A new and updated version of the PHE publication Eye of the Needle: United Kingdom Surveillance of Significant Occupational Exposures to Bloodborne Viruses in Healthcare Workers is published this month.

Available for download here.

The Royal College of Nursing has commented in the way of all other Trades Unions, to highlight the continued risk of exposure of nursing staff to bloodborne viruses from sharps injuries, with figures [from Eye of the Needle] showing a rise in staff reporting these incidents.

This is despite the availability of safety-engineered devices and new rules promoting their use, noted Public Health England in its Eye of the Needle report.

It found the number of staff exposed to bloodborne viruses via sharps injuries increased by a third from 373 in 2004 to 496 in 2013. Around 80% of the 4,830 incidents reported over the period involved doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants.

Of course, the RCN make the strong case for their members but do not make comparisons on an entirely direct level field since, as they allude to albeit obliquely, reporting rates are now considerably increased such that the reported rise rate of injury may be more apparent than real.

It is important to highlight that many NHS Trusts are still dragging their heels in the implementation of safety-engineered sharps safety devices.

If that legally required but now overdue roll-out of safety sharps were to be completed, the incidence of sharps injuries might be reduced considerably. It might also help ancillary and support staff, and waste handlers, all of whom are unrepresented in the PHE report, who suffer sharps injury from carelessly discarded sharps that find their way to waste sacks.

As we have noted previously on the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum, sharps injury to ancillary and support staff, when estimated against number of persons employed, is around 10x greater than for nurses and up to 30x greater than for physicians.

Take care, take great care!



HBlood_Spatterealthcare Workers Still Vulnerable to ‘Splash and Splatter’

In an informative piece in the Conference News section of Medscape, Caroline Helwick reports on a presentation by Amber Mitchell from Vestagen Technical Textiles, in Orlando, Florida, on the hazards and infection risk of splashes and splutter to healthcare workers.

Blood splash exposures to the mouth and eyes of waste handlers, and thus to healthcare housekeeping and ancillary handling healthcare wastes, is a far greater problem than is generally recognised.

At the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum we make no apology for banging on about this. We have been trying for more than 8 years now to raise awareness of this potent infection transmission route. We will not change from that position in the years to come.

Handling clinical/healthcare/offensive/sanitary wastes, call them what you will, requires care at all times, to prevent exposure by sharps injury, contamination of pre-existing cuts, grazes and eczematous lesions, and via the mouth or eyes. In these latter cases, contamination may be direct, or indirect with contamination occurring from contaminated soiled, PPE or unwashed (inadequately washed) hands.

The health, safety and welfare of support staff is of prime importance, and hopefully Amber Mitchell’s work will help get the ball rolling, to raise awareness of the need for higher standards of occupational safety and hygiene that goes far beyond provision of a pair of gloves.




Recycling and waste management business Veolia is investing £1 million in cyclist safety equipment for its fleet of refuse vehicles.

Some good news for a change, especially for cyclists.

The TurnAlarm system, from Vision Techniques, will be fitted to all refuse vehicles, in a bid to improve cyclist safety. Veolia is also specifying the system for all new vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.

TurnAlarm delivers an audible and visual warning to approaching cyclists, with high-intensity LEDs flashing from the side of the vehicle and an audible warning that the ‘vehicle is turning’.

Veolia’s system also includes a module to measure speed, preventing the alarm from activating if the vehicle is travelling at more than 10mph. Blind spot signs will also be displayed on the rear and near side of each vehicle.

The company is also rolling out cyclist awareness training for its drivers, which will be completed by September 2015.

See more at: http://www.transportengineer.org.uk/transport-engineer-news/veolia-invests-1m-in-cyclist-safety-equipment-for-refuse-fleet/65902/


Well done, Veolia. Others please follow.




Nearly three quarters of sharps purchased by trusts in England in 2014 do not have safety mechanisms designed to prevent needlestick injuries

Nearly three quarters of sharps purchased by trusts in England in 2014 do not have safety mechanisms designed to prevent needlestick injuries, research by Unison suggests. In response to an inquiry from the union, the NHS Supply Chain revealed that only 28 per cent of sharps devices ordered by trusts were safety devices. This is despite an EU directive introduced in May 2013 that says employers must implement preventive measures to protect healthcare workers from needlestick injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive estimates that as many as 100,000 sharps injuries, which can expose staff to risk of blood-borne infections such as HIV and hepatitis, occur among healthcare workers annually.

Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: ‘100,000 injuries each year is far too many, causing health workers to worry about possible long-term ill heath, and causing deep distress. ‘Health staff work in frantic and highly stressful environments. It is crucial their equipment provides them with adequate protection,’ she added.

Most sharps pose safety risk to staff. Nursing Standard. (2014) 29(7), p.10

Latest Shooting Up report focuses on the changing nature of injecting drug use

The 12th annual report on infections among people who inject drugs (PWID) in the United Kingdom – Shooting Up – has been published by Public Health England.

PWID are vulnerable to a wide range of infections – including those caused by viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B and C, and bacteria such as botulism and group A streptococci – that can cause significant morbidity and mortality. The report examines the extent of infections and the associated risks among PWID under six headings:

Hepatitis C levels are still high

Continue reading “Shooting Up: updated information concerning infection in UK drug users” »

Needle with drop of bloodThere have been increasing numbers of reports concerning attacks using a hypodermic needle as a weapon.

Presently, Gateshead police are investigating as woman is stabbed with needle in what is described as “a terrifying assault”.

Officers have stepped up patrols in the Newbury Avenue area of Gateshead following the bizarre and frightening attack

A woman was assaulted when a man bumped into her and struck her with a suspected needle. The incident happened at 7.50am, on Saturday, as the 27-year-old victim walked down an alleyway in the Newbury Avenue area of Gateshead.

The suspect bumped into her and walked off, leaving the woman with a sharp pain in her side. She then discovered an injury consistent with a needle stick, and attended the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead for treatment. She has since been released.

Northumbria Police are investigating.

Detective Inspector Dave Swinburne, from the force’s major crime team, said: “This is quite an unusual incident but has obviously left the victim incredibly shaken.

“We are carrying out further enquiries to trace the man responsible.

“I’d urge anyone who may have been in the area at the time and passed the man to contact us.

“We have extra officers in the area to provide reassurance to residents and I’d urge anyone with concerns to speak to them.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, extension 69191, quoting log number 669 11/10/14 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


see also Hunt for Birmingham needle attacker



Sharps-proof or needlestick gloves are vitally important in safe healthcare waste management.

Gloves should be appropriately sized and fit well. Between use, gloves should be aired, if necessary wiped with a medicated tough wipe, and stored with care as the external surfaces may well be contaminated. Worn or defective gloves must be replaced immediately.

Good quality needlestick gloves are expensive, and in regular use their working life ay be rather limited. So it was a surprise to see an advert on Criagslist for a second hand pair of TurtleSkin Gloves.


What is amazing is the audacity of offering a WORN pair or gloves. More particularly, its only the left hand that has been used for several weeks. It shows signs of wear, but be assured that “the right side is 100% not used”.

Suitable for a one-armed waste handler perhaps? Or just second-hand safety?




How secure are your sharps containers? Whether they are in a hospital clinic room or ward, a laboratory, GP surgery or in a public washroom or drug hotspot, sharps containers must be secure.

Containers must be securely assembled. When not in use, the closure should be engaged, though personally I am not entirely happy with the idea of the cover being opened and closed every 5 minutes since with some containers this brings fingers dangerously close to the content within.

The container itself must be located away from the floor where inquisitive children might roam. The evidence for this lies in the number of cases when an unsupervised child has gleefully placed their hand into the mouth of a sharps container as if pulling a prize from a lucky dip barrel.

So it is of concern that in London, Ontario, changes are being sought when it comes to the placement of the city’s needle collection bins after a child was able to grab a used syringe.

Diane Pozeg says the incident happened on July 29th while her son was in the public washroom at the Forks of the Thames while he was with a day camp.

Sharps containers are used to safely collect and store used syringes with needles attached, needles, razor blades, broken glass that has come into contact with blood or other bodily fluids and lancets. The London CAReS program, funded through the City of London, helps to clean and empty the bins and some City of London operations staff also tend to the containers.

She says the young boy was changing in order to play in the splash pad and managed to get his hand into the bin and pull out a syringe.

Pozeg says her son was able to get the needle all the way home where she found it as she was about to tuck him into bed.

“As I was prepping his bed, just fluffing up the sheets, I found a syringe and luckily it still had a cap on it,” Pozeg says. “He had kind of snuck it in there trying to hide it.”

“It just popped out and it just floored me finding it.”



Every sharps container must be properly assembled, and securely located in a location where it cannot tip or fall, and where prying hands cannot reach inside. This extends to waste security of filled and sealed containers awaiting collection for disposal, which are still an occasional target for addicts, and beyond as the containers are processed by the disposal sector operators.



Needle with drop of bloodOn the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum we have often reported on needle finds in a diversity of locations. Parks and gardens, playgrounds, car parks, alleyways and beaches etc are commonly affected locations. Though we will continue to report those which we believe carry some particular interest or learning point there are so many of these, occurring daily, that it no longer becomes newsworthy unless these happen to involve your own locality.

So now, it becomes not where, but how many?

And to kick things off, how about the Birmingham park from where volunteers picked up no less than 700 needles!

More than 700 needles have been found during a community clean-up of a Birmingham park.

Empty bottles of methadone were also found among the narcotics gear at Highgate Park by volunteers who spent ten weeks clearing the grounds to “restore some pride” to the neighbourhood.

The abundance of dangerous drugs paraphernalia prompted one exasperated visitor, called ‘Neil’, to leave a note to addicts pleading with them to stop.”


Continue reading “How many?” »

On the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum, we have reported many individual incidents of carelessly discarded used needles, thrown into the undergrowth or worse into soft sand, in church yards and playgrounds, and on occasions used as an offensive weapon.

This on ranks high on the list of weird:

“A bizarre story out of Powell County where a woman is accused of trying to hide a used needle in a teenager’s pants while running from police.

Stanton Police say 26-year-old Nicki Jones tried to hide a used needle in a teenager’s pants in order to prevent being caught with it by police, who were already hot on her heels due to an active warrant for her arrest.

16-year-old Brenda Compton says she and a friend were sitting in the breezeway at Pinecreek Apartments when they were startled by a stranger who had a very strange request.

“She came running through the hallway and told me to hide the needle. We freaked out and I told her that I wasn’t going to hide anything for her,” said Brenda Compton, who describes the experience as terrifying. “She pulled my pants down and was trying to stick the needle down my pants.”

Thankfully, the needle was capped.”




It’s not long ago that the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum made mention of the considerable IV drug abuse problems in Dundee and the mapping strategies that are being used to combat the problem.

Further news from the city paints a poor picture:


Action on discarded needle danger in Dundee

Experts tackling Dundee’s drug problem want more information about where needles are discarded throughout the city.

The number of victims of needle injuries — often children who come to grief while playing — has sparked public outrage especially in the affected communities.

The problem resurfaced only last month when a young girl suffered a needlestick injury in Ardler. Two days later in the same spot medicine bottles, syringes, spoon packs and empty syringe wrappers were found.

Louise Kerr, whose 10-year-old daughter Tia, sustained the needle wound, said: “They don’t care if they’re putting children at risk, be it their own, or anyone else’s. If they have a drug addiction that’s their problem, but they can’t put other people’s lives at risk.”

Needle wielding drug addict jailed for Dundee salon robbery

A beauty therapist has spoken of the terrifying moment a needle wielding drug addict robbed her newly opened business.

Margaret McManus told of her horror when Christopher Rennie thrust an uncapped hypodermic in the face of her colleague, hairdresser Rachel Burns, at their Meadowside premises Midas Touch.

Rennie, 30, a prisoner at Perth Prison, was sentenced to three years in prison for the assault and robbery on June 12.

Dundee boy,  6, finds used needle in his   garden

A Dundee father has expressed his disgust after his young son picked up a used needle while playing outside his home.

Six-year-old Andrew Cox had been outside his family’s Douglas home when he stumbled upon a discarded syringe.

Dad Andrew, 35, said: “His mum was in the close hanging out the washing and Andrew was running around playing. He came across this needle and, not knowing what it was, picked it up to show his mum.”





An NHS Trust has agreed to pay £75k to a nurse whose marriage broke down after she developed OCD when she was pricked by needle at work.

