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The Impact of Unsafe Injection Practices in U.S. Healthcare Settings

More than 150,000 patients have been impacted by unsafe medical injections since 2001. Breakdowns in proper infection control practices often involve providers reusing needles, syringes or single-dose medication vials, all of which are meant for one patient and one procedure. These breaches can cause irreparable damage, exposing patients to bloodborne illnesses such as hepatitis and HIV, and to life-threatening bacterial infections. Although safe injection practices represent very basic infection control measures, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) routinely identifies and investigates outbreaks associated with deficient practices.

  • CDC is aware of more than 50 outbreaks since 2001. Nearly half of these outbreaks involved transmission of hepatitis B or hepatitis C; more than half represented outbreaks of bacterial infections, most of which resulted in severe bloodstream infections.
  • CDC released a table of selected outbreaks and patient notification events that occurred in a variety of settings including primary care clinics, pediatric offices, ambulatory surgical centers, pain clinics, imaging facilities, oncology clinics, and even health fairs. Read more about the impact .
  • The One & Only Campaign aims to eradicate outbreaks from unsafe medical injections by raising awareness among patients and healthcare providers about proper practices. The Campaign is a public health effort produced by the SIPC, a collaboration of several medical societies, state health departments, private medical companies, and patient advocates led by the CDC and the CDC Foundation.

Through targeted education and awareness efforts, the One & Only Campaign empowers patients and healthcare providers to insist on nothing less than safe injections – every time, for every patient. Since 2009, the Campaign has developed materials for providers and patients including a clinician toolkit, a checklist, posters, a video, and a continuing education webinar. CDC and the Safe Injection Practices Coalition (SIPC) have also promoted awareness of safe injection practices at a wide variety of national and state meetings, conferences, and training activities.

Graphics / Images

  • Photo: Syringe and vials

    Syringe and vials

  • Graphic: One Needle, One Syringe, Only One Time

    Graphic from the "One and Only Campaign"

  • Infographic:One and Only Campaign

    The Impact of Unsafe Injection Practices in U.S. Healthcare Settings
    Entire infographic

  • Graphic: Do your part to make healthcare safe, one injection at a time.

    Do your part to make healthcare safe, one injection at a time.

Additional Resources

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286


Michael Bell, MD


Photo: Michael Bell, MD

Safe injection practices are basic but they are not optional – they are every provider’s responsibility.

Michael Bell, MD - Deputy Director of CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion

Joseph Perz, DrPH, MA


Joseph Perz, DrPH, MA

The three-point rule is simple: Use needles, syringes, and single-dose medication vials only one time, for one patient. Patients and healthcare providers must insist on these infection control basics to avoid serious infections.

Joseph Perz, DrPH, MA - Quality Standards and Safety Team Leader for the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion

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