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14 types of infections caused by exposure to healthcare related wastes

Proper handling of medical waste is not only the law, locally and federally, it protects employees and others from becoming contaminated by infectious pathogens (bacterium, virus or other microorganisms), causing serious illness and diseases.

Infectious waste may contain various pathogenic microorganisms, which can enter the body through various modes; this includes:

• through a puncture, abrasion or cut in the skin

• through the mucous membranes

• by inhalation

• by ingestion

The World Health Organization, Table 3.1, lists examples of infections that can be caused due to improper medical waste disposal and the ways these infections are transported:

  1. Gastroenteric infections: Spread through feces and/or vomit

  2. Respiratory infections: Inhaled secretions, saliva

  3. Ocular infections: Eye secretions

  4. Genital infections: Genital secretions

  5. Skin infections: Pus

  6. Anthrax: Skin secretions

  7. Meningitis: Cerebrospinal fluid

  8. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS): Blood, sexual secretions

  9. Hemorrhagic fevers: All bloody products and secretions

  10. Septicemia: Blood

  11. Bacteremia: Blood

  12. Candidemia: Blood

  13. Viral hepatitis A: Feces

  14. Viral hepatitis B and C: Blood and body fluids

People and professions most at risk include:

  • medical doctors, nurses, auxiliaries and hospital maintenance

  • patients in health-care establishments or receiving home care

  • visitors to health-care establishments

  • workers in health-care support services, such as laundries, waste handling and transportation

  • workers in waste disposal facilities (such as landfills or incinerators)

Safe handling and proper disposal of medical waste is the only way to eliminate the risk of exposure to healthcare related wastes, preventing illness and disease.

What is your plan to ensure safe handling and proper disposal of medical waste? San Diego Medical Waste can help: or 619-990-4604. San Diego Medical Waste has all your professional, medical waste needs.