While the incidence of disease from HIV and hepatitis is increasing in the United States, little is known about their prevalence in patients undergoing surgery. Now, researchers have shown that nearly 40 percent of surgeries at The Johns Hopkins Hospital occur in patients who tested positive for a bloodborne germ.
"While these rates are alarming, they are not entirely unexpected. General precautions have been in effect for some time to prevent the spread of disease to health care workers in the operating room," said Martin A. Makary, M.D., assistant professor of surgery and public health at Johns Hopkins and lead author of a report in the May 2005 issue of the Annals of Surgery.
"Given the high incidence of these infections, however, we have developed new strategies such as sharpless surgery-a surgical technique which uses high-technology alternatives to needles and knives. We advocate using these techniques whenever possible in high-risk settings to further protect health care workers from accidental transmission," added Makary.
Trent Stockton | EurekAlert!
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