Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens

Author(s):
Sonia Miller, EdD, MSN, BSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC Manager for Infection Prevention & Control

Regional Health Command Atlantic Program 

Fort Belvoir, VA

Published:
October 3, 2014
Revised:
April 7, 2020
Declarations of Conflicts of Interest:
  • Sonia Miller reports no potential conflicts of interest.

Abstract

Preventing transmission of bloodborne viruses in healthcare settings requires a multifaceted approach, including promoting hepatitis B vaccination of all healthcare personnel who may have contact with blood or body fluids, considering all patients as potentially infectious, using appropriate barriers to prevent blood and body fluid contact, preventing percutaneous injuries by eliminating unnecessary needle use, implementing devices with safety features, using safe work practices when handling needles and other sharp devices, and safely disposing of sharps and blood-contaminated materials. Postexposure management is also an integral component of   a complete program to prevent infection following bloodborne pathogen exposure and an important element of workplace safety. This chapter focuses on the risk and management of occupational blood exposures.