What Are Bloodborne Pathogens?

Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms such as viruses or bacteria that are carried in blood and can cause disease in people.

High Risk Occupations

Health Care Services

Emergency Responders


Sewer Workers

Body Artist

Hepatitis A

Acute liver disease

Caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV).

Lasting from a few weeks to several months

Does not lead to chronic infection

Transmission: Ingestion of fecal matter, even in microscopic amount

Close person-to-person contact

Unwashed fruits and vegetables

Improperly prepared seafood

Vaccination: Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended:

All children starting at age 1 year

Travelers to certain countries, and others at risk

Hepatitis B

Liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV)

Ranges in severity from a mild illness to a serious long-term (chronic) illness

Can lead to liver disease or liver cancer


Contact with infectious blood, semen, and other body fluids

Having sex with an infected person

Sharing contaminated needles to inject drugs

From an infected mother to her newborn


Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all adults at risk for HBV infection.

Hepatitis C

Liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV)

Sometimes results in an acute illness

Most often becomes a chronic condition

Can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer


Contact with the blood of an infected person

Primarily through sharing contaminated needles to inject drugs

Vaccination: There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.


HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus

HIV damages a persons body by destroying specific blood cells, called CD4+T cells, which are critical to the body for fighting diseases.

HIV can lead to AIDS which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

AIDS is the late stage of HIV, when a persons immune system is severely damaged and has difficulty fighting disease and certain cancers.

Vehicle of Exposure

Exposure Control Plan

Identifies jobs and tasks where occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious material occurs

Describes how the employer will:

¨Use engineering and work practice controls.

¨Ensure use of personal protective equipment.

¨Provide training.

¨Provide medical surveillance.

¨Provide hepatitis B vaccinations.

¨Use signs and labels.

What to do if an exposure occurs?

Wash exposed area with soap and water.

Flush splashes to nose, mouth, or skin with water.

Irrigate eyes with water or saline.

Report the exposure.

Direct the worker to a healthcare professional.

Treatment should begin as soon as possible, preferable within 24 hours/no later 7 days.

Personal Protective Equipment

Must not allow blood or other potentially infectious material to pass to the employees eyes, skin, mouth or body. 

Must be removed when leaving area or upon contamination.

Examples of PPE

Gloves ¨Glove Removal


Face shields

Eye protection

Resuscitation devices