The trainee nurse has been awarded over £75,000 compensation after a prick on her finger at work transformed her into a cleaning obsessive. Alcinda Tobbal could not kiss or make love to her husband for fear of ‘contamination’ after being jabbed with a dirty needle whilst working as a nurse assistant at Whipps Cross Hospital in east London
The 45-year-old developed a ‘severe’ obsessive compulsive disorder focused on cleanliness after the incident in February 2008, a court heard.

She was dismissed from her job due to the effects of the extreme OCD condition, which saw her wearing gloves even in baking hot weather and scrubbing her children’s shoes with bleach whenever they had been outside.

But the most damaging aspect of her condition was that she became incapable of having intimate relations with, or even kissing, her bus driver husband, leading to the disintegration of their marriage, after he dubbed her ‘mental’. Continue reading “NHS pays £75k to nurse who developed OCD after sharps injury” »

Make Your Own Sharps ContainerWe are repeatedly instructed by the Environment Agency to follow the American standards for aspects of clinical waste management and in particular waste treatment validations. The problem is, certain individuals within the Environment Agency have been bedazzled by the American way, and no doubt by their expenses-paid trips to see for themselves.

Science goes out of the window, and dare not be used in objection to a rigid regimen of regulation since the American way is THE way. Even when it goes wrong and exceptions arise, a quiet diversion is approved ‘on the nod’ but rarely discussed, handed down as if a gift of the gods to be accepted with grace. And don’t dare mention that it contradicts all that might have gone before.

But the generality of “America knows best” is not a sentiment to which I can concur.

The latest cones from the American Diabetes Association and their magazine Diabetes Forecast, The Healthy Living Magazine. Noting that there are no national regulations to tell people how and where to get rid of sharps, the magazine goes on to explain how to make your own sharps container. It’s better than nothing, but that’s not good enough.

We should not overlook the reality that in the absence of any better sharps bin product, this approach is better than nothing. But the standards of clinical waste management across US vary considerably, and much will make your toes curl.

This latest ‘recommendation’ for a DIY sharps bin shows how poor standards of US waste safety really are.

America knows best?  Not always!





Needle with drop of bloodNeedle exchange schemes are a great idea. They permit drug use to be monitored, prevent disease transmission by needle sharing, and reduce dramatically the incidence of discarded needles causing problems in the community.

Regrettably, and perhaps understandably, some residents can’t see past those benefits and would prefer that any needle exchange scheme was in someone else’s back yard. Still others object simply to public money, their money, being spent to support the evils of drug abuse. That is their opinion, but if in no other that a purely financial way they should realise that they have got the equation entirely wrong.

These local residents are perhaps in the former group, but still take to the streets to oppose a local needle exchange scheme – even one that doesn’t exist!

Read more at the Swindon Advertiser



Kevlar inventor Stephanie KwoleyStephanie Kwolek, the inventor of Kevlar — the aramid-fiber body armor that has saved countless lives of soldiers, police and other safety personnel — died June 18, following a brief illness. She was 90.

A low-key industrial chemist at DuPont Co who achieved international fame, Kwolek discovered Kevlar in the mid-1960s. DuPont commercialized it in 1971. Kevlar most famously goes into bulletproof vests, but it also is used to make super-strong rope, protective gloves for meatpackers, fiber-optic cables and as a reinforcement for composites used in a host o f products.

Kwolek was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1997 — she is still the only woman in the hall today. That same year, she received the prestigious Perkin Medal from the Society of Chemical Industry’s American Section. Kwolek entered the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1995. She also is a member of the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame. In 1996, she received the National Medal of Technology in a White House ceremony.

Kevlar aramid fibers are, by weight, five times stronger than steel. Continue reading “Stephanie Kwolek, the inventor of Kevlar dies at 90” »

Exeter recycling

More than 2,100 needles were collected last year at the Exeter recycling plant

Discarded hypodermic syringes brought Exeter’s rubbish recycling plant to a halt 869 times last year.

The stoppages happened after needles were thrown into green recycling bins and ended up on a conveyor for sorting.

Each stoppage may last only a few minutes, but staff estimate that the plant lost a week’s productivity because of the problem last year.

