Exposure and Knowledge of Sharps Injuries among Medical Students in Seven States of Mexico
Background: Medical students are vulnerable to accidental exposure to blood-borne pathogens when performing clinical activities. Knowledge of both the prevalence of exposure and necessary reporting procedures is important to minimize the risk of harm to medical students. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey of medical students from 19 universities from seven states in Mexico was utilized to determinethe prevalence of needle stick injuries amongst medical students and the associated reporting procedures. Results: We included 312 respondents; of these, 52.24% were men and 47.76% were women, and the mean age was 23.19 years (SD ± 2.11 years). Nearly all of them (94.23%) were medical students doing clerkships in public hospitals. Mean knowledge score of blood-borne pathogens was 3.6 (SD ± 1.16) on a scale of 0-10 designed specifically for this study. Thirty-five per cent of the respondents had sustained a needle stick injury at some point during their medical school training, and 33.97% reported some type of mucocutaneous exposure. Overall, the non-reporting rate of needle stick injury was 48.34%. Approximately 25% of the respondents were not familiar with reporting procedures in the event of a needle stick injury or mucocutaneous exposure; 61.50% had received information from their hospital about the standard protocol to follow after a blood or body fluid exposure. Conclusion: In this Mexican population of medical students, there is a high risk of suffering needle stick injuries during medical training. Furthermore, knowledge regarding prevention, evaluation, and reporting of needle stick injuries is suboptimal.
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