Understanding Bloodborne Pathogens

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Understanding Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne Pathogens are pathogenic microorganisms that can eventually cause disease. They are found in human blood and other bodily fluids such as synovial fluid, semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid and any other fluid that mixes or has contact with blood. The bloodborne pathogens are pathogenic, which means they are disease causing, and they are also microorganisms, which means that they are very small so the human eye cannot see them.

Bloodborne pathogens are viruses that deteriorate cells within the body. A virus is a submicroscopic parasitic organism that feeds on cells. Viruses are dependent on cells for their nutrients so the virus survive and reproduce. Every virus consists of either deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA). A virus can contain a strand of one or the other, but not both. This RNA or DNA is contained within a protein shell for protection. A virus is a parasite that is dependent upon cells for metabolic and reproductive requirements. By using the cell the virus makes the host very ill by redirecting cellular activity to make more viruses.

Most Significant Bloodborne Pathogens

Two of the most significant bloodborne pathogens are HBV (Hepatitis B Virus) and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Some of the other bloodborne pathogens include Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D, and Syphilis. These are less significant and not as life threatening as the two listed above.

Hepatitis B

The Hepatitis B virus is a disease that affects the liver and results in swelling and loss of normal function in the liver. It is estimated that 350 million people are infected with Hepatitis B worldwide, with 50 million new cases diagnosed every year.(1) In the Unit...

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...ainst a variety of illnesses which can develop into opportunistic infections and cancers. AIDS was first identified in 1981, and since then more than 500,000 American people have been reported as having AIDS. About 2/3 of those people had died through 1995. Approximately 50% of patients develop AIDS within 10 years of becoming HIV infected. After people acquire AIDS they usually die within 2 years of infection.

There is no vaccine for HIV, but there are some drugs that can extend their lives. Some of the treatments that are offered are very expensive and are not available to all people with HIV. Also, these treatments do not work for about 20% of people who have tried them. Some of the best ways to avoid contracting HIV is to abstain from sexual intercourse and from sharing needles if you do drugs. Do not share personal items that may be contaminated with blood.
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