WHAT ARE AIRBORNE PATHOGENS?Airborne pathogens differ from bloodborne pathogens in that they are spread by inhaling the germ. An infectious person's coughing or sneezing can send tiny droplets of moisture into the air that contain the pathogen. Depending on the environment, these contaminants can remain airborne for several hours.
There are three types of airborne
Bacterial, & Fungal
If an airborne pathogen is inhaled, the pathogen may be transmitted. Exposure to airborne pathogens does not always result in infection, however. The likelihood of transmission depends on the following:
· How contagious the infectious person is
· Where the exposure occurs
· How long the exposure lasts
· How healthy you are at the time of the exposureThose individuals who are around an infectious person on a regular basis, such as family members and coworkers, are more susceptible to airborne pathogens than someone who experiences a single isolated exposure.
How Is TB Spread?
TB is spread when a person inhales the TB pathogen, which is present in the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes. Depending on room size, ventilation, and other factors, the TB pathogen can live up to 1 to 1-1/2 hours outside the body.
Symptoms of TBPeople with TB infection often have no symptoms and do not feel sick. If the infection advances to TB disease, however, the person's symptoms may include: Weight loss, fever, night sweats & feeling weak.
If the TB affects the person's lungs, the common symptoms include coughing, chest pain, and coughing up blood. Other symptoms depend on the part of the body affected.How Do I Know If I Have TB?
The tuberculin skin test, also called the Mantoux test, reveals whether a person is infected with the TB bacteria. This test is performed by injecting a small amount of tuberculin fluid under the skin in the lowcr part of the arm. Two or three days later, the test spot result is checked by a healthcare worker.
This test is generally recommended for employees who have been at risk because of being near people who may have TB, such as those employed in the workplaces listed earlier.
General guidelines to reduce the risk of TB exposure may include:
· Requesting that all employees cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue to help eliminate airborne pathogens
· Using ventilation systems to circulate fresh air and help reduce the spread of airborne pathogens
· Using tuberculocidal disinfectants to eliminate TB germs on work surfaces
· Requiring TB tests at the time of hiring, and providing routine testing for TB
Like an exposure to a bloodborne pathogen, an exposure to a known TB source should be reported to your employer. Similarly, you have the right to know if you have been exposed. Following an exposure you should be tested for TB, and if you are infected, you should make arrangements for appropriate treatment.
Treatment of TB
TB infections can be treated, although depending on the likelihood that the TB infection will develop into TB disease, sometimes the person is not treated ifthere is little risk of the disease resulting. Factors that influence this decision include the person's age, overall health, lifestyle, and occupation.
TB disease can be cured by taking prescribed antibiotics, generally for 6 to 12 months. The drugs must be taken exactly as prescribed. If taken incorrectly, or if the full round of treatment is not completed, the TB germs may become resistant to treatment.
In 2003, an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome
(SARS) in some parts of the world caused a new scare. SARS is
primarily an infectious disease, transmitted when an infected person
coughs or sneezes within close proximity of others. During the
2003 epidemic, almost 10% of the approximately 8000 known SARS victoms
in the world died. Only 7 people in the U.S. were known to have
contracted SARS, however, all during international travel to epidemic
areas. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
continues to monitor the risks of SARS and will issue updates and
warnings if new outbreaks occur