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Occupational risk of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus infections among funeral service practitioners in Maryland.
Gershon RR; Vlahov D; Farzadegan H; Alter MJ
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1995 Apr; 16(4):194-197
The prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis-C virus (HCV), and hepatitis-B virus (HBV) in 262 funeral service practitioners (FSP) in Maryland was determined. Of those contacted, 130 participated in the study by first answering a three page questionnaire that assessed their professional and personal contact with blood pathogens. Participants were then serologically screened for HIV, HCV, and HBV antibodies. In the previous 6 months, 13 reported at least one mucous membrane exposure to blood or body fluids. Needlesticks by sharps were reported by 19 individuals. Overall, 24 FSPs reported having any kind of work related exposure. Five admitted to smoking while embalming and six reported eating or drinking during embalming procedures. Gloves were worn by 97% at all times while embalming. The serological tests found one person with HIV infection and six with markers for past HBV infections. Hepatitis-B vaccine had been received by 79 (61%) of the FSPs. The authors conclude that this group of FSPs had a low rate of infection by bloodborne pathogens, good work practices, and a high rate of vaccine acceptance. Vaccination for HVB should continue to be encouraged for this occupational group.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Training; Infection-control; Viral-infections; Contagious-diseases; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-diseases; Body-fluids; AIDS-virus; Questionnaires; Risk-factors; Needlestick-injuries
Environmental Health Sciences Johns Hopkins University 615 N Wolfe Street Baltimore, MD 21205
Issue of Publication
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Page last reviewed: October 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division