Vol 6, No 4 (2021)
Review paper
Published online: 2021-12-15

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Occupational exposure to biological agents in Polish paramedics: a narrative review

Agnieszka Gonczaryk1, Jaroslaw Chmielewski2, Malgorzata Dziechciaz3, Izabela Wroblewska4, Jarogniew J. Luszczki5
Disaster Emerg Med J 2021;6(4):194-203.


INTRODUCTION: Research into occupational exposure to biological pathogens during medical personnel work
is to a small degree concerned with paramedics. Coming in contact with biological pathogens, like HIV, HCV
and HBV viruses, tubercle bacilli, or recently the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the workplace is a contamination risk.
This study aims to analyze the occupational exposure of paramedics to biological pathogens at work, the
possibilities of paramedics developing contagious diseases as occupational illnesses, and the prophylaxis
this involves.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The publication was prepared on the basis of a literature review of works available
in the PubMed, SCOPUS, and Google Scholar databases, and on websites of institutions functioning in the
area of public health.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE STATE OF KNOWLEDGE: In Poland, in 2020, there were 1 255 625 cases of SARSCoV-
2 registered, 3020 of which are cases found in paramedics, and 12 524 cases of Lyme borreliosis,
990 HBV cases, 942 HCV cases, 934 HIV cases. In 2020, there were 1861 occupational diseases, 504 of which
were contagious or parasitic. Approximately 37 000 needlesticks are estimated to happen every year in medical
facilities. 40% to 80% of the people who got injuries or cut in the workplace did not report the incident.
CONCLUSIONS: There is a need to implement prophylactic and preventative measures to prevent occupational
needlestick injuries and blood-borne infections amongst paramedics. Paramedics show insufficient
knowledge of their ability to apply for an occupational disease diagnosis caused by exposure to biological
pathogens present in the work environment.

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