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Special Issue "Infectious Diseases in the Workplace"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Occupational Safety and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2022 | Viewed by 2964

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Anna Garus-Pakowska
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Medical University of Łódź, 90-419 Łódź, Poland
Interests: epidemiology; infectious diseases; occupational medicine; public health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A Special Issue on “Infectious diseases in the workplace” is being organized in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. For detailed information on the journal, please refer to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph.

Despite scientific achievements in the form of disinfectants, antibiotics and perhaps the most important preventive vaccinations, an increasing percentage of workers are exposed to infectious agents in the workplace. Biological agents include viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, and they can cause health problems both directly and through exposure to related allergens and toxins.

Work-related exposure to biological agents can cause many health problems, including infectious diseases, allergies and cancer.

Workers in certain economic sectors, such as healthcare and veterinary services, agriculture, wastewater management, and laboratories, are particularly vulnerable. They can work directly with microorganisms or be exposed to them through contact, for example, with body fluids or soil. But not only they are at risk. Certainly, there is no microbial-free profession, every contact with another person is associated with the exchange of bacterial flora. The risk of contamination in the workplace increased further during the covid pandemic. When the source of exposure to a biological agent is known, adverse health effects can be relatively easily prevented. Managing the risks associated with an unknown source is definitely more difficult.

The subject of this special issue is intended for exposure to healthcare workers, but not only. Infectious occupational diseases are diagnosed among teachers, policemen, soldiers, and others.

I cordially invite you to send manuscripts for the special issue "Infectious diseases in the workplace" related to:

  • Epidemiology of infectious diseases in the workplace (airborne diseases, e.g. tuberculosis, covid-19; blood-borne diseases, e.g. HCV, HBV, HIV), and others;
  • A risk factor for infectious diseases in the workplace (direct contact, injuries with sharp tools);
  • Occupational risk assessment (hazard prevention and management);
  • Promotion of safety at the workplace (training for safety, procedures, vaccination, safe medical devices);
  • psychological aspects of occupational diseases - fatigue, stress, burnout in connection with exposure to pathogens in the workplace

Prof. Dr. Anna Garus-Pakowska
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • occupational health
  • exposure
  • infectious diseases
  • injury
  • risk factors
  • risk assessment
  • prevention
  • protective equipment
  • safety
  • healthcare workers
  • workers
  • workplace
  • vaccination

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Biological Factors in the Workplace—Current Threats to Employees, the Effects of Infections, Prevention Options
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5592; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095592 - 05 May 2022
Viewed by 512
Abstract
Infectious diseases or communicable diseases are spread from person to person by various routs [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infectious Diseases in the Workplace)

