. Accessed June 30, 2015.

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed