A sharps injury is an incident which causes a needle or sharp instrument, such as a scalpel (collectively referred to as ‘sharps’), to penetrate the skin. This is sometimes called a percutaneous injury. If the sharp is contaminated with blood or other body fluid, there is a potential for transmission of infection.
Although rare, injuries from sharps contaminated with an infected patient’s blood can transmit more than 20 diseases, including Hepatitis B, C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Because of this transmission risk, sharps injuries can worry the many thousands who receive them.