What Are The 10 Most Common Bloodborne Pathogens?

Hepatitis A

Description

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. The disease can result in liver inflammation. It can also impair liver functioning.

How is Hepatitis A Transmitted?

Hepatitis A is transmitted in a number of different ways. The virus that causes hepatitis A can be transmitted through contact with an infected individual’s blood or by having sexual contact with that person. Hepatitis A is also transmitted via contaminated food. Hepatitis does not cause long-term liver damage and does not become chronic.

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis A?

In some cases, a hepatitis A infection is mild and a person never exhibits any discernably symptoms. In such a situation, the infection resolves itself in a relatively short period of time. The common symptoms of hepatitis A include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sudden nausea
  • Sudden vomiting
  • Abdominal discomfort or pain
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice
  • Intense itching

In a majority of cases, these symptoms are relatively mild and last a couple of weeks. In some cases, the symptoms are more pronounced and can last for several months. If you exhibit some of these symptoms, seek medical attention. If you learn you’ve been exposed to the virus, your doctor can give you the hepatitis Your doctor can administer a vaccination which may prevent the development of the condition if you were infected.

How is Hepatitis A Controlled?

Because hepatitis A most often is transmitted through contaminated food, the best control tactic is good hygiene by individuals who handle and prepare food. In addition, taking proper protection when engaging in sexual activity is an important means of control. Finally, there is a vaccination that protects against hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B

Description

Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection. It is caused by the virus of the same name, also known as HBV, according to the Mayo Clinic. In most cases, a hepatitis B infection lasts for under six months and resolves. Keep in mind that there is no actual cure of the condition. In some cases, hepatitis B becomes chronic. This results in the risk of serious medical issues that include:

  • Liver failure
  • Liver cancer
  • Cirrhosis

How is Hepatitis B Transmitted?

The most common courses of transmission of hepatis B are:

  • Sexual contact with an infected person
  • Sharing needles
  • Accidental needle sticks
  • Mother to child (passed to infant during childbirth)

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis B?

The symptoms associated with hepatitis B include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice

How is Hepatitis B Controlled?

The best way to control or prevent hepatitis B is to obtain the hep B vaccine. Other tactics that can aid in reducing the risk of hepatitis B infection include practicing safer sex technique, not sharing needles, and utilizing universal precautions when having any type of contact with blood, blood products, and needles.

Hepatitis C

Description

Hepatitis C is passed through contact with certain bodily fluids, including blood and semen, of an infected person. It most often is transmitted through sexual contact, needles sharing, accidental needle sticks, and from mother to child during childbirth.

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis C?

Approximately 4 million people in the United States have hepatitis C, but the disease has so few symptoms, most people are unaware they have it, according to WebMD. The primary symptoms of hepatitis C are:

  • Jaundice
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Up to 85 percent of infected individuals develop chronic hepatitis C. These individuals run the risk of experiencing liver cancer and cirrhosis.

How is Hepatitis C Controlled?

No vaccine exists to prevent hepatitis C. With that, you can reduce the risk of transmission by engaging in safer sex practices, by not sharing needles, and by employing universal precautions when exposed to blood and blood products as well as needles.

Hepatitis D

Description

Hepatitis D is an infection caused by the virus of the same name that impacts the liver. Hepatitis D can only be contracted by individuals who already are infected with hepatitis B. Hepatitis D aggravates liver damage of people with hepatitis B. In addition, when infected with hepatitis D, a person who has hepatitis B, but has show no symptoms of that disease, may become symptomatic.  Hepatitis D normally resolves within half a year. However, there are instances in which it proves to be fatal, according to the Hepatitis B Foundation.

How is Hepatitis D Transmitted?

Hepatitis D is transmitted through passing of blood from an infected person to another individual. This most commonly occurs through sexual activity and the sharing of needles. There is a remote chance of transference through blood transfusions. As an aside, hepatitis D is the smallest known virus to infect humans. The virus is rare in the United States.

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis D?

The symptoms of hepatitis D include:

  • Jaundice
  • Joint pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue

How is Hepatitis D Controlled?

Hepatitis D can be controlled by obtaining the hepatitis B vaccination. If a person never contracts hepatitis B, that individual will not be infected with hepatitis D.

Hepatitis E

Description

Hepatitis E is a liver infection caused by the hep E virus. It is what medically is known as a “self-limited disease,” according to the CDC. This means that it does not become a chronic infection and does resolve. The infection is very rare in the United States.

How is Hepatitis E Transmitted?

Hepatitis E is caused through the ingestion of fecal matter. This typically occurs through drinking contaminated water.

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis E?

The primary symptoms of hepatitis E are:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Joint pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stool
  • Jaundice

How is Hepatitis E Controlled?

The most important tactic to control hepatitis E is to ensure the purity of drinking water. If you travel to a developing country, do not drink unpurified water. No vaccine exists for preventing hepatitis E.

