Types of Biological Hazards

Virus and bacteria, plants, birds and animals, humans, and plants, can all pose what is referred to as a biological hazard. This type of hazard can be in the form of allergies, infections (e.g. hepatitis), and even cancer. Any worker that deals with the elements mentioned above needs to take appropriate measures to not only avoid biological hazards, but to also avoid creating them for others, such as in food handling.

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a virus that slowly destroys the body's immune system, leaving it vulnerable to a hos of illnesses, eventually causing death, as there is presently no cure for AIDS.

Anthrax

This is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium, called Bacillus, that produces a spore which can cause infections of the lungs. It can also affect the skin, mouth, throat, and part of the digestive system. Usually it is acquired via inhalation or eating contaminated undercooked food (usually meat).

Hepatitis

This refers to an infection of the liver. There are various types of hepatitis, referred to as A, B, C, D, E. Some are caused by infections, some by a specific virus. It can be spread from human to human via bodily fluids. Immunization exists for A and B, but not for the others. Some forms clear on their own after a few weeks, while others, in some cases, may cause death or at least severe illness.

Influenza

Not to be confused with the common cold, which is much less seriously, influenza, also known as the flu, is a virus that affects the respiratory track (throat, lungs, nose, mouth, etc). The elderly, and people with other health problems, are much more susceptible to complications. In some cases it can cause death. Immunization exists for influenza, which seems to get worse in the winter, but it changes regularly so the medical profession is always working to keep up with the different forms.

The Common Cold

Also caused by a virus, but much less severe than influenza. It is very difficult to distinguish from the flu, so if symptoms persist medical attention should be sought, especially for susceptible groups (e.g. elderly and really young).

Lyme Disease

A bacterium that is spread by ticks, which is spread to the host (e.g. rodents, pets, humans, etc). It can cause flu-like symptoms, as well as arthritis, and cardiac irregularities. This is of particular concern for outdoor workers inn areas where there are a lot of trees/plants and wild animals. Other symptoms: rashes, extreme fatigue, sore joints, headaches, fever, etc.
Rabies:

A very serious virus, that infects and destroys brain tissue, that will lead to death if medical attention isn't obtained quickly. Anyone suspecting of coming in contact with an infection must seek medical help immediately (vaccination), before warning signs appear. Once warning signs appear it is almost always to late to save that person. It is contracted by exposure to bodily fluids from any warm-blooded animal, even a scratch from an infected cat or dog, or droplets enter into the eyes or nose.

Tuberculosis

An infection of the lungs caused by a bacteria called Mycolbacterium Tuberculosis, which infects the lungs. Weight loss, fatigue, fever, and coughing are warning signs. Treatment exists and is usually very successful. Many times treatment is not needed as the person's immune system can handle the infections. But precautions should be taken not to transmit the disease.

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