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Infection Control II. Elements Needed to Transmit Infection. An infectious agent A reservoir or an environment in which the pathogenic microbes can live and multiply. A portal from which to exit the reservoir.

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elements needed to transmit infection
Elements Needed to Transmit Infection
  • An infectious agent
  • A reservoir or an environment in which the pathogenic microbes can live and multiply.
  • A portal from which to exit the reservoir.
  • A means of transmission. Infection is transmitted by direct or indirect contact, by droplet, by vehicle, by vector, or by airborne route.
  • A portal of entry into a new host.
infectious agent
Infectious agent

Bacterium, a fungus, a virus, a prion, or a parasite. Infectious agents vary in their ability to cause disease

a reservoir or an environment
A reservoir or an environment

The reservoir can be a human being, an animal, a plant, water, food, earth, or any combination of organic materials that support the life of a particular pathogen

a portal from which to exit the reservoir
A portal from which to exit the reservoir

The portals of exit might be the nose, mouth, urinary tract, intestines, or an open wound from which blood or purulent exudate can escape.

a means of transmission
A means of transmission

Infection is transmitted by direct or indirect contact, by droplet, by vehicle, by vector, or by airborne route. Contact is direct when a person or an animal with a disease or his blood or body fluids are touched. This contact can be by touching with the hands, by kissing, by percutaneousinjection, or by sexual intercourse. A person who transmits disease-causing organisms but has no apparent signs or symptoms of that disease is called a carrier. Particular organisms require specific routes of transmission for infection to occur.


Indirect contactis defined as the transfer of pathogenic microbes by touching objects (called fomites) that have been contaminated by an infected person. These objects include dressings, instruments, clothing, dishes, or anything containing live infectious microorganisms.

Droplet contactinvolves contact with infectious secretions that come from the conjunctiva, nose, or mouth of a host or disease carrier as the person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Droplets can travel from approximately 3 to 5 feet and should not be equated with the airborne route of transmission, which is described later.

Vehicles may also transport infection. Vehicle route of transmission includes food, water, drugs, or blood contaminated with infectious microorganisms.


The airborne routeof transmission indicates that residue from evaporated droplets of diseased microorganisms are suspended in air for long periods of time. This residue is infectious if inhaled by a susceptible host.

Vectors are insect or animal carriers of disease. They deposit the diseased microbes by stinging or biting the human host.

a portal of entry into a new host
A portal of entry into a new host

Entry of pathogenic microorganisms into a new host can be by ingestion, by inhalation, by injection, across mucous membranes, or, in the case of a pregnant woman, across the placenta

immune system
Immune System

The body has a highly complex immune system that reacts to specific invaders that are able to bypass the nonspecific body defenses by forming antigens. Antigens are foreign or unrecognizable organic substances that invade the body and induce it to produce antibodies

Antibodies are also found in human tears, saliva, and colostrum.


is a state in which the immune system\'s ability to fight infectious disease is compromised or entirely absent. Most cases of immunodeficiency are acquired ("secondary") but some people are born with defects in the immune system, or primary immunodeficiency. Transplant patients take medications to suppress their immune system as an anti-rejection measure, as do some patients suffering from an over-active immune system. A person who has an immunodeficiency of any kind is said to be immunocompromised. An immunocompromised person may be particularly vulnerable to opportunisticinfections, in addition to normal infections that could affect everyone

hiv and aids

HIV usually results in AIDS, a disease that is currently incurable and has a high mortality rate.

A patient must reach the 5th stage of the disease before it is classified as having AIDS.

Once reaching this stage, 80-90% die with in 3 years.

What if you get exposed to HIV???

Immediately report to your supervisor and follow the policy and procedures protocol of your hospital.


An infectious disease commonly seen in persons with AIDS is Pneumocystis carinii, a type of pneumonia. Also seen are cytomegalovirus infections, Candida, herpes simplex, Kaposi\'s sarcoma (a malignant tumor of the endothelium), AIDS dementia complex (in which it is believed that nerve cells are directly attacked resulting in dementia), tuberculosis, and many other diseases. Death is usually the result of recurrent opportunistic infections. Malignant diseases may also be the cause of death.

  • Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the cells of the liver that is initially acute, but in some cases render the disease to the chronic carriers.
  • Types of Hepatitis
    • HVA
    • HVB
    • HVC
    • HVD
    • HVE
    • HVG

Health care workers most often contract hepatitis B from needle stick injuries.

Hepatitis C has also become more prevalent in recent years and has become the most common blood-borne infection in the United States. Persons with this disease frequently become chronic carriers and are at increased risk of developing chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, or liver cancer.


Is a chronic disease caused by the spore – forming Mycobacteriumtuberculosis bacterium.

It affects the lungs, but can possibly infect any part of the body.

