Bloodborne Pathogens

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In this home study course, the learner will discover that a pathogen is simply an agent that causes disease and that they are all around us. They are on the surfaces you touch, in the air you breathe, in swimming pools and in drinking water. Bloodborne pathogens are pathogens that are found in human blood. Common examples are HIV, syphillis, hepatitis B and C as well as malaria. Learn about necessary precautions you must take as a healthcare provider. We have listed the chapters below and you can read through some of the material that is in the course for more information.

Blood Borne Pathogens Course Outline (1 CEU):
  • Chapter One: What are Blood Borne Pathogens?

A pathogen is simply any agent that causes disease.i Pathogens are “the first link in the chain of infection,” and can include more commonly known items such as viruses and bacteria.ii Pathogens also include parasites, fungi and other organisms.iii Not all microbes are pathogens because they do not cause harm to humans.iv

  • Chapter Two: Blood Borne Pathogen Examples

Varieties of hepatitis are the most common blood borne pathogens, with hepatitis B being the most common of all.v It is estimated that as many as 300,000 people per year contract hepatitis The word “hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver, and it can lead to liver failure and eventually death.vii The hepatitis A virus generally is short-lived, but the hepatitis B, C, and D can last a lifetime. Hepatitis E also exists, but is generally does not originate in the United States (is more common in international travelers).viii

  • Chapter Three:Preventing the Spread of Blood Borne Pathogens

The therapist will learn of possible places where pathogens can be such as in linens, drapes and sheets covering the table. When handling contaminated items, precautions must be taken. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a set of recommendations for preventing the spread of blood borne pathogens that will be covered in this course.




i International Association of Firefighters, “What is a Pathogen,” 2004,

ii Ibid.

iii U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Pathogen Information,”

iv Ingrid Koo, Infectious Diseases, “Definition of Pathogen,”

v Nancy Magnussen, Texas A&M University, “Bloodborne Pathogens,” August 2, 1997,

vi Ibid.

vii About.Com Symptom Checker, “Hepatitis Overview,”

viii Ibid.



Continuing education units (CEUs) are provided via electronic download in PDF format. Review the course work at your own pace and then take the included test online. You can print your certificate immediately after passing each test! All coursework is NCBTMB approved (NCBTMB # 451897-12). NOTE: Each state has different requirements. Please be sure to check our state requirements page and contact your state to verify your requirements.