How Bloodborne Pathogens Spread and Cause Disease and Infection
When a traumatic incident occurs such as an accident or homicide, it is very common for biohazard materials like blood to be found at the scene. Blood is the most commonly encountered bodily fluid as anything from a small cut to a violent crime can lead to a presence of blood. It is crucial to remember that blood can be very dangerous because it often contains harmful pathogens such as viruses or bacteria that can easily spread disease. If you encounter blood at the scene of an accident or violent crime, you must call a certified biohazard cleaning professional to ensure that the scene is safely cleaned up and disinfected.
It is important to know the dangers of bloodborne pathogens and how they spread disease or infection to keep yourself safe in such a situation. Bloodborne pathogens are disease causing microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, and fungus, that may be present in human blood. Exposure to bloodborne pathogens could lead to a number of serious diseases such as hepatitis or HIV. There are many ways that these pathogens can enter your body and because it is virtually impossible to tell if blood or bodily fluids are infected, it is best to avoid contact with them altogether.
Disease and infections from bloodborne pathogens are most likely to spread if the following conditions are present:
- A high amount of bloodborne pathogens.
- A source in which the pathogens can multiply, such as blood or bodily fluids.
- A way for the pathogens to move from the source to the host.
- A point of entry for the pathogen to infect the host.
- A host that is vulnerable to infection or disease.
Professionals that provide biohazard cleanup services help prevent the transmission of disease or infection from bloodborne pathogens by disrupting one or more of these conditions. Even though most harmful pathogens come from blood, it is possible for other bodily fluids to contain these pathogens, especially if they have been mixed with blood. This is why it is best to react to any bodily fluid as an infectious material and leave the cleanup to professionals.
The Spread of Bloodborne Diseases
As mentioned above, there are several ways that a bloodborne pathogen can make its way from the blood source to your body. You must understand the main ways in which these pathogens spread to keep yourself protected:
- Direct Contact: Harmful pathogens are transferred directly from an infected individual to another individual. This may occur if infected blood touches an exposed wound of a non-infected person.
- Parenteral Exposure: A sharp object that was exposed to infected blood pierces the body of a non-infected individual.
- Indirect Contact: The pathogens are transferred to an individual that handles a contaminated object.
- Airborne Transmission: Infectious pathogens are transferred through the air. It is rare for bloodborne pathogens to be spread this way.
If you encounter the scene of an accident or violent crime like a homicide that contains blood, you must exercise extreme caution and avoid any contact with potentially infectious materials. It is best to leave biohazard and homicide cleanup to the licensed professionals that have the right cleaning products and protective equipment to safely restore the scene. Make sure you contact 911, as well as a certified biohazard cleaning professional as soon as you discover a scene containing blood or other infectious materials.