Blood-Borne Pathogens: The Dangers of Blood and Bodily Fluids

Recently, an official from a Ronald McDonald House called us about an accident that occurred at the house and which involved copious amounts of blood. Prior to the call, volunteers at the house had cleaned up the accident scene, despite the major risk of blood-borne pathogens (BPP). After the fact, officials were concerned about the welfare of their volunteers and of the public whom they serve, and they wanted our advice about the safest and most effective way to handle future accidents like this.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world stay at the 307 Ronald McDonald Houses in the United States to be near their critically ill children and their children’s medical team. Many houses serve more than 2,000 families a year. With this much public traffic, accidents are bound to happen. We told the official who called us that laymen should NEVER attempt to clean an accident scene where blood and bodily fluids are present.

Bodily Fluids = Bio-Hazards

Federal regulations consider all bodily fluids to be bio-hazards, due to the likelihood of them carrying blood-borne pathogens. BBP’s are spread through contact with someone else’s blood or bodily fluids. A “pathogen” is anything that causes a disease, and it can be bacterial or viral. Pathogens can thrive in all bodily fluids whether the fluids are still wet or have dried.

Blood-borne pathogens get into the body via:

  • blood
  • amniotic fluid
  • semen
  • vaginal fluids

BBP’s enter the body when the one person’s bodily fluids:

  • directly splash on mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose and mouth.
  • directly touch open abrasions.
  • indirectly transfer from contaminated needles or sharp objects puncturing the skin.

Exposure to BBP’s is most common when untrained people try to clean up an accident scene and:

  • fail to wear adequate, professional-grade protective clothing.
  • use an inappropriate disposal container for a contaminated item.
  • get nicked by a sharp object or stuck by a needle contaminated with blood or other bodily fluid.

Contact with bodily fluids commonly causes Hepatitis B and C and also HIV, three very serious, life-threatening diseases. There are no cures or vaccines for any of these diseases.

Hepatitis B & C: Two Deadly Blood-borne Pathogens

Hepatitis is a highly infectious that causes inflammation of the liver. It and its related liver diseases kill over 15,000 people a year. Hepatitis is the main cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplants. To prevent contracting this disease, the Hepatitis B Foundation recommends having no direct contact with blood and bodily fluids. The World Health Organization recommends safe handling and disposal of needles, other sharp objects, and other contaminated waste. Proper infectious disease cleanup methods should be used in the event of these viruses being present.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis B Foundation, and Viral Hepatitis Action Coalition

HIV: The Immune System Destroyer

HIV, which kills about 15,000 people a year, is another virus that is spread through contact with bodily fluids. The virus eventually destroys the immune system cells, leaving the body unable to fight disease and infection. Without a working immune system, the body is left wide open to deadly and unusual diseases and cancers that a healthy body can destroy.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Why Trust Advanced Bio Treatment To Eliminate Risk?
  • We Work Fast

The longer you are in contact with contaminated objects, the greater the probability those contaminants will permeate personal protective clothing. We can work faster than you can because we are experienced, and we have the right chemicals and machines to get the job done quickly.

  • We Wear Professional-Grade Protective Clothing

To make sure we thoroughly decontaminate the accident scene, we wear professional-grade PPE (personal protective equipment) clothes, like head-to-toe Tyvek suits and layers of sealed rubber gloves, which meet or exceed all OSHA guidelines, to minimize our exposure to blood-borne pathogens and the chemicals we use to clean them up.

  • We Are Highly Trained

Our technicians are thoroughly trained in state and federal guidelines for handling bio-hazard waste. They are also trained in cleaning methods, chemical applications, hidden bio-hazards, and containment of the affected area to eliminate the possibility of spreading contamination to other parts of the environment.

  • We Use Hospital-Grade Cleaning Materials

Advanced Bio Treatment professionals use hospital-grade chemicals to thoroughly clean and decontaminate the environment. We know which chemicals work on which surfaces, how long a particular disinfectant must stay on a surface to decontaminate it, and what diseases are killed by which disinfectants. We are trained to avoid cross-contamination and re-contamination as we work, a critical concern especially in places frequented by the public.

  • We Safely Remove Bio-Hazard Waste

Some waste contaminated with blood cannot be cleaned. Our trained professionals recognize what can and cannot be salvaged. We are licensed to safely remove and transport bio-hazard waste, and we follow all EPA, OSHA, and state guidelines for handling, packaging, and removing bio-hazard waste.

We repeatedly caution you not to attempt to clean up an accident scene by yourself because of the presence of deadly blood-borne pathogens. This is especially true if the accident happens in a place frequented by the public, like the Ronald McDonald House whose officials called us for advice. Chances are, you do not have the right protective clothing, the right waste containers, the right disinfectants, or sufficient knowledge and training to protect yourself or future occupants coming into the area.

For the safety of everyone, we urge you to call the professionals at Advanced Bio Treatment– if you’re a Ronald McDonald House in our working area, we proudly provide all our professional services free of charge. We are here to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We take emergency calls and in most situations, can be on the scene within one hour of your call. For more assistance in blood and bodily-fluid cleanup, contact us at 800-295-1684.