Needlestick injuries in the United States. Epidemiologic, economic, and quality of life issues

AAOHN J. 2005 Mar;53(3):117-33.


Best evidence from prospective studies with aggressive monitoring suggests that the incidence of needlestick injuries is significantly higher than reported through passive surveillance, ranging from 14 to 839 needlestick injuries per 1,000 health care workers per year. The economic cost of managing these injuries is substantial, ranging from dollars 51 to dollars 3,766 (2002 U.S. dollars). This amount excludes the cost of treating the long-term complications of needlestick injuries, such as HIV and hepatitis B and C infections, each of which can cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars to manage. In addition, health care workers experience significant fear, anxiety, and emotional distress following a needlestick injury, sometimes resulting in occupational and behavior changes. Despite the availability of engineered injury prevention devices, the implementation of these new technologies has been mixed in part because of the perception that these devices are costly and cost ineffective. However, widespread use of safety devices might be more easily justified on economic grounds when the full clinical and economic benefits of these new technologies are considered, especially within the context of injury prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational* / economics
  • Accidents, Occupational* / psychology
  • Accidents, Occupational* / statistics & numerical data
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Epidemiologic Research Design
  • Equipment Design
  • Ergonomics
  • HIV Infections / etiology
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Hepatitis B / etiology
  • Hepatitis B / transmission
  • Hepatitis C / etiology
  • Hepatitis C / transmission
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional / economics
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional / methods
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional / statistics & numerical data
  • Medical Waste Disposal / economics
  • Medical Waste Disposal / instrumentation
  • Needlestick Injuries* / complications
  • Needlestick Injuries* / economics
  • Needlestick Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Needlestick Injuries* / psychology
  • Personnel, Hospital* / psychology
  • Personnel, Hospital* / statistics & numerical data
  • Population Surveillance
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Medical Waste Disposal