Journal List > J Korean Med Assoc > v.53(6) > 1042279

Ahn: Infectious Diseases among Healthcare Workers


The healthcare industry employs over one million workers in Korea and encompasses a usually broad spectrum of occupations and related exposures. There are so many biological exposures in healthcare settings, including blood-borne pathogens, HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, air-borne pathogens such as tuberculosis, and a wide variety of respiratory viruses. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the global burden of disease (GBD) from occupational exposure to be 40% of Hepatitis B and C infections and 2.5% of the human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections among Healthcare workers (HCWs). Some countries have used surveillance systems to monitor national trends and incidence rates of occupational infections among HCWs; identify newly emerging hazards for HCWs; assess the risk of occupational exposures and infections; and evaluate preventive measures including engineering controls, work practices, protective equipment, and post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent occupational infections. Infection control programs such as engineering control in medical facilities, immunization, post exposure prophylaxis, and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been widely introduced to reduce occupational infectious disease among HCWs. Thus some developed countries which have actively introduced infection control program have decreased incidences of occupational infectious diseases among HCWs. This study describes the epidemiologic characteristics of occupational infectious diseases among HCWs, the kinds of surveillance system to monitor infectious diseases among HCWs, and infection control measures that apply to healthcare settings.

Figures and Tables

Table 1
Healthcare Personnel Vaccination Recommendations by U.S. Public Health Service (30)
Table 2
Guideline for infection control in healthcare personnel (22)

*Food handlers should be also remain out of work with these infections.


