Blood borne pathogens include hepatitis B
, hepatitis C
, and HIV
. These viruses can be passed on to other people through blood exposures such as needle stick injuries and through contact with blood and body fluids – like saliva, coming in contact with mucous membranes including the eyes, nose and mouth. These viruses can also be passed on if an infected person’s blood or body fluids comes in contact with another person’s non intact skin including open wounds, scratches and bites.
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Role of the Northwestern Health Unit
The health unit follows up reports of blood exposures involving the general public and health professionals including emergency service workers, health care providers and dental professionals. Staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to review the incident, provide recommendations and to assist with the follow up of the exposed individual and the source person, if known.
The purpose of our investigation is to make sure appropriate measures are in place so the risk of transmission of blood borne pathogens is greatly reduced. Measures may include vaccination and post exposure prophylaxis for HIV and hepatitis B. Health Unit staff can also provide information to health care providers on appropriate testing and to individuals on the ways to reduce the risk of passing infections on to others.
If you have been involved in a blood exposure or have questions or concerns and would like to speak with a public health professional, please call 1-800-830-5978 or your local office
.© Developed by the Middlesex-London Health Unit and adapted with permission.