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Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, are present in blood and body fluids and can cause disease in humans. The bloodborne pathogens of primary concern are hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. These and other bloodborne pathogens are spread primarily through:

  • Direct contact. Infected blood or body fluid from one person enters another person’s body at a correct entry site, such as infected blood splashing in the eye.
  • Indirect contact. A person’s skin touches an object that contains the blood or body fluid of an infected person, such as picking up soiled dressings contaminated with an infected person’s blood or body fluid.
  • Respiratory droplet transmission. A person inhales droplets from an infected person, such as through a cough or sneeze.
  • Vector-borne transmission. A person’s skin is penetrated by an infectious source, such as an insect bite.

Follow standard precautions to help prevent the spread of bloodborne pathogens and other diseases whenever there is a risk of exposure to blood or other body fluids. These precautions require that all blood and other body fluids be treated as if they are infectious. Standard precautions include maintaining personal hygiene and using personal protective equipment (PPE), engineering controls, work practice controls, and proper equipment cleaning and spill cleanup procedures.


  • Avoid contact with blood and other body fluids.
  • Use CPR breathing barriers, such as resuscitation masks, when giving ventilations (rescue breaths).
  • Wear disposable gloves whenever providing care, particularly if you may come into contact with blood or body fluids. Also wear protective coverings, such as a mask, eyewear and a gown, if blood or other body fluids can splash.
  • Cover any cuts, scrapes or sores and remove jewelry, including rings, before wearing disposable gloves.
  • Change gloves before providing care to a different victim.
  • Remove disposable gloves without contacting the soiled part of the gloves and dispose of them in a proper container.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands and other areas immediately after providing care. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer where hand-washing facilities are not available if your hands are not visibly soiled. When practical, wash your hands before providing care.

Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan

Hepatitis B Declination Form