Preventing the Transmission of Infection in Health Care: First Part

Microorganisms grow rapidly and multiply a million-fold by binary fission. They undergo this possibly with adequate nutrition and due to their physical factors. The physical factors that constitute to their rapid growth and development include temperature, carbon dioxide, oxygen, pH, moisture desiccation, light and radiation, osmotic pressure. Mechanical stress are also important.



Harmful Effects of Some Microorganisms 
1. They contribute to food spoilage by decay.
2. They can also spoil materials like paper, leather, wood and textile through the metabolic nature.
3. They cause diseases due to release of their toxins. The diseases range from bacterial to fungal, rickettsial, viral, mycoplasmal protozoal.
4. They can equally corrode metals e.g Thiobacillus and iron bacteria.

Here are some ways that harmful microbes can be spread:

Through contaminated food
Through touch
In air
In water
Through contact with animals

Spread of Some Micro-organisms and their Prevention and Control
1. Typhoid Fever
Causative organisms: Salmonella Typhi
Sources of infection: Contaminated water and food
Symptoms: Abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, constipation, extreme causes develop ulcer and slow pulse
Prevention and Control
a. Good hygiene must be obeyed
b. Isolation of patient from others
c. Proper disposal of faeces
d. Food must be neatly prepared
5. Inoculation should be made an annual event

2. Measles
Causative organisms: Measles virus
Sources of infection: Droplets from person and casual body contact with infected person
Symptoms: Fourteen days after infection, cold, running nose and watery eyes which turn red, fever and cough. Red rashes especially on faces and ears.

Prevention and Control

a. Avoid contacts with patients
b. Apply calamin lotion
c. Inoculation against disease
d. Obeying hygiene rules

3. Tuberculosis
Causative organisms: Mucobacterium tuberculosi
Sources of infection: Droplets in dust, kissing, sharing of cutlery or overcrowding.
Symptoms:Dry cough, painful and difficult, breathing, spitting of blood, and pale appearance.
Prevention and Control
a. Immunity with Bacille Calmete Guerin (BCG)
b. X-ray pf patient
c. Mantoux skin test
d. Treating with antibiotics-streptomycin neomycin etc.
e. Avoid over-crowding
f. Isolation of patience
g. Should not share utensils
h. Good diet is necessary
i. Personal health habits.

4. Poliomyelitis(infantile paralysis)
Causative organisms: Polio virus
Sources of infection: Droplet infection, mouth, nose and faecal matter and water. House flies are vectors of the disease
Symptoms: Fever, sore throat, severe headache, neck and back pains, attack of the motor neurone, death of nerves result to paralysis of limbs, respiratory tract and swallowing tract paralyse

Prevention and Control
a. General mass immunization
b. A good hygiene


5. Ringworm (tinea)

Causative organisms: Tinea spp
Sources of infection: sharing of combs, brushes, towels and cloths of patients
Symptoms:white patches at the edges of scalp, reddening pores, itchy rings.
Prevention and Control
a. Avoid body contacts with patient
b. Clean and cut nails always
c. Personal cleanliness and hygiene of scalp, air and cloth.
d. Body must be washed with soap and water.
e. The use of antiseptics in water for washing scalp


6. Rabis (hydrophobia)
Causative organisms: Rhabdo virus
Sources of infection: A rabid cat, dog or other rabid animal. The virus is carried in their saliva
Symptoms:Abnormal sensation at the site of bite, Depression may occur, Patient becomes over-excitable, Contraction of throat muscles. The sight of water cause the contraction (i.e hydrophobia), where treatment is not given, results to death
Prevention and Control
a. Dogs must be isolated
b. Animals are vaccinated against rabis
c. Anti-rabies should be given to patients
d. Foreign animals are first quarantined

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