Modes of Transportation
Bloodborne pathogens such as HBV, HCV and HIV can be transmitted through contact with infected human blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) as defined below. Blood is defined as human blood, human blood components and products made from human blood. Also included in this definition are medications derived from blood.
OPIM includes all of the following:
- Human body fluids: semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids.
- Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead). Human cell lines are considered OPIM if they can or do carry bloodborne pathogens. Some cell lines have been tested and certified by the suppliers to be free of bloodborne pathogens. Fixed human tissues are not potentially infectious with bloodborne pathogens and therefore are not considered OPIM.
- HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, and HIV- or HBV-containing culture medium or other solutions; and blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV.
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 coworker, handling human cells in the laboratory, or cleaning up blood. Consult your Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan or your supervisor for this information.
Bloodborne pathogens are most commonly transmitted through:
- 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
- Sexual Contact
- Sharing of hypodermic needles
- Handling contaminated biohazard waste and regulated waste