Unsafe injection practices such as reusing a needle or syringe, using single dose vials more than once or for more than one person, and sharing insulin pens put the recipient and the provider at risk for infectious and non-infectious adverse events. These events have occurred during a wide variety of procedures and in both traditional and nontraditional healthcare settings. This harm is preventable. Safe injection practices are part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Standard Precautions and are aimed at maintaining basic levels of safety and protections. The World Health Organization defines a safe injection as one that does not harm the recipient, does not expose the provider to any avoidable risks, and does not result in waste that is dangerous for the community.
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It Really Happens
A nurse reused pre-filled saline flush syringes for multiple patients. Testing for hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV was recommended for 262 people. At least one case of HCV transmission likely occurred because of this unsafe injection practice.
A nurse at an employee influenza vaccination clinic used two syringes to vaccinate 67 people. All 67 were tested for HBV, HCV, and HIV and all were recommended to receive post exposure prophylaxis for HBV.
Healthcare professionals re-entered multi-dose medication vials with a used syringe and used single-dose medication vials for use on multiple patients.
Want to learn more about injection safety?
Please visit the following websites:
CDC Preventing Unsafe Injection Practices
Together with Standard Precautions, Safe Injection Practices are among the foundations for preventing transmission of infections during patient care in all healthcare settings including hospitals, long-term care facilities, ambulatory care, home care and hospice.
NY One & Only Campaign
The One & Only Campaign is public health campaign, led by the CDC and the Safe Injection Practices Coalition, to raise awareness among patients and healthcare providers about safe injection practices. The Campaign aims to eliminate infections resulting from unsafe injection practices.
CDC’s Role in Safe Injection Practices
CDC works with numerous partners to conduct a range of activities to improve injection safety and prevent transmission of blood borne pathogens and other infectious diseases. This website contains some of their current injection safety activities.