Infection Control for Injecting Drug Users January 2019

PHE and Health Protection, Cornwall and Plymouth have issued the following notice:

  • During 2018, we have received reports of invasive injection site infections from across the South West.  This has included an outbreak of iGAS and most recently two cases of rare Fusobacterium gonidiaformans.
  • Once individuals become infected their health can rapidly deteriorate particularly within the most vulnerable segments of this population, where the consequences can be life-threatening.
  • It is imperative that anyone working with injecting drug users delivers the full range of harm reduction information and advice  – particularly around the risks of injecting site infections.
  • Some drug users lick their needles after injecting believing that this sterilises. This increases risk, due to germs we all carry in the mouth that once they enter the bloodstream of injectors, become a new threat. Please reiterate that this is not a safe practice.
  • Encourage and facilitate users with signs of infection (attached) to get prompt medical attention.
  • Needle Exchange remains a critical component of the care pathway, and is an evidence based intervention supported by NICE and the UK clinical guidelines for substance misuse. Please do everything you can to support people to be aware of the risks of sharing or reusing equipment and to use new equipment every time.

 

Links to Harm Reduction Works materials:

 

Hand washing video from Harm Reduction Works 

Cleaning Works: how to clean a used syringe Harm Reduction Works video

Harm Reduction Works injecting and infections leaflet

 

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