1. Global atlas of the Health Workforce. World Health Organization (WHO). 2006.
2. Wickstrom G. The changing working conditions in health care. Journal of UOEH. 2004. 28:11–15.
3. Book of health statistics. Korean Medical Association (KMA). 2007.
4. Wilburn SQ, Eijkemans G. Preventing needlestick injuries among healthcare workers: a WHO-ICN collaboration. Int J Occup Environ Health. 2004. 10:451–456.
5. Occupational Safety and Health Resarch Institute(OSHRI). Evaluation of infectious disease in health care workers, focusing on management control of occupational safety and health system. 2006. Incheon: OSHRI;4. OSHRI Publicaton No.2005-115-594.
6. Ahn YS, Kang SK, Kim KJ. Analysis of occupational diseases compensated with the industrial accident compensation insurance from 2001 to 2003. Korean J Occup Environ Med. 2004. 16:139–154.
7. McDiarmid MA, Kessler E. The health care worker. State of the art reviews. 1997. 12:609–774.
8. West DJ. The risk of hepatitis B infection among health professionals in the United States: a review. Am J Med Sci. 1984. 287:26–33.
9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated US Public Health Service guidelines for the management of occupational exposures to HBV, HCV, and HIV and recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis. MMWR. 2001. 50:1–42.
10. Beltrami EM, Williams IT, Shapiro CN, Chamberland ME. Risk and management of blood-borne infections in health care workers. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2000. 13:385–407.
11. Alter MJ, Kruszon-Moran D, Nainan OV, McQuillan GM, Gao F, Moyer LA, Kaslow RA, Margolis HS. The prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in the United States, 1988 through 1994. N Engl J Med. 1999. 341(9):556–562.
12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommendations for follow-up of helathcare workers after occupational exposures to Hepatitis C virus. MMWR. 1998. 47:603–606.
13. National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH). Worker Health Chart Book, 2004. 2004. Cincinnati: NIOSH;40–43.
14. Cardo DM, Culver DH, Ciesielski CA, Srivastava PU, Marcus R, Abiteboul D, Heptonstall J, Ippolito G, Lot F, McKibben PS, Bell DM. A case-control study of HIV seroconversion in health care workers after percutaneous exposure Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Needlestick Surveillance Group. N Engl J Med. 1997. 337(1):1485–1490.
15. Bell DM. Occupational risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection in healthcare workers: an overview. Am J Med. 1997. 102:9–15.
16. Connor EM, Sperling RS, Gelber R, Kiselev P, Scott G, O'Sullivan MJ, VanDyke R, Bey M, Shearer W, Jacobson RL. Reduction of maternal-infant transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 with zidovudine treatment. Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group Protocol 076 Study Group. N Engl J Med. 1994. 331:1173–1180.
17. Balsley J. Efficacy of zidovudine in preventing HIV transmission from mother to infant. Am J Med. 1997. 102:45–46.
18. Russi MB, Howarth MV. Rosenstock L, editor. Occupational medicine in the health-careindustry. Textbook of clinical occupational and environmental medicine. 2005. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders;249–250.
19. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Proposed standard for occupational exposure to tuberculosis. Fed Reg. 1997. 62:541–549.
20. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidelines for preventing the transmission of mycobacterium tuberculosis in healthcare facilities, 1994. MMWR. 1994. 43:13.
21. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). TB respiratory protection program in healthcare facilities: administrator's guide. 1999. Atlanta: NIOSH;DHHS Publication NIOSH No.99-143.
22. Bolyard EA, Tablan OC, Williams WW, Pearson ML, Shapiro CN, Deitchman SD. Guideline for infection control in health care personnel, 1998. Am J Infection Control. 1998. 26:289–354.
23. Occupational Safety and Health Resarch Institute (OSHRI). . Development of needlestick injury surveillance system for health care personnel. 2009. Incheon: OSHR;60–78. OSHRI Publicaton No.2009-85-1283.
24. International Healthcare Worker Safety Center (IHWSC). EPINet report: 2007 Percutaneous injury rates. 2009. Virginia: IHWSC;1–4.
25. Jung SI, Lee CS, Park KH, Kim ES, Kim YJ, Kim GS, Lim DS, Moon JE, Min JJ, Bom HS, Jung MH, Chang YJ, Chae SL, Lee JH. Sero-epidemiology of hepatitis A virus infection among healthcare workers in Korean hospitals. J Hosp Infect. 2009. 72:251–257.
26. Ahn YS, Lim HS. Occupational Infectious Diseases among Korean Health CareWorkers Who were Compensated with Industrial AccidentCompensation Insurance from 1998 to 2004. Ind Health. 2008. 46:448–454.
27. National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety(NIOSH). Worker Health Chart Book, 2004. 2004. Cincinnati: NIOSH;178–179.
28. Korea Ministry of Labor (KMOL). The Standard of Occupational Health. 2009. Seoul: KMOL.
29. Immunization guideline for healthcare workers. Korean Society of Infectious Diseases. 2007.
30. Healthcare Personnel Vaccination Recommendations. Immunization Action Coalition. 2009.
31. Ciesielski C, Marianos D, Ou CY, Dumbaugh R, Witte J, Berkelman R, Gooch B, Myers G, Luo CC, Schochetman G. Transmission of human immunodeficiency virus in a dental practice. Ann Intern Med. 1992. 116:798–805.
32. Ou CY, Ciesielski CA, Myers G, Bandea CI, Luo CC, Korber BT, Mullins JI, Schochetman G, Berkelman RL, Economou AN. Molecular epidemiology of HIV transmission in a dental practice. Science. 1992. 256:1165–1171.
33. Lot F, Séguier JC, Fégueux S, Astagneau P, Simon P, Aggoune M, van Amerongen P, Ruch M, Cheron M, Brücker G, Desenclos JC, Drucker J. Probable transmission of HIV from an orthopedic surgeon to a patient in France. Ann Intern Med. 1999. 130:1–6.
34. Bell DM, Shapiro CN, Gooch BF. Preventing HIV transmission to patients during invasive procedures. J Public Health Dent. 1993. 53:170–173.
35. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommendations for preventing transmission of HIV and Hepatitis B virus to during exposure-prone invasive procedures. MMWR. 1991. 40:1–8.
Similar articles