Guideline on the prevention of transmission of bloodborne viruses from infected healthcare workers in healthcare settings

From Public Health Agency of Canada


The purpose of this guideline is to provide a national framework for developing policies and procedures to prevent the transmission of bloodborne viruses (BBVs), specifically human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and hepatitis B virus (HBV) from infected healthcare workers (HCWs) to patients in the healthcare setting.

Advancements in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of infections due to BBVs as well as major improvements in guideline development methodology informed the development of this guideline. Key stakeholder consultation was conducted prior to writing the guideline and an extensive consultation followed the development of the draft guideline, with feedback incorporated into the final version.

This guideline assumes that HCWs will adhere to Routine Practices when providing care to all patients at all times and in all settings. As long as HCWs infected with a BBV adhere to these practices, the risk of transmission from these HCWs to patients is negligible, except during exposure-prone procedures, which may pose an increased but minimal risk. Recommendations provided in this guideline will further reduce the minimal risk to patients and provide guidance for the management of HCWs infected with BBVs.

This guideline replaces Health Canada’s 1998 Proceedings of the Consensus Conference on Infected Health Care Workers: Risk for Transmission of Bloodborne Pathogens. It provides a comprehensive evidence-based document to facilitate a consistent pan-Canadian approach to the management of HCWs infected with a BBV.

Who is this guideline for

This guideline applies to all healthcare workers with specific recommendations for healthcare workers infected with a bloodborne virus. The recommendations are intended to assist those involved with the assessment and management of healthcare workers infected with a bloodborne virus, either individually (e.g., treating physician, members of Expert Review Panels) or generally (e.g., regulatory authorities).

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Details and history

Published: July 8, 2019

For assistance

Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control, Public Health Agency of Canada


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