Blood-borne disease

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Blood-borne disease
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 Xxx.x
ICD-9-CM xxx

A blood-borne disease is one that can be spread through contamination by blood and other body fluids. The most common examples are HIV, hepatitis B and viral hemorrhagic fevers.

Diseases that are not usually transmitted directly by blood contact, but rather by insect or other vector, are more usefully classified as vector-borne disease, even though the causative agent can be found in blood. Vector-borne diseases include West Nile virus and malaria.

Many blood-borne diseases can also be contracted by other means, including high-risk sexual behavior or intravenous drug use. These diseases have also been identified in sports medicine.[1]

Since it is difficult to determine what pathogens any given blood contains, and some blood-borne diseases are lethal, standard medical practice regards all blood (and any body fluid) as potentially infectious. Blood and Body Fluid precautions are a type of infection control practice that seeks to minimize this sort of disease transmission.

Blood poses the greatest threat to health in a laboratory or clinical setting due to needlestick injuries (e.g., lack of proper needle disposal techniques and/or safety syringes).

Blood for blood transfusion is screened for many blood-borne diseases. Additionally, a technique that uses a combination of riboflavin and UV light to inhibit the replication of these pathogens by altering their nucleic acids can be used to treat blood components prior to their transfusion, and can reduce the risk of disease transmission.[2][3][4]

A technology using the synthetic psoralen, amotosalen HCl, and UVA light (320–400 nm) has been implemented in European blood centers for the treatment of platelet and plasma components to prevent transmission of blood-borne diseases caused by bacteria, viruses and protozoa.[5][6]

Needle exchange programmes are an attempt to reduce the spread of blood-borne diseases between intravenous drug users.


  1. ^ Jason J. Pirozzolo; Donald C. LeMay (July 2007). "Blood-Borne Infections". p. Volume 26, Issue 3 , 425–431,. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ Goodrich RP, et al., “Arkk Laboratory Comparison of Pathogen Reduction Technology Treatment and Culture of Platelet Products for Addressing Bacterial Contamination Concerns.” Transfusion 2009;49 : 1205–1216.
  3. ^ Ruane PH, et al., “Photochemical Inactivation of Selected Viruses and Bacteria in Platelet Concentrates Using Riboflavin and Light.” Transfusion 2004; 44: 877-885.
  4. ^ Goodrich RP, et al. “The Mirasol PRT System for Pathogen Reduction of Platelets and Plasma: An Overview of Current Status and Future Trends.” Transfusion and Apheresis Science 2006; 35 (1): 5-17.
  5. ^ Osselaer et al. "Universal adoption of pathogen inactivation of platelet components: impact on platelet and red blood cell component use". Transfusion 2009; 49:1412–1422.
  6. ^ Cazenave et al. "An active hemovigilance program characterizing the safety profile of 7,483 transfusions with plasma components prepared with amotosalen and UVA photochemical treatment". Transfusion 2010;50:1210–1219.

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