Only one of the 20 sorters has been pricked by a needle and was tested negative for infections like HIV.

The city council’s street cleaners and gardeners are picking up about 50 used needles a day

“They never know when a used hypodermic needle is going to suddenly appear in front of them”

An emergency bell is rung each time a needle is spotted and disposed of in a special container.

Continue reading “Needles halt recycling plant’s picking line 869 times” »

A five-year-old schoolboy was jabbed by a heroin addict’s needle which was thrown into his school’s play area minutes before break time yesterday.

The child, who attends North Presentation primary school on the north side of Cork City, picked it up unaware of the danger and was jabbed in the hand, puncturing his skin.

Principal Kathleen Haverty said teachers became aware of the incident immediately, contacted the boy’s parents, and a member of staff accompanied them to the Mercy University Hospital where the boy underwent a series of tests.

He and his family now face an anxious wait for results to see if he has contracted any diseases from the dirty needle.

[read more]

That anxious wait is where the trouble starts. The child’s parents and extended family, the school staff and other parents who have children at that school will all now fear the consequences of this injury, irrespective of what we must hope will be a safe and uneventful period of vigilance without the horrors of bloodborne virus infection.





Breaking newsbbc_news

An 11-year-old boy has been arrested after parents complained children had been jabbed with a diabetes finger-prick pen at school.

Police said they had identified at least 20 children they believed had been jabbed at Moreton Community School in Wolverhampton.

Public health officials have been told and pupils have been advised to have precautionary hepatitis injections.

The child was arrested in Low Hill and bailed until July.

‘Gravity required’

Head teacher Carl Williams said: “We take the health, wellbeing and safety of all our students extremely seriously and we have worked closely with the health experts from Public Health England and the local NHS to advise on the best course of action for the students affected.

“We would like to assure all parents and guardians that we are treating this incident with the gravity required.”

The BBC understands the diabetes finger-prick pen belonged to a parent.

‘Wellbeing of students’

Low Hill neighbourhood police co-ordinator Steve Perry confirmed they received three reports on Tuesday from parents saying children at the Old Fallings Lane school had been jabbed with the pen.

“It has a needle ‘nib’ just 3mm in length so none of the children are seriously hurt and public health officials have advised that the chance of infection is negligible,” he said.

Letters have been sent out to parents of the year seven pupils affected, telling them what they need to do, as well as parents of other pupils to keep them informed.

Dr David Kirrage consultant at the West Midlands West Health Protection Team said: “We have been working closely with the school to advise the best course of action, to ensure the continued health and wellbeing of students involved in the incident.

“We have been liaising with NHS colleagues including the A&E department at New Cross Hospital. We are also contacting local GPs as the students receiving an initial vaccine from A&E will need a couple of follow-up vaccinations from their own family doctor, one and two months after the incident.”


Just what is it about kids, that they find needles so attractive to touch, to pick up, to play with, and when the opportunity arises to stick themselves or each other with them?





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.



The news media today are headlining the dramatic rise of drug abuse and needle sharing in gyms and sports clubs across the UK, and proposals by NICE to install needle exchange programs within the gym to prevent spread of bloodborne virus disease.

NICE have updated their draft guidelines and slowly, PHE staff will be including high street gyms in their scope of operation while existing needle exchange schemes, often voluntary or charity-funded, will expand to include some gyms in their sphere of operation.

Steroid abuse is rife in gyms. Needle finds in the toilets of even the shiny brand-name gyms has been a problem for cleaners and maintenance staff but has been hushed up to avoid sullying the healthy reputation of the gymnasium. Any help will be invaluable, though ultimately if these pumped up idiots stopped taking illegal and unregulated steroid products their health would be better still. However, , it happens and this new publicity can help if it followed rapidly be those needle exchange schemes and not suppressed by the gym owners, keen to maintain their clean image.

Though there are crime issues involved in the illegal manufacture, distribution and supply of these anabolic steroids and other injectables used as tanning enhancers, safety and protection of public health is ever more important.

Nonetheless, the abuse of injectable drugs is now rife and initiatives such as needle exchange schemes are essential in order to stop the spread of bloodborne virus disease.