Research

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Article
Worker Protection Scenarios for General Analytical Testing Facility under Several Infection Propagation Risks: Scoping Review, Epidemiological Model and ISO 31000
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12001; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912001 - 22 Sep 2022
Viewed by 237
Abstract
Infectious disease is a risk threating industrial operations and worker health. In gastrointestinal disease cases, outbreak is sporadic, and propagation is often terminated within certain populations, although cases in industrial sites are continuously reported. The ISO 31000 international standard for risk management, an [...] Read more.
Infectious disease is a risk threating industrial operations and worker health. In gastrointestinal disease cases, outbreak is sporadic, and propagation is often terminated within certain populations, although cases in industrial sites are continuously reported. The ISO 31000 international standard for risk management, an epidemiological triad model, and a scoping review were the methods used to establish response procedures (scenarios) to protect workers from the risk of the propagation of a gastrointestinal disease. First, human reservoirs and transmission routes were identified as controllable risk sources based on a scoping review and the use of a triad model. Second, the possibility of fomite- or surface-mediated transmission appeared to be higher based on environmental characterization. Thus, the propagation could be suppressed using epidemiological measures categorized by reservoirs (workers) or transmission routes during a primary case occurrence. Next, using results of a matrix, a strengths–weaknesses–opportunities–threats analysis and a scoping review, the risk treatment option was determined as risk taking and sharing. According to epidemiology of gastrointestinal infections, systematic scenarios may ensure the efficacy of propagation control. Standardized procedures with practicality and applicability were established for categorized scenarios. This study converged ISO 31000 standards, an epidemiological model, and scoping review methods to construct a risk management scenario (non-pharmaceutical intervention) optimized for the unique characteristics of a specific occupational cluster. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infectious Diseases in the Workplace)
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Article
Non-Safety and Safety Device Sharp Injuries—Risk of Incidents, SEDs Availability, Attitudes and Perceptions of Nurses According to Cross-Sectional Survey in Poland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(18), 11315; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191811315 - 08 Sep 2022
Viewed by 405
Abstract
Sharp injuries are a serious issue among healthcare workers (HCWs). The aim of the study was to examine the frequency of sharps injuries among nurses (who have the most frequent contact with infectious material) when using devices with and without safety features, then [...] Read more.
Sharp injuries are a serious issue among healthcare workers (HCWs). The aim of the study was to examine the frequency of sharps injuries among nurses (who have the most frequent contact with infectious material) when using devices with and without safety features, then to analyse the factors associated with such injuries and to compare the risk of injuries with safety engineered devices (SEDs) and non-safety engineered devices (non-SEDs). An online cross-sectional survey was completed between October 2021 and March 2022 by 280 nurses. The incidence of exposure to sharp injury during their professional life was 51.4%. The percentage of nurses experiencing a sharp injury in the year preceding the study was 29% and 9.6% for superficially and deep injury, respectively. Ampoules and conventional hollow-bore needles caused the most injuries (25.92% and 22.64% of nurses in the last year). Factors including sex (males), age and seniority (elderly), education (higher), work exhaustion and being left-handed were associated with the occurrence of conventional hollow-bore needle injuries. In the case of SEDs: age, seniority and right/left-handed were the most frequent risk factors associated with the occurrence of sharp injuries. SEDs injuries were much less frequent than non-SEDs. There was a significant difference between the risk of injuries with safety and non-safety needles, central cannulas and ampoules. Fisher’s exact test (p-value = 0.000) and positive Spearman’s rho statistics (0.2319, p-value = 0.0001) confirmed that in accredited hospitals, the availability of safety needles was higher. Almost half of the nurses (n = 115, 41.07%) stated that staff had little influence on the type of medical sharp instruments supplied. To reduce the risk of nurse injuries, access to medical devices with safe protection mechanisms should be ensured, the use of sharp instruments should be limited where possible, managers should consult nurses regarding the choice of safe devices, and training programs on the proper use of SEDs should be available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infectious Diseases in the Workplace)
Article
Prevention from Sharp Injuries in the Hospital Sector: An Italian National Observatory on the Implementation of the Council Directive 2010/32/EU before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 11144; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191711144 - 05 Sep 2022
Viewed by 616
Abstract
Sharp injuries, determining the risk of bloodborne infections and psychological distress in healthcare workers, may be prevented by a set of strategies, legally enforced in Europe through the Directive 2010/32/EU. To assess its level of implementation in Italy, a national survey was conducted [...] Read more.
