What are bloodborne pathogens?
Viruses, bacteria and other critters that are carried in
a person’s bloodstream and can cause disease.
If you come in contact with blood infected with a
bloodborne pathogen, you may become infected as
What are examples of bloodborne pathogens?
Hepatitis B – a virus that attacks the liver. There is a
vaccine that will give you lifetime protection from the
hepatitis B virus, it is given in a series of 3 injections in
your arm. Over 95% of recipients develop adequate
immunity after receiving the vaccine.
Hepatitis C – also attacks the liver. There is no vaccine
for hepatitis C.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – the virus that
causes AIDS. It attacks the immune system.
What are my chances of becoming infected if I have serious
exposure (the infected blood gets in your blood) to one of these
Hepatitis B – if you’ve had the vaccine, the risk is
virtually none. If you have not been vaccinated,
there is up to a 30% chance you’ll become
Hepatitis C – there is about a 1.8% chance you’ll
HIV – the risk is less than 0.1%.
What are Standard Precautions?
Infection Control measures required by law that are designed to
promote healthcare worker safety.
You treat each and every patient as if he has a bloodborne
pathogen such as HIV or hepatitis and you protect yourself from
possibly being exposed to that patient’s blood at all times.
This may mean wearing personal protective equipment such as a
gown, goggles, mask, gloves when at risk of exposure.
It means handling sharps carefully, minimizing splashing, using
safety devices when possible, not eating in an area where there’s
potential for exposure.
The universal biohazard symbol. It means
there’s regulated waste inside:
items contaminated with blood/body fluid. Keep your
hands out of it!
What if I have a blood exposure?
1. Wash the site.
2. Notify your supervisor.
will be drawn from the source patient for immediate
testing for bloodborne pathogens. You will get results as
soon as possible and if needed, some medications may be
offered to you in the event the source patient has HIV or
3. Follow up with Infection Control.
Infection Control will make sure you have the test results
and understand what they mean. If you need further
testing, Infection Control will notify you when it’s time to be