Few issues in hospital infection control have evoked as much debate as the controversies regarding the risk and prevention of transmission of blood-borne pathogens to healthcare workers and patients during invasive procedures. To promote direct discussions among researchers and other interested participants from multiple disciplines affected by these issues, the American College of Surgeons and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cosponsored a Conference on Prevention of Transmission of Bloodborne Pathogens in Surgery and Obstetrics, February 13-15, 1994, in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference was attended by approximately 200 participants from nine countries, including surgeons from a variety of specialties, obstetricians, operating and delivery room personnel, anesthesiologists, hospital epidemiologists and infection control personnel, occupational health specialists, and public health professionals.
Titles of plenary sessions included Risk of Occupational Transmission of Bloodborne Pathogens, Microbiologic Aspects (dealing with aerosols and disinfection and sterilization issues), Prevention of Injuries by Needles and Other Sharp Instruments, Hand Protection, Body and Facial Protection, Evaluation of New products on the Market, Postexposure Management, Are Universal Precautions Realistic, and Bloodborne Pathogen Transmission to Patients. Feedback from the attendees indicated that the conference achieved its goals and that future conferences on these issues would be welcome.