A 12-YEAR-OLD boy has suffered a needlestick injury while playing at his inner Brisbane city school, sparking fear among parents their children could catch HIV.
Parents at Brisbane Central State School, which is next to a homeless shelter, are also upset they weren’t all told about the incident, which involved three students.
The Courier-Mail has confirmed at least one of the students underwent blood tests at the Royal Children’s Hospital and was cleared of any infection, but was given immunisations as a result of the rusty needle.
The 12-year-old boy said he was pricked on the thumb after he picked up the syringe, which had a sheath on it, to show a teacher after telling a younger student to put it down.
It is understood hospital staff only saw the needle prick only after applying pressure to the boy’s thumb.
Brisbane Central State School principal Melissa Burke said three boys found the needle behind the basketball courts during their first break on Monday at 11.25am.
She said while syringes had been found on school grounds in the past it was not a common occurrence and ground staff conducted daily sweeps.
“The students, in Years 2, 5 and 7, told a teacher aide – the school’s Workplace Health and Safety Officer – they received a pin prick from the needle so immediate first aid was applied and their hands were also sanitised,” Ms Burke said.
“The school contacted each student’s parents and suggested that they take their child to see their doctor as a precautionary measure.
“Students were advised of the incident at an assembly on Tuesday and were provided with important safety information about what to do if they find a needle.”
She said all parents would be notified about the incident today in the newsletter.
“The school’s highest priority was ensuring the safety of the particular students involved and informing their parents immediately,” she said.
But parents yesterday, who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were upset to hear about the incident from their children rather than the school and were concerned about drug users on St Paul’s Terrace or a nearby homeless shelter throwing them into school grounds.
“Something’s going to happen; IT’s a ticking time bomb,” one parent said.
“I don’t want to read about a child that’s caught HIV from such needles, and that’s them for the rest of their lives. Or it could be hep B or C?”
Salvation Army Major Rick Hoffmann said Pindari, a homeless shelter with a no alcohol and no drugs policy, had not been contacted by the school about the incident but they had increased their night patrols and were now looking into a buying an additional night vision camera.
Pindari also has syringe bins for diabetics.
Predictably, the fear which follows a sharps injury such as this can be worse than the reality of bloodborne virus infection. While we would not wish to diminish in any way, and certainly never to dismiss, that fear let’s hope that’s all it is and that in the longer term no harm is done.