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2007 Bloodborne Viruses Policy
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Bloodborne Viruses

Page updated 30 April 2007

Bloodborne Viruses

Key Points

Patients with bloodborne viruses are generally not infectious to others, but healthcare staff are at risk because of sharps injuries

All staff must be immunised against Hepatitis B virus and know their immune status. Staff who are infectious carriers of hepatitis B or C virus and HIV are not allowed to perform exposure-prone procedures (EPP)

Staff members must alert Occupational Health if they think they may have HIV or HCV and intend to perform EPPs

Consultants have a responsibility to inform staff when they know a patient has a BBV

Introduction

The care of patients who are known to be, or likely to be, infected by HBV, HIV and HCV presents a potential hazard of infection to health care workers through inoculation accidents with used "sharps" and contamination of skin and mucous membranes with blood or other body fluids.

It is essential that when such patients are admitted to hospital, the clinician in charge ensures that all staff who have direct dealings with them (or materials arising from them) are informed of the risk of infection. Staff must take care to avoid inoculation accidents and contaminating themselves with blood or body fluids from ALL patients in their care, irrespective of the perceived risk of infection, thus reducing the risk of acquiring blood-borne infection.