Universal Precautions: When Handling Biological Materials
Universal Precautions q Universal Precautions are defined by CDC as “a set of precautions designed to prevent transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Hepatitis C virus (HCV), and other blood-borne pathogens. ” q Blood and other patient’s body fluids are considered potentially infectious for HIV, HBV, and other bloodborne pathogens.
Universal Precautions q Laboratory staff who handle body fluids such as blood, urine, stool, sputum, etc. should observe the following precautions: 1. Prevent skin and mucous-membrane exposure when handling blood or other body fluids. 2. Use personal protection barriers when available (e. g. , gloves, lab coats , and safety glasses). 3. Wash hands after removing gloves (when possible). 4. Clean laboratory benches before and after procedures with an appropriate disinfectant.
Universal Precautions 5. Dispose of cuvettes and needles into sharps containers to prevent injuries. 6. Dispose of all other used materials (e. g. , gauze, alcohol swabs, etc. ) into biohazard bags for incineration or appropriate disposal. 7. Immediately report all accidents or injuries to your supervisor. 8. In the event of an injury: § Squeeze the blood out of the injury and wash the site of the injury with soap and water immediately. § Disinfect with 70% alcohol. § Test a blood specimen of the source individual for HIV and Hepatitis B as early as possible (within 24 hours).
Universal Precautions § Document the following data related to the nature of the exposed, status of the source individual, and status of the exposed laboratory staff member: § Name and data of the source individual § Time and date of exposure § Nature of exposure § Body site exposed § Infective status of the source
Universal Precautions q Laboratory staff have a high risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens, especially HIV, HBV, and HCV. q These workers should take into consideration that all blood specimens are potentially infectious and therefore should adhere to the standard universal precautions while collecting or handling specimens.