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Watch For Contaminated Needles, Too

RE: ANYBODY CAN START FARMING, FEBRUARY 7 ISSUE

I don’t mean to be a pesky critic, but I read your article inGrainews and forced myself to refrain from saying “Amen!”

In addition to the risk of accidental pharmaceutical exposure, it has been my experience that veterinary students, farm kids and stock attendants can suffer severely from the simple needle puncture alone, without injection of any drug at all. You are quite right to point out the pharmaceutical risk, but a needle used on a farm animal often is grossly contaminated with environmental pathogens. These surface pathogens can cause, amongst other things, necrotizing fascitis (flesh-eating disease) and I’ve had students almost lose their hand. I’ve also dealt with a butcher that almost succumbed, with what apparently was a very virulent septicemia (blood poisoning). I got involved because the hospital was concerned that he might have contracted anthrax. As faculty, we do emphasize the danger of inadvertent contact with pharmaceutics, we also point out that the more common injury often is the effect of a contaminated needle.

Great article. Keep it up!

EugeneJanzen,UniversityofCalgary

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