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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”


jet injectors can regularly transmit relevant volumes of blood. 

Hepatitis C's Movement for Awareness

Follow up 
Jet Injectors Capable of Transmitting Blood-Borne Pathogens


LHI in their reflective practitioner role receive many requests for advice on the prevention and control of infection and outbreaks.  These cover infection control in  hospitals and other, wider aspects of healthcare.  One example of this was recently generated in the  Infection Control Unit  and concerns the transmission of blood borne infectious agents by jet injectors.  These injectors use a high-pressure focussed jet of  fluid to provide a  needleless mechanism for penetrating skin.  They have great  potential in mass immunisation campaigns in areas of limited resources and  allow high immunisation delivery rates.  They would eliminate many  logistical problems such as the  shipping of single-use syringes and needles,   accidental contaminated needlestick injuries  to immunisation staff, and the burden of safe disposal of  sharps clinical waste. 

At the request of the World Health Organisation, we developed a laboratory model of jet injection safety that could test the capacity of jet injectors to transmit blood between injection recipients.  Hepatitis B is thought transmissible in volumes of blood as low as 10 picolitres, so a novel immunoassay (developed in conjunction with Kings College, University of London) was used that could detect these extremely low levels.  Results from the use of this model indicated jet injectors can regularly transmit relevant volumes of blood.


Use of this model under field conditions in Brazil (in conjunction with WHO and the Brazilian Ministry of Health) confirmed the laboratory model as valid. 

As a result of this work, WHO and other major users of jet injectors have reconsidered their use.  A more positive outcome of this work has been an understanding of previously unsuspected contamination mechanisms, which is enabling design of new generations of jet injector whose safety can be assessed in our model.

The Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) is the national reference centre for medical microbiology in the UK. CPHL provides specialist expertise and advice to the Regional PHLS laboratories, NHS hospital laboratories, consultants in communicable disease control, community and hospital physicians, environmental health officers, government and industry. 



March on Dc May 2004