What causes people to get sick? How is disease spread from one person to another person? What can be done to stop the spread of infection and disease?
As a health care worker, it is important to know the answers to these questions. When you understand what causes infection, you can learn how to prevent it. Infection control is a set of practices and procedures that will help to prevent the transmission of disease within a health care facility.
Infectious and Communicable Diseases
Diseases can be classified according to whether or not they can be transmitted from one person to another person. An infectious disease results from an invasion of microorganisms, such as bacteria or viruses. A communicable disease is a type of infectious disease that can be transmitted from one person to another person.
Not all infectious diseases are communicable. For example, Lyme disease is caused by bacteria, but it cannot be transmitted from person to person. Hepatitis B, on the other hand, is caused by a virus. The hepatitis B virus can be passed from person to person if exposure to blood or bodily fluids occurs.
One of the goals of infection control is to prevent the transmission of these communicable diseases.
Transmission of Communicable Diseases
Not all communicable diseases are transmitted the same way. Some communicable diseases are spread through direct contact. Examples of direct contact are touching an open wound on an infected person or having a sexual relationship with an infected person. Communicable diseases can also be spread through indirect contact. Indirect contact includes inhaling the air after an infected person has sneezed or handling soiled bed sheets from an infected patient.
For example, AIDS, Hepatitis B, and strep throat can be spread only through direct contact. On the other hand, chicken pox, pink eye, and pneumonia can be spread through direct or indirect contact. There are many different types of communicable diseases, and health