Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure

What is considered true exposure? There are two types of true exposures that one can sustain. One is from a sharp injury with a bloody object. The other is from blood or infectious body fluid exposure to non-intact skin, eyes or mucous membrane. Blood to intact skin is not a true exposure. See Infectious body fluids.

Blood/Body fluids exposure infection risk is low, even from an infectious patient. Your exposure will be reviewed after contacting the BBP surveillance nurse or after they receive your exposure report form.

Infectious body fluids

Blood, body fluids (cerebrospinal, pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, amniotic, synovial), seminal or vaginal secretions, or bloody fluids are considered infectious.


Feces, Urine, sweat, tears, vomit, sputum, saliva, GI feedings, trach or ventilator secretions are not considered infectious, unless these fluids are bloody. 

Needlesticks are of greater concern and have a higher risk of conversion if it is a “hollow” bore needle that has recently been in an artery or vein. Needles used for injection purposes are also low risk.

Here is the first thing you should do after sustaining an exposure:

First aid after sustaining any exposure: Cleanse skin immediately with antibacterial soap or Chlorhexidine. For eyes, rinse with water for at least 5 minutes. (see UCDHS Policy and Procedure # 2167).

Blood/Body Fluid Exposure (Needlesticks)Policy & Procedures (intranet)

Report exposure to the Bloodborne Surveillance Nurse located in Employee Health Services at 916-734-7585.

Fill out specific report for sharps or blood/body fluid exposure on-line by clicking on the Employee Exposure (EE) icon on your desktop. If you were injured with a clean needle, please complete the Injury and Illness Worksheet (PDF) .

If the on-line exposure does not print out a lab slip for the source patient, call 916-734-7585 and the lab slip can be downloaded and faxed to you (but only during business hours). Otherwise, you may need to re-enter the exposure on a different computer.