A Salt Lake elementary student who pricked her finger with a hypodermic needle found on the school playground should underdo immunizations against hepatitis, said Dr. Harry Gibbons.
But Gibbons, director of the Salt Lake City-County Health Department, even if there were blood remaining on the needle, there wouldn't be sufficient quantities for a definitive test.On Monday, a 12-year-old Mountain View Elementary girl pricked her finger when she picked up the used needle on the playground. The Salt Lake School District suspended the aide who advised the child to pick up the needle.
Gibbons said three students in the county have required extensive immunizations after being pricked with needles. "Needles have become such a hazard. Parents and teachers should encourage children to never, never pick them up."
While there's only a remote chance that a person can contract AIDS from a needle-stick, Gibbons advises that the student be tested for AIDS at three, six and 12 months. He said developing hepatitis is more of a possibility, and that's why he advised that the Mountain View student should receive immunizations from her doctor.
The school district will prepare in-service training for personnel who supervise playgrounds, so they know to instruct children not to pick up glass or needles without using some kind of tool, said district spokeswoman Sherri Clark. "We've never had an incident like this before. I'm sure that it happens. We don't have control over the playgrounds at night."