Occupational Exposure To Bloodborne Pathogens
Exposure to potentially infectious blood and body fluids is an occupational hazard unique to health care settings.
Always practice universal precautions with all patients. People of all ages and cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds can test positive for Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) or HIV. One in every 200 Americans is an HBV carrier.
For an infection to occur there must be a human portal of entry (host) and a microbe as a source (agent).
There are three modes of transmission:
- Direct – transfer of an infection from a source through physical contact or droplets in the air.
- Indirect – the spread of infection from inanimate objects and arthropods (mosquitoes).
- Airborne – involves suspension, particles of dust and droplet nuclei.
Practical steps to prevent infection:
- Use biohazard bags when transporting samples and specimens.
- Dispose of sharp instruments in puncture proof container. Do not recap needles.
- Hold contaminated linens away from your body when carrying them.
- Use an intermediary (such as a dustpan and brush) to pick up broken glass contaminated with blood or body fluids.
- Proper handwashing – handwashing is the single most important measure for preventing the spread of infection.
- Gloves when handling blood or body fluids.
- Masks, gowns and shields if possibility of blood or body fluids splashing.
- Immunizations as protection from a number of infections.