Attitudes of medical specialists toward HBV, HCV or HIV infected surgical staff and a sero-survey among staff members
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Pomorski Uniwersytet Medyczny / Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland (Zakład Zdrowia Publicznego / Department of Public Health)
Pomorski Uniwersytet Medyczny / Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland (Samodzielna Pracownia Informatyki Medycznej i Badań Jakości Kształcenia / Department of Computer Science and Education Quality Research)
Wyższa Szkoła Medyczna / Medical College, Legnica, Poland
WSSPZOZ / General Practice WSSPZOZ, Zgorzelec, Poland (Punkt Szczepień / Vaccination Unit)
Corresponding author
Maria Gańczak   

Zakład Zdrowia Publicznego, Wydział Nauk o Zdrowiu, Pomorski Uniwersytet Medyczny, ul. Żołnierska 48, 71-204 Szczecin
Med Pr Work Health Saf. 2013;64(5):639-47
Background: Issues regarding the transmission of blood-borne viruses from infected medical personnel to patients are controversial to both parties. The aim of this study was to evaluate the attitudes towards disclosure of HBV/HCV/HIV-infected surgeons and the possibility of being forced to give up surgical procedures, as well as to assess the prevalence of anti-HBc total, HBsAg, anti-HCV and anti-HIV in surgical staff. Material and Methods: Using an anonymous questionnaire a cross-sectional sero-survey was conducted among surgeons and nurses of surgical wards in 16 randomly selected hospitals, Western Pomerania, Poland, from January to June 2009. Serum samples were tested for anti-HBc, HBsAg, anti-HCV and anti-HIV by ELISA tests. Results: In the group of 427 participants (232 nurses, 65 doctors; a median age: 42 years), anti-HBc was found in 16.6%, HBsAg in 0.7%, anti-HCV in 1.4% and anti-HIV in 0%. The risk of a single exposure to HBV was correctly defined by 26.5% of participants, to HCV by 19.7%, to HIV by 18.7%. 16.2% participants stated that infected surgeons should disclose their HBV, HCV, or HIV serostatus, 39.8% and 42.6% that those HBV/HCV-infected and HIV-infected, respectively, should discontinue practicing surgery. Participants who correctly assessed the risk of contracting HIV/HBV/HCV after a single exposure were significantly (p = 0.0001; p = 0.03; p = 0.01, respectively) less likely to favor infected staff being forced to discontinue surgical procedures. Conclusions: A fraction of surgical staff showed detectable markers of HBV/HCV infection, they may be a source of infection for operated patients. Surgical staff's knowledge about occupational blood exposure risk was not satisfactory, which might have influenced the restrictive attitudes to force those infected with HBV/HCV/HIV to give up surgical procedures and a willingness to disclose their serological status. Med Pr 2013;64(5):639–647
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