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BLOODBORNE PATHOGENS for Emergency Workers. Rural/Metro Fire Department Division of Training. What Are Bloodborne Pathogens?. micro-organisms: Hepatitis B (HBV) Hepatitis C (HCV) Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

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BLOODBORNE PATHOGENS for Emergency Workers

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bloodborne pathogens for emergency workers

BLOODBORNE PATHOGENS for Emergency Workers

Rural/Metro Fire


Division of Training

what are bloodborne pathogens
What Are Bloodborne Pathogens?
  • micro-organisms:
    • Hepatitis B (HBV)
    • Hepatitis C (HCV)
    • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • substances that are carried by the blood or other body fluids and cause illness or injury to the body.
  • Viruses and bacteria are pathogens and many are “bloodborne”
dangerous business
  • 12,000 Health Care Workers (HCW’s) infected w/HBV in 1985
  • 8,700 HCW’s infected w/HBV annually; decrease due to availability of HBV vaccine, universal precautions & educational programs
  • HBV is also sexually transmitted, not just HIV
  • HBV more common & more potent per drop of fluid than HIV
  • Some HBV+ individuals have no symptoms & may not know they are infected
what can i do
What Can I Do?
  • As an Emergency Worker, you are at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
  • Presence of mind is your most important protection against contamination
  • Know your company policy and follow it without exception
bloodborne pathogens standard
  • Because these pathogens are so deadly and have spread so seriously, the government has issued safety rules for everyone who regularly comes into contact with blood or body fluids of other people
  • The regulatory agency is OSHA and the rules are known as the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard
the exposure control plan
  • An Exposure Control Plan (ECP) is developed and enforced by your employer to protect you from exposure to bloodborne pathogens
  • The plan identifies those at risk for exposure, mandates educational training sessions for those included in the plan, and outlines guidelines to be followed to reduce the risk of occupational exposure
the exposure control plan1
  • Provides procedures to be followed if an exposure occurs
  • The hepatitis B vaccine is made available to those identified as at potential risk for exposure
3 most common pathogens

HIV, HBV, & HCV are 3 of the most common bloodborne pathogens

  • HIV infects 40,000 people annually
  • 1 out of 250 people in the US are infected with HIV
  • HBV infects 500,000 people annually
  • 1 out of 20 people in the US are infected with HBV
  • HCV infects 36,000 people annually
  • HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the virus associated with AIDS
    • There is no specific treatment for it
    • There is no cure
    • There is no preventative vaccine
  • Over 3 million people in the USA are currently infected with HIV
  • About 40,000 new cases of HIV infection are reported each year in the US
  • One half of the people who have developed AIDS from HIV infection are already dead
  • It’s a fickle virus but it has been shown to survive in blood for 2 days
hiv symptoms
HIV Symptoms

Symptoms of HIV infection can vary, but often include:

  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • White coating on the tongue
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph glands
hepatitis b
  • The second of the most common bloodborne pathogens is the hepatitis B virus
  • HBV is more easily transmitted than HCV or HIV
  • 170 million people in the world are infected with HBV
  • There are 1 - 1.5 million chronic Hep B carriers in the US
  • 10% of infected individuals will develop chronic Hepatitis B
hepatitis b1
  • Chronic carriers can infect others
  • HBV has been documented to live 52 days in a dry drop of blood
  • 4-6,000 people die annually from chronic liver disease caused by HBV
  • There is no specific treatment and no cure
  • There is an available vaccine for HBV: 3 injections given over 6 months
hbv symptoms
HBV Symptoms
  • Mild flu-like symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Possible stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice
  • Darkened urine
hepatitis c
  • HCV transmitted similar ways to HIV & HBV
  • The new case rate is growing at 250,000 per year in the US
  • HCV has a high rate of chronic infection: 3 million cases presently in US
  • 75% of people infected with HCV show no symptoms, but 85% will develop chronic disease
hepatitis c1
  • Chronic carriers may have no symptoms for up to 30 years
  • Hep C is the leading indicator for liver transplants
  • 10,000 people die annually from Hep C related chronic liver disease
  • There no cure, but newly approved antiviral drugs have been effective for some
  • There is NO vaccine for HCV
body substance isolation universal precautions
  • Treat all blood and body fluids as if they were contaminated with a bloodborne pathogen
bloodbourne pathogen transmission
Bloodbourne Pathogen Transmission

Bloodborne pathogens are transmitted through contact with infected human blood and other body fluids such as:

  • Semen
  • Vaginal secretions
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Synovial fluid
  • Pleural fluid
  • Peritoneal fluid
  • Amniotic fluid
  • Saliva
skin provides a barrier
Skin Provides a Barrier

Unbroken skin forms an impervious barrier against bloodborne pathogens. However, infected blood can enter your system through:

  • Open sores
  • Cuts
  • Abrasions
  • Acne
  • Any sort of damaged or broken skin such as sunburn or blisters
personal protective equipment
  • Use whatever is recommended to protect you from exposure
  • - gloves, gowns, goggles, masks
  • - face shields, full body suit
mucous membranes
Mucous Membranes

Bloodborne pathogens may also be transmitted through the mucous membranes of the

  • Eyes
  • Nose
  • Mouth
work practices
  • No recapping needles
  • No handling contaminated sharps
  • Discard sharps in puncture proof containers marked with biohazard symbol
  • Discard non sharps (gloves, linen) in appropriate biohazard containers (not in sharps box)
if you are exposed
If You Are Exposed
  • Wash the exposed area thoroughly with soap and running water.
  • Use non-abrasive, antibacterial soap
  • Flush mouth, nose, eyes for 15 minutes if blood is splashed in mucous membranes
other actions if exposed
Other Actions if Exposed
  • Report the exposure to your supervisor
  • Fill out an exposure report form
  • Request blood testing & Hepatits B vaccination
engineering controls
  • Use sharps containers and don’t overfill
  • Use safety needles, angiocaths, and other safety sharps
biohazard symbol


Become familiar with the symbol

contain clean up spills
  • Wearing proper attire, contain a blood or body fluid spill by using a 1:10 solution of bleach
final tips
  • Keep your hands out of your mouth
  • Wash your hands each time you remove your gloves and as frequently as possible
  • Hand washing is still the most important line of defense
  • Complete the Hepatitis B vaccine series (3 injections over 6 months) available through your employer
if you have additional questions you may
  • Talk with your Station Officer
  • Check out some of the great links on the web
  • Refer to the Infection Control Plan from your employer