This suggests that sharps bins and subsequent disposal should be appropriate for pharmaceutical waste disposal, though colour coding of sharps bins, with the exception of purple-lidded bins for cytotoxics, seems to have fallen largely into disarray.


see also http://www.ianblenkharn.com/?p=6438
see also Further drug abuse in sports and gymnasia
see also Muscle bound sharps users

…and so on!

Indeed, if you search this site for the word GYM you will find much more. Looking back through the archive files you will find much more, going way back to late 2006 when the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum first raised this observation which has subsequently grown massively, to become something of a global health issue.




“A 2-year-old girl became the second child reported to be stuck by a “dirty needle” in Rolla, Missouri in the last seven weeks.

“According to the Rolla Police Department’s daily media log, an entry for Sunday, April 6, stated that the girl was “stuck in her left palm with a ‘dirty needle’ while playing in her front yard” in the 900 block of Fourth Street.

“According to Rolla police, a 12-year-old boy was stuck in the arm by a “dirty needle” after he and another 12-year-old boy started playing with several used hypodermic syringes they found Feb. 21 in the 1000 block of Laguille Court near Mark Twain Elementary School.

“A post from Sunday on the police department’s Facebook page states that “drug users (who also carry communicable diseases) would rather throw their used contaminated needles in conspicuous places so they don’t get busted by the police for being in ‘possession of drug paraphernalia.’ The problem is when we have heavy rains like we had a few days ago those needles float out of those places and into places where children can find them.

Read more: http://www.therolladailynews.com/article/20140407/News/140408881#ixzz2yHy9yJbm

See also 2-year old stuck by discarded needle



A Strabane schoolgirl has had an apparently lucky escape after falling onto a discarded syringe needle while walking home from school.

The horrifying incident happened close to the town’s St Mary’s Primary School. The 12-year-old was on her way home from an after-school club when she tripped and fell. She landed on the needle, cutting her hand.

Her anguished mother took her to Altnagelvin hospital on Friday where tests were carried out. They have since come back clear. Examinations of the needle have also indicated that it was clean and had not been previously used.

See more at: http://ulsterherald.com/2014/04/07/schoolgirl-falls-on-discarded-needle/#sthash.ugU19FYV.dpuf

Sadly, that’s not quite the end of it, since there remains a 6-9 month period during which the risk, however small, may continue. The girl may leave A&E with just a plaster covering a cut or puncture site but the risk of infection, and the even greater risk of post-traumatic anxiety focussed upon the risk of infection, cannot so easily be dismissed.

Let’s hope the girl and her family, who can be similarly and perhaps more severely affected, will by OK.




A 2-year old girl was ‘jabbed’ in the palm of her hand – penetrating her skin – after picking the needle up from the floor of a toilet at the MacDonald’s restaurant in the Castlemilk district of Glasgow.

Mum reported that the little girl had picked the needle up from the floor of a toilet in the restaurant, and was later assessed at Glasgow Victoria Infirmary.

I wonder how this incident will impact on the overall mapping of sharps finds across Scottish cities, and if that system pas finds on private land and in domestic or commercial premises. Probably not.

see Thousands of syringes on Scotland’s streets




Dozens of dirty needles were discovered by a dog walker on a riverbank, prompting fears for the safety of passers-by.

Andree Wood, a nurse from Grangetown in Cardiff, takes her three-year-old pooch Lilly for a walk under Penarth bridge at Taff Embankment twice a day – but said she has never seen so many needles discarded on the footpath.

“I am very much concerned that anyone could stand on one of the needles as it’s such a popular spot for dog walkers and people who go fishing.

Mum-of-three Andree said she has come across a couple of needles under the bridge about every six months since she started walking Lilly. “I have never seen this amount of needles before,” she said. “It’s awful.”

A South Wales Police spokesman said the needles have now been cleared from under the bridge.

It is just rather strange that, as shown in the picture from Wales Today, so many needles and their outer wrappers were discarded in one spot. Presumably, they were dumped from a bag or box.




A boy has stepped onto a needle on Lyme’s main beach.

The five-year-old boy was playing football on the main sandy beach when he stepped on the needle, assumed to be unwrapped, at about 2.30pm, 2.5 metres from the boundary wall near Jane’s Cafe.

The boy, visiting from Somerset, was immediately taken to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester. He is now receiving a 12-month course of anti-Hepatitis B medication and will have HIV blood tests in six months.


