Report: EMS workers face higher infection risk than other first responders
The research also shows the effectiveness of on-site vaccine clinics and educational programs, as well as vaccine mandates
By Leila Merrill
A new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provides evidence of infectious pathogen exposure among EMS providers.
The report also shows the effectiveness of on-site vaccine clinics and educational programs, as well as vaccine mandates.
- EMS workers appear to be at higher risk of infection when compared to firefighters and other frontline emergency personnel.
- Little research exists on infectious diseases in 911 dispatchers and telecommunicators.
- Research studies on infectious diseases in the EMS and 911 workforce have increased significantly since the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
- Most research since 2006 has concentrated on the epidemiology of infections and infection risk.
- Research into the field effectiveness of N95 respirator and surgical face mask personal protective equipment is limited, especially in the arena of airborne diseases.
- Regular hand hygiene decreases the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
- Standard precautions, such as gloves, decrease the chance of needlestick exposures.
- Vaccine uptake increases with the application of on-site directed clinics in the workforce, especially when combined with an active, targeted educational program with supervisor and peer support.
- Mandatory influenza vaccine programs increase the likelihood of vaccine uptake.
- Research into EMS and 911 infectious disease issues would be strengthened by a national research agenda including improved data uniformity, use of appropriate comparison groups, and comparable outcome measures.
Read the report here.