What are Blood Borne Pathogens?

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Bloodborne Pathogens: An Overview

Learn about bloodborne pathogens, the risks they pose, and the precautions necessary to prevent disease transmission.

What are Bloodborne Pathogens?

Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms present in human blood that can cause diseases. Key examples include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

Invisibility of Pathogens

People carrying these pathogens often show no visible signs or symptoms, making it difficult to identify infection through observation alone.

Potential Sources of Transmission

Bloodborne pathogens are not limited to blood but can also be present in other body fluids:

  • Cerebrospinal fluid (around the brain).
  • Synovial fluid (lubricating joints).
  • Pleural fluid (in the lungs).
  • Amniotic fluid (in the uterus).
  • Semen, vaginal secretions, and urine.

Assumption of Risk

It's crucial to assume that these fluids contain potentially infectious materials and handle them accordingly.

Transmission Methods

Understanding how bloodborne pathogens are transmitted is vital for prevention:

  • Sexual contact.
  • Contaminated sharp objects like needles or broken glass.
  • Infected body fluid contact with open cuts or mucous membranes.
  • Contact with inflamed skin, acne, or skin abrasions.

The Role of Intact Skin

While intact skin is a strong defence, the risk of unnoticed cuts makes it imperative to always exercise caution.

Being informed about bloodborne pathogens helps in taking effective preventive measures and ensuring safety in environments where exposure is possible.