Hepatitis G

Description

Hepatitis G is a fairly recently discovered infection of the liver that results in inflammation. It is considered to be a “distant cousin” to hepatitis C, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. At this juncture, little is known about this strain of hepatitis. With that said, it is thought to cause a mild infection that does not last long.

How is Hepatitis G Transmitted?

Information is incomplete on all possible ways hepatitis G might be transmitted. There is solid evidence that it has been transmitted through transfusions.

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis G?

Little information exists at this time regarding the symptoms of hepatitis G, in part because it is considered a mild condition. In addition, some people thought to have hepatitis G are already diagnosed with another form of the infection.

How is Hepatitis G Controlled?

Because hepatitis G is a bloodborne infection, safety precautions need to be exercised around blood. This includes utilizing safer sex practices, not sharing needles, and using universal precautions outlined previously when in possible contact with blood and blood products.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Description

The human immunodeficiency virus, of HIV, is what is known as a lentivirus, which medically is a subgroup of retrovirus, according to the CDC. The CDC has established a website dedicated exclusively to providing comprehensive information about HIV. Without treatment, HIV can result in AIDS. Moreover, without treatment, the expected lifespan of a person diagnosed with HIV is between 9 and 11 years.

How is HIV Transmitted?

HIV commonly is transmitted through sexual contact. This includes transfer via blood, semen, pre-ejaculate, and vaginal fluids. It is also possible to contract HIV through sharing needles and accidental needle sticks. Despite precautions and extensive safeguards, there remains a remote possibility of contracting HIV through a blood transfusion. An infected mother can pass the virus to her baby through breast milk.

What are the Symptoms of HIV?

The early symptoms of HIV are:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain

A person experiences some of these symptoms on a persistent basis should seek a medical evaluation. Only testing by a doctor can confirm an HIV infection.

How is HIV Controlled?

HIV is controlled by utilizing safer sex practices and not sharing needles. Universal precautions need to be exercised when exposed to blood and blood products.

Human T-Lymphotropic Virus 1 (HTLV)

Description

HTLV represents a family of viruses classified as human retroviruses. According to the Mayo Clinic, HTLV can cause a type of cancer in humans known as adult T-cell leukemia or adult T-cell lymphoma.

How is HTLV Transmitted?

HTLV is transmitted via blood to blood contact. This can occur via blood transfusions, sharing needles, and sexual activity.

What are the Symptoms of HTLV?

Symptoms of HTLV include:

  • Stiff muscles
  • Uncontrolled muscles contractions in the lower back or ankles
  • Leg spasms
  • Leg weakness

How is HTLV Controlled?

The most effective ways of limiting the risk of HTLV transmission is engaging in safer sex practices and never sharing needles. In addition, a person who comes into contact with blood should practice universal safety practices, including the wearing of gloves, aprons or smocks, and goggles.

Brucellosis

Description

Brucellosis is classified as an infectious disease, caused by bacteria, according to the CDC. The bacteria is found in animals including sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, as well as dogs.

How is Brucellosis Transmitted?

Brucellosis is transmitted by eating undercooked meat of infected animals. The bacteria is also transmitted by eating unpasteurized or raw dairy products from infected animals. Finally, it can be transmitted through broken skin when a person comes into contact with an infected animal. 

What are the Symptoms of Brucellosis?

Initial symptoms of infection include:

  • Fever
  • Sweats
  • Malaise
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

In some cases, longer-term symptoms may arise, and may become chronic. These include:

  • Recurring fevers
  • Arthritis
  • Swelling of the heart, liver, spleen, or testicles
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression

In about 5 percent of all cases, a person will experience ongoing neurological symptoms.

How is Brucellosis Controlled?

Brucellosis can be controlled by fully cooking meat and consuming only pasteurized dairy products. People who handle animal tissue should wear gloves, goggles, and aprons or gowns.

Syphilis

Description

Syphilis is classified as a serious sexually transmitted disease, according to the CDC. If not treated, the infection can have profound, and even fatal, consequences.

How is HTLV Syphilis?

Syphilis is transmitted when a person comes in contact with a sore caused by the infection on another person during sexual activity. The sores can be found around the penis, vagina, anus, lips, or mouth of an infected person.

What are the Symptoms of Syphilis?

Syphilis is divided into stages. Symptoms depend on the stage of the disease.

  • Primary Stage: A sore or sores develop at the site of infection. Sores resolve after three to six weeks, with or without treatment. Treatment is necessary to prevent transition to the next stage.
  • Secondary Stage: More widespread skin rashes develop during this stage. A person may also suffer fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue.
  • Latent Stage: An infected person experiences no symptoms of the disease. Treatment remains necessary to eradicate the disease from the body. The Latent Stage can last for years.
  • Tertiary Stage: Most people with syphilis never reach this stage. A person who does reach this stage can experience loss of muscle control, paralysis, numbness, and dementia.

How is HTLV Syphilis?

The risk of a syphilis infection is reduced, but not completely eliminated, by utilizing safe sex practices.