eISSN: 1644-4124
ISSN: 1426-3912
Central European Journal of Immunology
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2/2015
vol. 40
 
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abstract:

Review paper
The influence of the workplace-related biological agents on the immune systems of emergency medical personnel

Aleksandra Brewczyńska
,
Daria Depczyńska
,
Anna Borecka
,
Izabela Winnicka
,
Leszek Kubiak
,
Ewa Skopińska-Różewska
,
Marcin Niemcewicz
,
Janusz Kocik

(Centr Eur J Immunol 2015; 40 (2): 243-248)
Online publish date: 2015/08/03
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Emergency medical services workers’ (EMSWs) acute exposures to many biological agents are frequent and well recognised in their workplaces, as well as occupational diseases resulting from some of these exposures. At the same time, there is only scant information on the adverse effects of chronic exposure to biological hazard factors on the immune systems of EMSWs. In the Polish legislation system, the Ordinance of the Minister of Health about harmful biological agents in the workplace and ways of protecting workers from exposure to those agents is an implement of Directive 2000/54/EC, which deals thoroughly with those issues in European Union Countries. Emergency medical services workers play an essential role as primary providers of pre-hospital emergency medical care, and they are part of the integral components of disaster response. Traumatic experiences can affect emergency medical staff immune systems negatively, by functioning as a chronic stressor. Conscious use of biological agents in workplaces such as microbial laboratories can be easily controlled and monitored. However, risk assessment is more difficult for workers when they are exposed unintentionally to biological agents. Exposure to bio-aerosols is considered especially harmful.

This review summarises available information about biological risk factors for emergency medical services workers, and some information about the influence of these factors on their immune systems.
keywords:

emergency medical staff, biological factors, immune system, chronic diseases

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