Bloodborne diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, which exist in blood and other body fluids.
Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms such as viruses or bacteria that are carried in blood and can cause disease in people.
There are many different bloodborne pathogens, including malaria, syphilis, and brucellosis, and most notably Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV) and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Bloodborne pathogens such as HBV and HIV can be transmitted through contact with infected human blood and other potentially infectious body fluids such as:
- vaginal secretions
- cerebrospinal fluid
- synovial fluid
- pleural fluid
- peritoneal fluid
- amniotic fluid
- saliva (in dental procedures), and
- any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood.
It is important to know the ways exposure and transmission are most likely to occur in your particular situation, be it providing first aid to a student in the classroom, handling blood samples in the laboratory, or cleaning up blood from a hallway.
HBV and HIV are most commonly transmitted through:
- sexual contact sharing of hypodermic needles
- from mothers to their babies at/before birth
- accidental puncture from contaminated needles, broken glass, or other sharps
- contact between broken or damaged skin and infected body fluids
- contact between mucous membranes and infected body fluids
- accidental puncture from contaminated needles and other sharps can result in transmission of bloodborne pathogens.