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Project 4 - Main objective of the project

Main objectives of the “Project 4 – Qualitative evaluation of the risk factors of HCV infection associated with medical procedures in selected health care units” are:

  1. Describing procedures and behaviors associated or potentially associated with increasing risk of HCV transmission in the health care facilities in Poland;
  2. Modernization and modification of safety procedures for medical staff;
  3. Modification of procedures for monitoring and sanitary control carried out by the sanitary services at health care units.


HCV infection is considered at present to be one of the most important public health problems in Poland. Nosocomial transmission so far plays fundamental role in the spreading of infection in the population of the country. There are 3 routes of the virus transmission: blood-borne and, to a minor extent, sexual and vertical. The first one is generally the most important HCV transmission route and the only route of health care associated with HCV infections.
In contrast to bacterial infections, colonization phenomenon is not present and the virus must be introduced to the host through damage/cut skin or mucosa. Thus, the transmission may occur only in the following situations:

  • ransfusion of contaminated blood products (significant in the past but at present thanks to excellent control within the blood services – negligible)
  • Use of reusable equipment if the sterilization process was inadequate to inactivate the viral particles, or use of contaminated one with infection material
  • Use of disposable equipment that was contaminated with the virus in consequence of direct contact with used equipment (ex. clean and contaminated with blood needles posed at the same tray)
  • Performing the medical procedures associated with disruption of tissue integrity by health care worker with hands contaminated with infectious material (blood of another patient).


Theoretically the blood-borne infections should be the easiest ones to eliminate among the health care associated infections, as the transmission route is easy to break – through safe blood products, use of disposable equipment and effective sterilization of reusable equipment. However, in Poland this is still the dominant transmission route. Most likely it is related to failure to comply with proper procedures of conduct at workplace, improper use of equipment (old equipment) and with its proper sterilization and disinfection.

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