Thecontinuous spread of infectious diseases has become a big problem inthe world today. The ability of these diseases to be transmitted fromone person to another makes the situation more complicated hencerequiring stringent measures to contain. Infectious disease control,therefore, involves the prevention and control of hospital-acquireddiseases and other healthcare-related illness. Its purpose is toensure that the people who are susceptible to the infections areadequately protected both within the health care facility and in thecommunity setting (Jarvis, 2001). It also involves the application offactors which are known to reduce the propagation of infection. Theseelements include prevention, monitoring and surveillance ofoutbreaks, and the management and control to prevent further damage.This paper identifies the various ways in which diseases can beeffectively controlled.
Thecentral pillar of infectious disease prevention and monitoring ishygiene. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(2009), a significant percentage of disease transmission isassociated with hand cleanliness. Hand washing is, therefore, one ofthe most important measures to reduce the transmission of infections.Food and waterborne diseases, as well as other viral, bacterial andfungal infections, can be spread if there are no proper means ofensuring that all germs have been cleared from the hands. In mostcountries, the availability of handwashing facilities is mandatoryespecially accessibility to clean water and soap. One other aspect ofhand hygiene is drying. The best method of drying was found to be theuse of paper towels compared to air dryers (Miller, 2010).
Oneof the most effective ways of destroying micro-organisms is by theuse of sterilization. Several ways of ensuring maximumdecontamination are available. In most cases, the use of heat, steamor chemicals can been applied. Steam is the best way of killingmicroorganisms that are present in the medical instruments andlaboratory equipment. The sterilization methods used depend on thetype and use of the particular tools. Although these techniques helpin the prevention of infectious disease propagation, some heat andchemical resistant bacteria may not be destroyed in the process(Korniewicz, 2014).
Thepractice of cleaning and disinfection as methods of infection controlcan be applied both at home and in the healthcare facilities. In thehousehold setting, cross-contamination is one of the leading causesof infectious disease transmission. Also, proper cleaning of surfacesand proper waste disposal ensures that micro-organisms will notthrive. Contact with germs during handling of trash can lead totransmission. However, prevention can be done using the proper handwashing methods. Working surfaces should be disinfected usingchemicals that remove microorganisms successfully (Korniewicz, 2014).
Theuse of shielding items such as gloves, gowns, lab coats, shoes,surgical masks and respirators are essential equipment for infectioncontrol. This is because they minimize exposure to infectiousmaterials such as blood, saliva, aerosols, and other body fluids bycreating a physical barrier between the worker and the dangerousthings. Care must be taken in the cleaning and disposal of theprotective equipment to prevent further spread of disease. Guardingoneself against infections is a crucial step in controlling thepotential of transmission from one person to another (Jarvis, 2001).
Dependingon the suspected disease, vaccination is another means of infectiousdisease control that has been proved to be efficient and effective.Possible exposure to diseases such as measles, hepatitis, influenza,diphtheria, meningitis, polio, pertussis and tetanus calls for theprocess of immunization. This method protects individuals andprevents the development of severe infections. It is important tonote that vaccination should be done before infection. However, thereare times when a healthcare worker or individuals in a community maybe exposed to certain disease-causing pathogens (Jarvis, 2001). Inthis case, post-exposure prophylaxis can be administered. Exposure tolife-threatening diseases that do not have vaccines such as HIV/AIDSand malaria require the use of prophylactic measures.
Surveillanceand outbreak investigations do not directly protect the well-being ofpeople by providing an immediate means of defense. On the contrary,it is a process that involves the establishment of the presence of aninfection followed by the assessment of the source and the risksattributed to the disease. In this way, countering and minimizingspread can be achieved. Additionally, plans on how to deal withpossible outbreaks can be developed (Miller, 2010).
Insome situations, isolation and quarantine can be employed. In thecase of contagious diseases, physical measures to separate the sickpeople from the healthy is paramount. Different methods of isolationcan be implemented depending on the mode of transmission. Theultimate aim is to stop the spread of infection especially throughairborne droplets, direct contact with the skin and through infectedbody fluids (Jarvis, 2001).
Infectiousdiseases account for a significant number of illnesses and deathsthroughout the world. Although there have been measures taken tocontrol and prevent the spread by the public health sector, personalinitiatives also play a significant role in curbing further extent.It is important for the health division, to pursue continuouseducation for both healthcare workers and the community to ensurethat all the necessary actions have been employed.
Jarvis,W. (2001). "InfectionControl and Changing Health-Care Delivery Systems". EmergingInfectious Diseases. 7. 170–173.
Korniewicz,R, & Denise M. (2014). InfectionControl for Advanced Practice Professionals.Lancaster PA: DEStech Publications, Inc.
Miller,H. (2010). Infectioncontrol and management of hazardous materials for the dental team.Mosby Elsevier Health Science.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2009, July 15). OPRP – General information on Hand Hygiene. Retrieved from CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/cruiselines/hand_hygiene_general.htm