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Biological Hazards in Medical and Research Laboratories. October, 2010. What You Will Learn. This module gives an overview of how bacteria and viruses can cause injury, illness, or even death to medical laboratory workers. . Bacteria Exposure.
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This module gives an overview of how bacteria and viruses can cause injury, illness, or even death to medical laboratory workers.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data indicates these bacteria have a high exposure potential in labs:
Many labs also culture other types of dangerous bacteria.
In the lab bacteria can become airborne by:
- Surveillance: PPD skin testing or blood assay based on laboratory’s risk level.
- Requires prompt diagnosis
- Vaccine is available
Gram-positive anthrax bacteria (purple rods) in cerebrospinal fluid sample
Skin anthrax- source: CDC
From April 5, 2002 MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from CDC)
-No vaccine for humans, treatment is with antibiotics
Reported cases of brucellosis - 2007
CDC recommendations for brucellosis lab exposure
N. Meningitis bacteria
The use of post-exposure antibiotics have prevented outbreaks.
Link to CDC webpage on meningitis
From MMWR 2/22/02
Link to CDC webpage on coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever)
Link to CDC webpage on histoplasmosis
Link to NIOSH document: “Histoplasmosis – protecting workers at risk”
CDC webpage on parasitic diseases
CDC webpage in giardia
This tissue slide shows sponge-like lesions in the brain tissue of a classic CJD patient. This lesion is typical of many prion diseases.
Link to CDC Prion Diseases webpage
CDC webpage on Q Fever
CDC webpage on Rickettsia
Some viruses are transmitted via aerosols such as:
Herpes viruses are ubiquitous – primarily an opportunistic infection. Rarely, cytomegalovirus or Epstein-Barr may be transmitted in the lab. No documentation that influenza has been contracted in the lab – as it also is ubiquitous in season.
CDC – lab management of agents associated with hantavirus – interim biosafety guidelines -1994
Link to “Exposure to Blood brochure
Clotting agents for hemophilia
Immune globulins including Rh factor immune globulins
Hepatitis A virus
Healthy human liver
Hepatitis C liverVirus Exposure – Blood/Body Fluids
Hepatitis B, C, and D
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Reference: MMWR June 29, 2001/50(RR11);1-42
Occupationally acquired HIV :
The CDC reports as of December 2001, 51 of the 57 cases of occupationally acquired HIV infection involved sharps injuries of which nearly half involved needles used in phlebotomy or blood sampling from a vascular line, with vacuum- tube device needles accounting for the largest number of these injuries.
Other sharps injuries included broken glass from blood collection tubes and a needle for cleaning/dislodging debris in laboratory equipment.
Reference:Surveillance of Occupationally Acquired HIV/AIDS in Healthcare Personnel – December, 2006
CDC Laboratory Guidelines and Standards webpage
CDC Biosafety Webpage – includes a biosecurity online training course
Biosafety in Medical and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL - 5th edition)*
* Someof the information in this module is derived from this document
Biosafety Levels 1- 4 provide:
Class I Biosafety Cabinet
(from CDC publication – Selection, Installation & Use of Biosafety Cabinets)
The Four Biosafety Levels are:
Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens – WAC 296-823
Link to Online Training course on Bloodborne Pathogens