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Post-exposure prophylaxis in resource-poor settings: review and recommendations for pre-departure risk assessment and planning for expatriate healthcare workers

Abstract

It is estimated that more than 3 million healthcare workers worldwide suffer needlestick and splash injuries whilst at work resulting in the potential transmission of blood‐borne pathogens via exposure to bodily fluids. Under‐reporting and the subsequent management of occupational injuries is a problem both in the U nited K ingdom and abroad. Many expatriate health care workers will work in low resource settings where the risk of transmission is greatest but in contrast to wealthier countries such as the U nited K ingdom, there is often a lack of effective systems for its safe management. This article provides important information about this risk and how to minimise it. The reasons for an increased risk in transmission, its subsequent management and pre‐departure planning are discussed, together with the evidence for initiation of post‐exposure prophylaxis; current N ational and I nternational guidelines as well as the urgent need for International standardisation of these is also discussed.

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