At five years old, the boy will have been aware of his parents’ anxiety and distress, and will have had the additional stress of a visit to hospital, blood tests and inoculations etc. By now he is probably over that, though there is more to come. But for his mum and dad, and for the extended family, the anguish will continue.




Needle with drop of bloodGoing to Dundee? Then do be careful are watch where you tread.

Newspaper reports raising concern after 180 discarded needles found in Dundee paint a gloomy picture of what is, unquestionably, a gloomy city.

More than 180 needles were found lying in public places in Dundee within three months, “shocking” figures have revealed. The items, which were linked to drug use, were recovered from the Strathmartine council ward area, which includes Ardler, St Mary’s, Kirkton and Downfield. There were also recoveries in Lochee.

Between November and January, 134 items were found in Strathmartine. In one find, 37 unused needles, 19 syringes and one used needle was recovered from behind the shops on Macalpine Road. In Lochee, a further 51 needles were recovered. The biggest single find was eight used needles on Bright Street, with 10 recovered in Whorterbank.

And that’s only the ones that have been found, retrieved, and counted.

The figures were revealed in the latest Local Community Planning Partnership reports for the areas. Information for the other six wards in the city was not included.

Mapping of needle finds is a valuable tool, to gather reliable information on which to plan and deploy resources, not only for safe retrieval but for the full range of public health, preventative, policing and safety measures necessary to manage deep rooted problems of this kind. It will also inform members of the public, which is not always a good idea as it drives communities into a deep and sometimes irrecoverable downward spiral, and looses votes for local councillors!

However, online mapping can achieved be easily – Ottawa does it really well – and there is no reason not to link this to the national ward-by-ward crime maps published by the Police.

And let’s not paint too bad a picture of Dundee, though having been there many times it can’t be too good either. few other UK towns and cities are really much different, it’s just that detailed statistics of needle finds are not freely available.

see also Ottawa needle woes


It comes as no surprise that dirty needles are incriminated in hepatitis C spread, especially among IV drug users.

As communities across the state continue to struggle with rising rates of heroin abuse, these users, who are also younger, seem to be contracting the potentially liver-destroying disease hepatitis C at higher rates, according to state data. And health officials in Rochester, Minnesota, suspect dirty needles may be to blame. Continue reading “Dirty needles suspected in hepatitis C spread” »

Ottawa is a lovely city. But it has it’s problems too.

CBC News used the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection Privacy Act to obtain an extract of the database the city uses to track property standard complaints about discarded needles and syringes. The data set in the map above covers the period from 2009 to 2013, and shows the city consistently receives complaints about these discarded items.


This is a remarkably balanced and informed article, well worth a few minutes to read. The annotated incident map gives much more information regarding incidents if you click on each red dot.

How does your city compare?




Police in Collie, Western Australia, are investigating an incident in which three primary school students were pricked with a needle from a diabetic testing device another student had brought in from home.

Collie Senior Sergeant Mike Dean said police and child protection representatives were called to the school on Tuesday morning, and they had responded following a “series of threatening behaviours” by the 10-year-old student.

“He said the child was too young to be charged.

“Child protection and police are working closely with the child’s carers,” Snr Sgt Dean said.

The school issued a statement in response to the incident.

“On March 18, 2014 three students at St Brigid’s Collie, reported an incident to a teacher involving contact by another student with an object,” the statement read.

“The object used was found to be a diabetic testing device brought from home.


There is a responsibility on the part of the school and the child’s parents, and also on behalf of those providing care to the diabetic child who should have been trained and equipped to manage and dispose lancets and insulin syringes safely.  Police involvement may be appropriate, at least until the circumstances are known, but considering whether a 10-year old child could be charged misses the point entirely!

A horrified father fears he may have contracted life threatening infections after he pricked himself on a dirty needle he found in his new home.

James Gault jagged himself on a needle which was sticking out from a shelf in a kitchen cupboard while he was cleaning his Blairmore Road home in Greenock.

The 40-year-old says he also found another dirty needle lying underneath the shelf.

He has now visited his GP to see if he has contracted HIV or Hepatitis B and C, which can all be caught from dirty needles. Continue reading “Council house bites back” »