Understanding Bloodborne Pathogens
Blood or body fluids may contain pathogens (germs) that can cause disease. If there is an accident at work involving blood or body fluids, these germs can be spread. The most common and serious bloodborne pathogens are the hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Other bloodborne germs include syphilis and malaria. Once these germs infect you, they can spread to your loved ones. The three bloodborne germs described below are the most common causes of infections in the workplace.
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
Hepatitis B can cause severe damage to the liver and can even lead to death.
A vaccine is available to help prevent hepatitis B infection. This vaccine is given as several injections over a period of time.
Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)
Like hepatitis B, hepatitis C can cause severe damage to the liver and can lead to death.
There is no known vaccine for HCV.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV makes it harder for the body to fight infection. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), which is a serious illness that can lead to death.
There is no known vaccine for HIV.
How You Could Get Infected at Work
Bloodborne diseases can infect you when: