There are many ways in which a disease could be transferred from one individual to another. The case of the medical technician who spread hepatitis C to patients at hospitals throughout the nation, including the Pittsburgh area, via used syringes highlights one way. More than 30 individuals in the United States were infected when the man diverted drugs from syringes and then refilled them with saline. The man recently pled guilty to criminal charges against him related to the matter.
That case has put the use of contaminated syringes into the spotlight. Another man's invention may help to reduce the number of disease transmissions that occur. It focuses on making it easy to differentiate between a syringe that has been used and one that has not.
The man, who lives in England, has developed a syringe that is created with ink that activates when it's packaging is opened and it is exposed to oxygen. The red color the ABC Syringe turns makes it possible easily determine whether a seemingly new syringe has actually been used and washed out. According to the man, the process behind the new syringes is inexpensive to implement.
The catalyst behind the development of the new syringes appears to be the rampant spread of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis in countries like India. While the impact of using this syringe could be huge in India, it is possible that the technology could be beneficial in the U.S. as well in the quest to reduce the number of diseases that are transmitted via a syringe.
Source: CNN, "Smart syringe turns red to tell you it's been used," Holden Frith, Sept. 3, 2013