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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


CERDA, Patricia et al. Exposure to occupational biological risks: Experience of a toxicology information center. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2014, vol.142, n.4, pp.443-450. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: Exposure to Biological Agents during work is an emergent type of occupational risk. Aim: To characterize occupational biological risk exposure among Chilean workers which have been registered by the Toxicology Information Center, between January 2006 and December 2009. Material and Methods: All incoming calls reporting exposure to biological agents during the studied period were analyzed. The information obtained from the caller was registered using the Communication Record Instrument of the WHO International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS INTOX). Results: In the studied period, 77 calls were received. The mean age of exposed patients was 35 ± 15 years and 57% of them were females. The most common involved agents were vaccines for veterinary use (42%) followed by Loxosceles laeta bites in 16%. The main routes of exposure were injections, cuts and needle stick injuries in 39% and stings and bites in 38%. The highest exposure rates were observed in Southern Chile due to self-inoculation of veterinary vaccines used in the salmon industry (22.7/100.000 actual workers). Fifty-eight percent of calls were from health care workers, and 51% of them were from health care facilities. Sixty percent of exposures occurred during summer and spring. There was a fourfold higher risk of calls involving women exposed to bites or stings (odds ratio (OR) 4.5 (CI95 1.5-13.9, p < 0.01). Men had a fourfold higher risk of being exposed to vaccines or medications for veterinary use (OR 4.2, CI95 1.4-12.6 p < 0.01). Conclusions: Most calls involving an exposure to a biological agent were caused by self-inoculation of veterinary medications.

Keywords : Epidemiology; Occupational Exposure; Risk; Vaccines.

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