Hospital acquired infections include cross infections i.e. infection from person to person and autoinfection i.e. infections from one tissue to another tissue in the same patient e.g. discharging wounds, infected skin lesions, eczema, psoriasis, boils, bed sores etc.
The common pathogenic micro-organisms responsible for hospital acquired infection include staphylococcus, streptococcus, E. coli, corynebacterium diptheriae, Clostridium tetani, hepatitis virus through infected blood, etc.
The common hospital acquired infections include infections of alimentary tract, infections of respiratory tract, infections of urinary tract, wound infections, skin infections, viral infections etc.
Prevention and Control:
Hospital acquired infections can be prevented by adopting following measures:
(i) Isolate the infectious patient.
(ii) Doctors, nurses and other staff attending the patient must take precautions for personal hygiene. They should wear face mask and apron. They must wash the hands with soap and water after attending each infected patient specially after doing the wound dressings. Sometimes hand washing with soap and water may not be sufficient so a disinfectant must be used for hand washing.
(iii) The articles used by the patient should be thoroughly disinfected.
(iv) Wound dressings and discharges of the patient like urine, faeces, nasal secretions, sputum etc. should be destroyed in a sanitary manner.
(v) Patients should not be allowed to spit here and there. They should spit only in the sputum cup containing some disinfectant.
(vi) There should be sufficient space in between the beds of two patients. The bed side pans must contain some disinfectant and they must be cleaned immediately after use.
(vii) Vacuum cleaning and wet cleaning of rooms should be done regularly and disinfectant used to kill the micro-organisms.
(viii) Rooms should be well-ventilated, all doors and windows should be fitted with wire gauge to prevent the entry of flies, mosquitoes and other insects in the rooms.
(ix) All instruments, needles and syringes used should be properly sterilized, preferably disposable needles and syringes should be used.
(x) Staff working in the kitchen must observe strict hygienic habits and must be periodically medically examined so as to ensure that they are free from infectious diseases.
(xi) Laboratory personnel handling various specimens should observe all precautions to prevent infections.
(xii) Entry of visitors should be restricted in the rooms where patients with communicable diseases are admitted.
(xiii) Patients suffering from communicable diseases should be properly treated with antibiotics and measures should be taken to avoid the spread of the disease to other patients.