Sharp injuries, determining the risk of bloodborne infections and psychological distress in healthcare workers, may be prevented by a set of strategies, legally enforced in Europe through the Directive 2010/32/EU. To assess its level of implementation in Italy, a national survey was conducted in 2017 and again in 2021, evaluating the progress and possible drawbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Altogether, 285 safety managers and 330 nurses from a representative sample of 97 and 117 public hospitals were interviewed using a standardized questionnaire. Knowledge of the Directive requirements decreased significantly, with <60% of participants answering correctly in 2021, and nurses’ attendance in specific courses dropped to 25% in 2021 compared to 54% in 2017. Over 75% of hospitals introduced multiple safety-engineered devices (SED), though total replacement occurred in <50% of cases; routine SED availability increased for blood collection (89%) and venous access devices (83%). Incorrect behaviors in handling sharps decreased significantly over time. Nurses’ HBV vaccination coverage was high (89% in both surveys); in the last year, 97% were vaccinated against COVID, and 47% against influenza. Average annual injuries per hospital did not increase significantly (32 in 2021 vs. 26 in 2017). In 2017, nurses’ perceived safety barriers were working in emergency situations (49%) and lack of resources (40%); in 2021, understaffing (73%), physical fatigue (62%), and handling difficulties while wearing full protective equipment (59%). Safety measures were implemented in Italian hospitals, and although the average injuries per hospital did not show a decrease, these measures could have helped protect healthcare workers during the pandemic, mitigating its potential impact on the increase in situations at risk of injury. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infectious Diseases in the Workplace)
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Article
A Retrospective Cross-Sectional Study on the Risk of Getting Sick with COVID-19, the Course of the Disease, and the Impact of the National Vaccination Program against SARS-CoV-2 on Vaccination among Health Professionals in Poland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7231; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127231 - 13 Jun 2022
Viewed by 631
Abstract
Six months after starting the National Vaccination Program against COVID-19, a cross-sectional retrospective study was conducted among 1200 salaried and non-salaried healthcare workers (HCWs) in Poland. Its aim was to assess factors including the risk of exposure to COVID-19, experiences with COVID-19, the [...] Read more.
Six months after starting the National Vaccination Program against COVID-19, a cross-sectional retrospective study was conducted among 1200 salaried and non-salaried healthcare workers (HCWs) in Poland. Its aim was to assess factors including the risk of exposure to COVID-19, experiences with COVID-19, the trust in different sources of knowledge about the pandemic and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, and the government campaign on vaccination as predictors of vaccination acceptance. The strongest awareness of a high risk of work-associated infection was demonstrated by doctors (D) (72.6%) and nurses and midwives (N) (64.8%); however, almost half of the medical students (MS) and nursing and midwifery students (NS) did not identify as a risk group. Out of several dozen variables related to sociodemographic characteristics and personal experience of COVID-19, only occupation, previous COVID-19 infection, and high stress seemed to significantly influence vaccination acceptance. Interestingly, only 6.7% of respondents admitted that the government campaign impacted their decision to vaccinate. This result is not surprising considering that the vast majority of respondents (87.8%) learned about vaccinations from sources such as academic lectures (29.9%), health professionals (29.0%), or the internet (28.9%). Those who gained information about vaccination from traditional media (radio, television, and daily press), a popular platform of the government campaign, had a lower propensity to vaccinate (OR = 0.16, p < 0.001). Additionally, almost twice as many considered the information provided in the campaign to be unreliable. Our findings, from this retrospective study, do not confirm that the government campaign was effective for healthcare professionals. Therefore, in this group, other forms of vaccination incentives should be sought. However, the vaccinated respondents were significantly more likely to support compulsory vaccination against COVID-19 among health professionals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infectious Diseases in the Workplace)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Healthcare workers and hospital infections
Authors: Jadwiga Wójkowska-Mach
Affiliation: Jagiellonian University Medical College, 31-121 Kraków, Poland

Title: Handwashing and hand disinfection in healthcare settings
Authors: Anna Różańska
Affiliation: Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków, Poland.

Title: Psychological aspects of infectious occupational disease
Authors: Paweł Rasmus
Affiliation: Department of Medical Psychology, Medical University of Lodz, 90-131 Lodz, Poland

Title: Microbiological hazards in the work environment
Authors: John Boyce
Affiliation: Department of Medicine, Hospital of Saint Raphael, New Haven, CT.

Title: The prevalence of vaccinations among soldiers and military employees in 2018-2021
Authors: Magdalena Zawadzka, Izabela Winnicka
Affiliation: Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Poland

Title: STRESS IN HEALTHCARE WORKERS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW
Authors: Krzysztof Pękala; Paweł Rasmus
Affiliation: Medical University of Lodz

Title: An infectious disease in the workplace. Employer's obligations as rights and freedoms of the employee
Authors: Jakub Rzymowski
Affiliation: Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego

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