The Impact of Unsafe Injection Practices in U.S. Healthcare Settings
More than 150,000 patients have been impacted by unsafe medical injections since 2001. Breakdowns in proper infection control practices often involve providers reusing needles, syringes or single-dose medication vials, all of which are meant for one patient and one procedure. These breaches can cause irreparable damage, exposing patients to bloodborne illnesses such as hepatitis and HIV, and to life-threatening bacterial infections. Although safe injection practices represent very basic infection control measures, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) routinely identifies and investigates outbreaks associated with deficient practices.
- CDC is aware of more than 50 outbreaks since 2001. Nearly half of these outbreaks involved transmission of hepatitis B or hepatitis C; more than half represented outbreaks of bacterial infections, most of which resulted in severe bloodstream infections.
- CDC released a table of selected outbreaks and patient notification events that occurred in a variety of settings including primary care clinics, pediatric offices, ambulatory surgical centers, pain clinics, imaging facilities, oncology clinics, and even health fairs. Read more about the impact.
- The One & Only Campaign aims to eradicate outbreaks from unsafe medical injections by raising awareness among patients and healthcare providers about proper practices. The Campaign is a public health effort produced by the SIPC, a collaboration of several medical societies, state health departments, private medical companies, and patient advocates led by the CDC and the CDC Foundation.
Through targeted education and awareness efforts, the One & Only Campaign empowers patients and healthcare providers to insist on nothing less than safe injections – every time, for every patient. Since 2009, the Campaign has developed materials for providers and patients including a clinician toolkit, a checklist, posters, a video, and a continuing education webinar. CDC and the Safe Injection Practices Coalition (SIPC) have also promoted awareness of safe injection practices at a wide variety of national and state meetings, conferences, and training activities.
Campaign outreach and activities are driven by SIPC Partners and state health department colleagues in California, Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Vermont. SIPC Partners are committed to bringing safer healthcare to everyone through the development and distribution of educational and multimedia tools for healthcare providers and patients on the issue of injection safety.
“The three-point rule is simple: Use needles, syringes, and single-dose medication vials only one time, for one patient. Patients and healthcare providers must insist on these infection control basics to avoid serious infections.”- Dr. Joseph Perz, DrPH, MA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Safe injection practices are basic but they are not optional – they are every provider’s responsibility.”- Dr. Michael Bell, MD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Patients deserve safe care. Many patients who contract infections through a reused needle, syringe, or single-dose vial are already ill and receiving treatment for cancer, chronic pain, or a host of other conditions. We must be able to count on healthcare providers to heal and protect us. When healthcare workers follow CDC’s safe injection practices, problems are prevented. I encourage patients to speak up and request One Needle, One Syringe, Only One Time.”- Evelyn McKnight, MD, HONOReform
- CDC Injection Safety
- Patient Questions for Providers
- Healthcare Provider Toolkit
- Healthcare Provider Checklist
- Single-dose/Multi-dose Vial Infographic
- Provider Brochure
- About the One & Only Campaign
- CDC Grand Rounds Presentation
- Fast Facts: Unsafe Injection Practices
- Guidelines, Position Statements, and Peer-Reviewed Articles
- Impact of Unsafe Injection Practices
- CDC Injection Safety Guidelines
- CDC Position Statement on the Use of Single-dose/Single-use Vials
- Safe Injection Practices FAQs
- CDC Grand Rounds: A Presentation of Unsafe Injection Practices
- Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP)
- National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
Research and Publications:
- Schaefer MK, Perz JF. Outbreaks of infections associated with drug diversion by healthcare personnel, United States. – Mayo Clinic Proceedings, June 2014
- Outbreak of Tsukamurella species bloodstream infection among patients at an oncology clinic, West Virginia, 2011-2012 – Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol, March 2014
- Case-control study of hepatitis B and hepatitis C in older adults: Do healthcare exposures contribute to burden of new infections? – Hepatology, March 2013
- Patient Notification for Bloodborne Pathogen Testing due to Unsafe Injection Practices in the US Health Care Settings, 2001-2011 – Medical Care, September 2012
- ‘HHS Has Taken Steps to Address Unsafe Injection Practices, but More Action Is Needed’ – GAO Report, July 2012
- ‘Invasive Staphylococcus aureus Infections Associated with Pain Injections and Reuse of Single-Dose Vials – Arizona and Delaware, 2012’ – CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, July 13, 2012