Help Break the Chain of Infection

NFID is again partnering with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology  (APIC) as a supporter of International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW). Held annually during the third week of October, IIPW aims to raise awareness about the role that infection prevention plays in improving patient safety. The 2016 theme is “Break the Chain of Infection.” For more information about IIPW, visit http://professionals.site.apic.org/iipw/

iipwThere are many different germs and infections inside, outside, and around healthcare settings. Despite the variety of viruses and bacteria, germs spread from person to person through a common sequence of events. No matter the germ, there are 6 points at which the chain can be broken and a germ can be stopped from infecting others. The 6 points include: the infectious agent, reservoir, portal of exit, means of transmission, portal of entry, and susceptible host. The way to stop germs from spreading is by interrupting the chain at any link.

  • Infectious agent is the pathogen (germ) that causes disease
  • Reservoir includes places in the environment where the pathogen lives, such as people, animals, and insects, medical equipment, and even soil or water
  • Portal of exit is the way the infectious agent leaves the reservoir (through open wounds, aerosols, or coughing, sneezing, and saliva)
  • Means of transmission are the ways the infectious agent can be passed on (direct contact, ingestion, or inhalation)
  • Portal of entry is the way the infectious agent can enter a new host (through broken skin, respiratory tract, mucous membranes or, for those in healthcare settings, catheters and lines)
  • The host is any carrier of an infection or someone at risk of infection.

Healthcare professionals and consumers can ‘break the chain’ by practicing proper hand hygiene, staying current on all recommended vaccines (including annual flu vaccines), covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick, and using antibiotics wisely to prevent antibiotic resistance. Play your part during IIPW:

To join the conversation, follow NFID on Twitter (@nfidvaccines) using the hashtag #IIPW, like us on Facebook, join the NFID Linkedin Group, and subscribe to NFID Updates.

 

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