Bloodborne Pathogens: Understanding the Risks and Preventions


Bloodborne pathogens are a group of diseases that can be transmitted through contact with infected blood or other potentially infectious materials. These include Hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

What are bloodborne pathogens?

Bloodborne pathogens are viruses and bacteria that are present in human blood. The most common bloodborne pathogens include hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These pathogens can cause serious illness or death if they're transmitted to another person by contact with infected blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM).

Blood-borne diseases are not spread through casual contact or by eating contaminated food. However, it's important to understand how these diseases can be transmitted so you know what steps you need to take if someone has been exposed to them at work or home.

How are bloodborne pathogens transmitted?

Bloodborne pathogens can be transmitted when blood, bodily fluids or other potentially infectious materials from one person come into contact with mucous membranes or broken skin of another person. Bloodborne pathogens are also transmitted through direct injection of contaminated needles or syringes (e.g., needlestick injuries).

If you have been exposed to a bloodborne pathogen, treatment should begin immediately.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV): Hepatitis B is a highly contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus. Most people who become infected with HBV don't have any symptoms, but some develop an acute illness within two months of exposure that can last from a few weeks to several months.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a common bloodborne pathogen that can cause acute or chronic liver disease. It's transmitted through contact with infected blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). The incubation period for hepatitis B is approximately six weeks.

Contracting Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV

Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV are three different viruses that can be contracted through contact with infected blood.

Hepatitis B: This virus attacks the liver and can lead to serious health problems if not treated. It is spread through contact with infected blood or body fluids (including semen). It's often transmitted sexually or from mother to child at birth. In addition, it's possible for a person who has never engaged in high-risk activities like drug use or sex work to get hepatitis B if they come into contact with someone else who has it--for example, by sharing razors or toothbrushes with someone who has been infected by another person who also uses those items regularly.

Hepatitis C: This virus attacks the liver but doesn't always cause symptoms; therefore many people don't know they have it unless they're tested for it specifically because of their risk factors (such as drug use). Like hepatitis B, there are ways you can get this disease even if you've never injected drugs or had sex outside of marriage--especially if your partner has been exposed before dating them!

The best way to prevent infection is by using universal precautions that apply to all patients and work environments. This means following recommendations such as: You should also be familiar with the signs and symptoms of HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). If you are exposed to blood or body fluids while on duty, report it immediately to your supervisor.

Following infection, the virus remains in the body and can cause a long-term infection that leads to chronic liver disease or cancer. Hepatitis B can spread through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected person, by using contaminated needles or syringes, during childbirth when a baby passes through an infected birth canal,


The most effective way to prevent the transmission of bloodborne disease is to prevent exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials.

  • Use gloves, a barrier and personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes:
  • Gloves when you handle items that could be contaminated with blood, such as syringes and needles;
  • A mask that covers your nose and mouth when working in an area where it is likely there will be splashes of blood;
  • Eye protection if there is a risk of splashing liquid onto your face;

You should also know how to use personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper hand-washing technique.

Safety is important when you work with blood, organs or other human tissue. You should always wear gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling these items. For example, if you are working with organs or tissues that have been obtained from humans, it is recommended that you wear protective coveralls over your clothes and use disposable plastic gloves to avoid contact with blood or potentially infectious materials.


The best way to protect yourself from bloodborne pathogens is to prevent exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials. You can do this by following standard precautions, which include wearing gloves and masks during procedures that may involve contact with body fluids or tissue from patients who are infected with HIV or hepatitis B virus (HBV). If an accident does happen where you get exposed, immediately wash your hands with soap and water then seek medical attention immediately!

Protective clothing, such as a lab coat, that covers all areas of your body; A pair of waterproof shoes or boots.

Bloodborne Pathogens Certification
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