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Correctional Health Care Workers

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.

Cross-Contamination

Correctional Health Care Workers logoYou may be familiar with bloodborne diseases, but unsure if dried blood on a counter top is really something to be worried about.

It is.

This is because certain bloodborne viruses can live for days outside the body and still cause infection. Hepatitis B virus can live in dried blood for up to a week.1Hepatitis C virus can survive for up to four days.2

Work surfaces that become contaminated with blood or other body fluids* can expose you to a bloodborne disease through cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is the spread of germs from one surface to another by contact.

When applying universal precautions, blood and other body fluids* from all patients are considered potentially infectious for HIV, HBV, and other bloodborne pathogens.

There are a few basic infection control practices that can reduce your chance of being exposed through cross-contamination:

  • disinfect surfaces that may have been in contact with blood or other body fluids*.3
  • change your gloves after having contact with a patient.4
  • refrain from touching personal items, such as a pen or notepad, when you are wearing gloves that could be contaminated.5

* “Other body fluids” includes other potentially infectious material, such as semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal, synovial, pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and amniotic fluids, and any other body fluid that contains visible blood.

  1. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Frequently Asked Questions About Hepatitis B
  2. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Frequently Asked Questions About Hepatitis C
  3. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 1989. Guidelines for Prevention of Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis B Virus to Health-Care and Public-Safety Workers A Response to P.L. 100-607 The Health Omnibus Programs Extension Act of 1988. MMWR Vol. 38(S-6): 3-37.
  4. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 1987. Recommendations for Prevention of HIV Transmission in Health-Care Setttings. MMWR Vol. 36(SU02); 001
  5. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 1989. Guidelines for Prevention of Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis B Virus to Health-Care and Public-Safety Workers A Response to P.L. 100-607 The Health Omnibus Programs Extension Act of 1988. MMWR Vol. 38(S-6): 3-37.
 
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  • Page last reviewed: August 18, 2010 (archived document)
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