The risk of infections is present not only in hospitals, but in other patient-care settings such as clinical practices. Clinical personnel work with or around infectious waste, regulated medical waste, and persons with communicable diseases. Clinical personnel may also be exposed to infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, bacterial meningitis, and influenza through droplet transmission and/or direct or indirect contact.
Clinical personnel can be exposed to bloodborne pathogens via blood or other potentially infectious material from a percutaneous stick from a contaminated needle or other sharp instrument after contaminated blood enters a break in the skin, splatters onto mucous membranes, or upon ingestion. Hepatitis B (HBV) is the most prevalent work-related infectious disease in the United States. Although blood is the major source of the virus, it may also be present in saliva, semen, and feces. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) may also be acquired by exposure to infected blood or body fluids.
Clinicians may also be exposed to infectious diseases via airborne transmission including, but are not limited to: tuberculosis or chickenpox.