Infection Control Nvq 3 Unit 0.20

Topics: Bacteria, Infection, Infectious disease Pages: 5 (1465 words) Published: June 20, 2013
1.1 and 1.2

Bacteria - are micro-organisms that consist of only one cell. Bacteria multiply by splitting themselves in two, which is called a binary fission. Because of this they can increase in number rapidly. The majority are harmless, but some can be pathogenic which results in bacterial infection occuring. Bacterial infections can be treated by using antibiotics. Bacteria can evolve a resistance to antibiotic e.g. MRSA. Some diseases caused by bacteria include tuberculosis, pneumonia, salmonella, tetanus and syphilis.

Viruses - are extremely small particles made from protein and either DNA or RNA. They are not made up of cells instead they invade the living cells of other organisms and use them to produce many copies of themselves. Viruses are smaller than bacteria and are enclosed in protective coating. This makes it more difficult to kill them. Antibiotics do not kill viruses. Some diseases caused by viruses include common cold, influenza, AIDS, chickenpox and shingles.

Fungi unlike bacteria may consist of more than one cell. Most of them are invisible to the naked eye, but sometimes they can grow to the size as large enough to be noticed. Many fungi multiply and spread by producing tiny spores that are carried in the air. Sometimes they multiply by splitting themselves in two like bacteria. They thrive in warm and moist areas of the body. They are treated using antifungal medications. Some infection caused by fungi include trush, ringworm and athlete's foot.

Parasites are dependent on the host for their existance. They are multicellular organisms. They can be divided in two groups: ectoparasites (live on human body - on skin or in the hair e.g. scabies, lice, ticks and fleas), endoparasites (live inside of the human body e.g tapeworm, liver fluke).


An infection occurs when the body is unable to protect itself from micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria and fungi. Parasites can also enter the body, resulting in infection occuring. Micro-organisms that cause a disease are known as pathogens. Infectious diseases are spread when the pathogens are transmitted from person to person or from environment to person. Infection can affect any organ or system of the human body. Infection usually cause the sufferer to experience certain symptoms and to look and feel unwell. Infection can range in their severity and some can cause death. Most infections are treatable.

Colonisation occurs when some micro-organisms are present on our skin or in our gut and cause no infection within the person, who still has the potential to infect others. However if this micro-organisms invade tissue or cause harm to the person then colonisation becomes an infection.


Systemic infection affect the whole body and are usually very serious and can be life threatening, they often cause symptoms like fever, shaking chills, joint aches and general weakness (e.g. Septicaemia - blood poisoning). Localised infection affect one specific area and tends to cause swelling, redness, tenderness and feel of warm around affected area. Pus may form as well as presence of a fever (e.g. a pimple is a localised infection of the skin).


Poor hand hygiene, not wearing personal protective equipment when required, unsafe use and disposal of sharps (needles, vials), lack of routine cleaning with antibacterial solutions and sprays, lack of reproccesing appropriately any reusable medical equipment and instruments, lack of good respiratiry hygiene and cough etiquette (cover mouth during cough or sneeze and wash hands after), not effective handle of waste (incontinence pads being carried without getting bagged) and linens (dirty linen being left on the floor beside bed while sheets are being changed, rather than in the laundry skip or dirty linen being carried by the staff without first being bagged), wearing work uniforms outdoors etc.


Micro-organisms to grow...
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