The South-West Regional Health Authority joins the global community to observe International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) from Sunday 16th to Saturday 22nd October, 2016. This year’s the theme is Break the Chain of Infection. Annually IIPW takes place during the third week in October and it emphasises the role infection prevention plays in improving patient safety.
There are a variety of germs and infections that can be spread through personal contact during daily activities inside and outside of the medical setting. To stop the spread of infection the chain has to be disrupted at any of its six links:
- Infectious agent – the pathogen (germ)
- Reservoir – the places in the environment where the pathogens live (people, animals, insects, medical equipment and environmental elements)
- Portal of exit – the way in which the pathogen leaves the reservoir
- Mode of transmission – the way in which the pathogen can be spread
- Portal of entry – the way the pathogen enters the body
- Susceptible host – anyone can become infected
Persons can safeguard themselves against the spread of germs at any link by adopting simple preventative techniques such as: washing hands often, staying up to date with vaccines, covering coughs and sneezes and staying at home when sick, follow rules for standard and contact isolation using personal protective equipment the right way, cleaning and disinfecting the environment, sterilizing medical instruments and equipment, following safe injection practices, and using antibiotics wisely to prevent antibiotic resistance.