Reported Communicable Disease Exposures in Indiana Emergency Medical Service Providers September 2003-December 2007

Indiana Epidemiology Newsletter
May 2008

Sara Sczesny, MT(ASCP)
MPH Intern

Jean Svendsen, RN, BS
ISDH Chief Nurse Consultant

Indiana Code 16-41-10 requires that emergency medical service providers receive appropriate medical evaluations after an exposure to blood or body fluids that have been demonstrated to transmit dangerous communicable diseases. An emergency medical services provider is defined as a firefighter, law enforcement officer, paramedic, emergency medical technician, physician licensed under IC 25-22.5, nurse licensed under IC 25-23, or other person who provides emergency medical services in the course of the person’s employment. 

The process of notifying the ISDH of such exposures began in September 2003 and is accomplished by completing the Notification of Blood or Body Fluid Exposure form located at .  From September 2003 to December 2007, emergency medical service providers have reported 203 exposures using this form. Reported exposures occurred in 49 of Indiana’s 92 counties. More detailed information for emergency medical service providers and employers can be located at

Exposures most commonly occurred in those aged 30-39 years, followed by those aged 40-49 and 20-29 years (Figure 1), and more commonly in males (79%) than females (19%).  Exposures occurred most frequently at the site where an incident occurred, with ambulances being the second most frequent location of exposure (Figure 2).  Blood was the most common fluid of exposure (Figure 3).  The most frequent types of exposure were skin breaks with contaminated objects and mucous membrane exposure (Figure 4).

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4