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BOARDMAN, Ohio -- Problems with potential disease-carrying needles and lancets are coming to light across the country. Needlestick attacks and sightings are not uncommon, but an increased number of reports were made soon after the April 27 Philadelphia incident, where an elementary school student brought her mother's test needle to school and injured 19 fellow students. This attack brought the issue of needlestick responsibility and safe needle disposal to the national forefront in a dramatic and powerful way. Safeguard Medical Technologies is working alongside the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal to devise safe, efficient solutions to combat the epidemic of tainted needles entering the American waste stream.
At least one 12-year-old student has been arrested in Harlingen, Texas, following reports that he had allegedly pricked other students with a lancet over the course of at least two days. Because of these injuries, these students must now be monitored for bloodborne diseases for the next six months.
Harlingen police believe the incident to be a copycat version of the Philadelphia elementary school case of April 27. "I know there's been cases outside the [Harlingen] Valley, somewhere in another state, and I think maybe the students got wind of that and they try to mimic," Harlingen police spokesman Johnny Ramirez stated.
In Somerville, Mass., alderman-at-large Denise Provost has now found nine hypodermic needles on city streets in the past year. The most recent event occurred on April 27, as Provost was accompanying her daughter to school. Somerville police are now entering reports of discarded syringes in the police log. On May 5, a 6-year-old girl in Baytown, Texas, pricked herself with a discarded syringe she discovered while playing at a Little League park. As Stacy Hilliard, the girl's mother said, "We have no idea who used the needle. It looks like a well-used needle and if it comes from a drug abuser, then we're looking at possibly having HIV virus, or hepatitis, or different sexually transmitted diseases."
Injuries from improperly discarded needles can lead to a myriad of
infections. Worse yet, used needles may be contaminated with diseases such as
HIV, hepatitis B and C -- none of which have any known cure. The dangers from used needles are not eliminated by discarding them into the trash. Their potentially deadly pathogens are merely sent - literally - down the road to become part of the underlying foundation of communities, parks and playgrounds where children walk and play every day. Americans spend billions on cures for diseases each year, then take 2.8 billion chances of passing along a disease with improper needle disposal.
Several manufacturers, associations and government agencies, many a part of the now disbanded CDC "Community Syringe Disposal Task Force," have formed
the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal ( http://www.safeneedledisposal.org ). Alongside Ohio based Safeguard Medical Technologies (http://www.disintegratorproducts.com ), they are combating the
problem, currently lobbying Congress to provide for the costs of proper home
needle disposal under the Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance programs.
Source: Safeguard Medical Technologies