The Chain of Infection

As healthcare professionals, it is important to understand two things about infection: infection

1.the various ways infection can be transmitted 2. the ways the infection chain can be broken

There are six links in the chain of infection : .

1st .The Infectious Agent -any disease-causing microorganism (pathogen) .

The Reservoir Host -the organism in which the infectious microbes reside .2nd .

.What are ³Carrier Hosts´ Hosts that do not show any outward signs or symptoms of a disease but are still capable of transmitting the disease are known as carriers.

Examples: respiratory secretions. blood exposure.3rd . breaks in skin .The Portal of Exit -route of escape of the pathogen from the reservoir.

The Route of Transmission -method by which the pathogen gets from the reservoir to the new host .4th .

Transmission may occur through: direct contact .

air .

insects .

The Portal of Entry -route through which the pathogen enters its new host .5th .

Respiratory System .

Gastrointestinal System .

Urinary & Reproductive Tracts .

Breaks in Protective Skin Barrier .

The Susceptible Host -the organism that accepts the pathogen The support of pathogen life & its reproduction depend on the degree of the host¶s resistance.6th . .

.Organisms with strong immune systems are better able to fend off pathogens.

Organisms with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to the support & reproduction of pathogens. .

How to interrupt the chain of infection: -The essential part of patient care & self-protection. .

1. Pathogen Identification -identification of infectious agent & appropriate treatment .

Asepsis & Hygiene -potential hosts & carriers must practice asepsis & maintain proper personal hygiene .2.

Control Portals of Exit -healthcare personnel must practice standard precautions: .3.

) .(Control body secretions & wash hands according to protocol.

Not working when contagious . Prevent a Route of Transmission -prevent direct or indirect contact by: 1. Proper handwashing 2. Isolation of infected patients 4. Disinfection & sterilization techniques 3.4.

(nose.) . eyes. urinary tract. open wounds. etc. mouth.5. Protect Portal of Entry -Health professionals must make sure that ports of entry are not subjected to pathogens.

6. Recognition of Susceptible Host -health professionals must recognize & protect high-risk patients .

‡Cancer Patients ‡AIDS Patients ‡Transplant Patients ‡Infant & Elderly Patients .

Remember--breaking Remember--breaking the chain of infection is the responsibility of each health professional. .