Exposures to Bloodborne Pathogens and Communicable Diseases

Policies and procedures concerning bloodborne pathogen exposures and exposures to communicable diseases are addressed during the Bloodborne Pathogens training program (provided via e-learning as part of the pre-internship course site). A copy of the University of Florida Exposure Control Plan is provided to each intern during the training and is available on the Environmental Health and Safety website.

It is the responsibility of the intern to report sharps injuries, needle sticks, or other potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens via blood or body fluids immediately to the supervisor at the facility where the accident occurs. In the event that the intern contracts a communicable disease which potentially poses a risk to patients, clients or co-workers (e.g. tuberculosis, varicella), steps will be taken to prevent dissemination in accordance with Student Health Care Center, Public Health and/or Center for Disease Control protocols. Certain communicable diseases may also be reported to county or state health authorities, as required by law.

Time is frequently of the essence in managing bloodborne pathogen exposures. For example, some treatment regimens must be started within two hours of exposure to be maximally effective.

In the event of any potential bloodborne pathogen exposure, the intern should clean the area with soap and water. Document the name of the source of the exposure and pertinent information regarding the situation and then notify their immediate site supervisor. Interns and/or internship supervisors are instructed to contact a medical provider (needle stick hotline) by calling 1-(866) 477-6824 (toll free) and follow the instructions provided; consultation is available 24-hours a day. The UF medical provider will make recommendations for immediate evaluation and care as follows:

1. If the intern is within a one-hour radius of Gainesville the intern should receive their care at the Student Health Care Center (SHCC) at the main Infirmary Building on Fletcher Drive, located next to the Florida Gym, (352) 392-1161. During Fall and Spring semesters, the SHCC is open Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. They are closed on weekends and university holidays. During Summer semester and semester breaks, please call the SHCC for hours.

2. If the intern is at an off-site location more than one-hour from Gainesville, the intern should notify their internship supervisor and the medical provider at 1-(866) 477-6824 (toll free), and then seek care at a nearby hospital emergency center. Subsequently, the intern should call to make an appointment at the SHCC @ the Infirmary Building for appropriate follow-up care.

3. If after hours, the intern should first call the needle stick hotline personnel at 1-(866) 477-6824 (toll free) for instructions regarding immediate care for potential bloodborne pathogen exposures. Care may be given at a local Emergency Department; the intern should call to make an appointment at the SHCC @ the Infirmary Building for appropriate follow-up care.


Please note: Your care must be paid for through your student and/or personal insurance or by some other means.