Pune, October 23: At least 100 medical interns and resident doctors at the Sassoon government hospital had to pop anti-HIV pills for 28 days after they suffered needle stick injuries while working in the hospital.
Even as healthcare workers are known to get accidentally exposed, mainly through needle stick injuries, to blood from patients infected with HIV, the study at SGH, one of the first in the country, found that medical interns were at the highest risk.
The joint study sponsored by Johns Hopkins University was conducted over a period of three years and the findings were presented by Dr Amita Gupta at the Johns Hopkins University at the 46th annual conference of Infectious Diseases Society of America at San Diego, in October this year.
Principal investigator of the project Dr A L Kakrani, Head of the Department of Medicine at SGH and B J Medical College, said that more than 700 such needle stick injuries were recorded during the period. The group that was exposed most to the needle stick injuries was of medical interns.
At least 100 persons suffered needle stick injuries and half of them were medical interns, followed by resident doctors. While the risk of transmission of HIV from patient to doctor via needle stick injuries is .3 per cent, according to Kakrani, there are around 70-80 cases worldwide where doctors have turned HIV positive.
Needle stick injuries are wounds caused by needles that accidentally puncture the skin. If not disposed of properly, needles, concealed in linen or garbage, can injure other workers unexpectedly, says Kakrani.
Doctors with needle stick injury were given drugs for 28 days. Kakrani explained that the virus remains localised in the area of injury for a maximum of three days. Drugs given within three hours of the needle injury is effective and kills the virus before it multiplies. A combination of two drugs —lamivudine and stavudine— were given to most doctors and a three-drug combination of lamivudine, stavudine and indinavir were given to some of the doctors. None of the doctors tested positive for HIV.
Posted online: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 at 0000 hrs Anuradha Mascarenhas
New Delhi/CHENNAI, October 9: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary on the death of a student of the Chennai-based Stanley Medical College allegedly due to the unhygienic conditions on the campus.
The commission took note of a ‘Newsletter’ carried by The Indian Express on September 29, reporting that 17 students of the medical college had to be hospitalised with fever and headache. One of them, a girl student from Rajasthan said to be suffering from encephalitis (an air-borne infection), died on September 27.
Health Secretary V K Subburaj said he was yet to receive a copy of the NHRC notice but insisted that the sudden break-out of fever among hostel students at the prestigious Stanley Medical College had nothing to do with “unhygienic” conditions.
“It is normal for students to suffer from fever. We usually treat them as outpatients. It is unfortunate that one of the students died,” he said. After the students took ill, the state swung into action closing down the four hostels.
On Monday, the college dean, Mythili Bhaskaran, said there was “nothing alarming” and that the students had suffered from upper respiratory tract infection and viral fever. “Except one house surgeon, who was infected with encephalitis, there have been no other serious cases,” she said. “This is a campus consisting of 4,000 persons, including doctors, house surgeons and students, and there is nothing alarming if two persons fall ill.”