It is a communicable disease and must be treated as such by all health care workers.

nosocomial infections related to specific microorganisms
Nosocomial Infections Related to Specific Microorganisms

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)

Vancomycin-Resistant S. Aureus (VRSA)

Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus (VRE)

Bacterium and Fungemia

Clostridium difficile

Extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)

institutions that control safety workers and the general public
Institutions that Control Safety, Workers, and the General Public
  • Joint Commission on Accreditation Healthcare Organizations (JACHO)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • United States Public Health
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Nuclear Control Agency (NCA
infection control in the health care setting
Infection Control in the Health Care Setting
  • It is the duty of all health care workers to break the cycle of the spread of infection by the use of strict Medical Asepsis.
  • Practicing and applying the use of Universal Precautions must be routine and a priority for the radiographer.
  • Medical Asepsis
    • To eliminate as best as possible all microorganism by the use of soap, water, friction, and chemical disinfectants.
  • Surgical Asepsis
    • Microorganisms and their spores have been completely destroyed by means of heat or chemical process.
dress in the workplace
Dress in the Workplace
  • No acrylic fingernails
  • Fingernails must be short
  • Shoes must be closed
  • No excessive jewelry
  • Clean and pressed uniforms
  • Usage of protective apparel when needed
  • Try to have hair pulled back off the shoulders to prevent harboring of microorganisms.
hand hygiene
Hand Hygiene
  • Correct hand washing is essential for breaking the cycle of the spread of infection.
  • Wash your hands after handling each patient even if you use gloves.
  • According to CDC guidelines, the term hand hygiene applies to either handwashing with plain soap and water, use of antiseptic handrubs, including alcohol-based products, or surgical hand antisepsis.
  • Follow directions at:
how many times should you hand wash
How Many Times Should You Hand Wash?
  • At the beginning of each workday
  • In between patient care
  • When in contact with pt’s blood or body fluids
  • Prior to an invasive procedure
  • Before touching pt’s with high risk
  • After caring for pt’s with known communicable diseases
standard precautions universal precautions
Standard Precautions - Universal Precautions
  • In 2005, the CDC revised guidelines for infection control for all persons working in health care settings.
    • 2 Tiers
      • Tier 1 = Standard Precaution
      • Tier 2 = Transmission-based precautions
  • These precautions assume that all persons are highly infected with diseases. Universal precautions work for the protection of the worker.

OSHA states that all workplaces in which employees may be exposed to human blood or body substances shall formulate a plan to control employee exposure to pathogenic microorganisms borne by these substances. This plan was to be implemented in all affected workplaces by spring of 1992. These precautions must be followed at all times. The regulations required of all employers are as follows:

  • An infection control policy conforming to OSHA guidelines must be developed. This policy must specify when personal protective equipment (PPE) is required and how to clean spills of blood or body substances, how to transport specimens to the laboratory, and how to dispose of infectious waste.

All staff must be instructed in the application of these policies.

  • Hepatitis B immunizations are to be provided to staff who might be exposed to blood or body substances free of charge.
  • Follow-up care must be provided to any staff member accidentally exposed to splashes of blood or body fluids or to needle-stick injuries.
  • Personal protective equipment must be readily accessible to any staff member who needs it.
  • Impermeable, puncture-proof containers that are disposable must be provided for all used needles, syringes, and other sharps; they must be changed frequently or when full .
  • All health care workers without exception are obliged to follow Standard Precautions and Tier 2 precautions as indicated. If an employee or the institution in which he or she is employed is remiss in this practice, legal action should be taken to enforce these rules.

Body substance isolation procedures define body fluids and substances as infectious (National Safety Council, 1993). Body substances and fluids that may be infectious include vaginal secretions, breast milk, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, and amniotic fluid. Urine, feces, nasal secretions, tears, saliva, sputum, and any purulent or non-purulent drainage from wounds are also considered potentially infectious.


(A) Pull the first glove off by grasping it on the outside with the other gloved hand. Hold the glove that has been removed in the remaining gloved hand. (B) With the bare fingers, reach inside the top of the remaining soiled glove and pull it off. (C) Turn the glove inside out and encase the other glove inside it. (D) Drop the soiled gloves into a designated waste receptacle


If exposure to blood or body fluids is possible, wear gloves, gown, mask, and eye protection!


Latex Sensitivity

Approximately 8% to 12% of health care workers have reported a latex sensitivity. Reactions range from local skin reactions to urticaria (hives) to systemic anaphylaxis, an exaggerated allergic reaction that can result in death (OSHA, 2005). The powder placed on the gloves may exaggerate this allergic response. It is the employer\'s responsibility to make non-latex, powder-free gloves available for any employee that has a need. A policy must be in place to deal with latex-sensitive employees and patients.


Cleaning and Proper Waste Disposal

Not all disinfectants are equally effective. Before a disinfectant is chosen for the diagnostic imaging department, it should be thoroughly studied by an infection-control consultant. Microorganisms begin to grow in disinfectant solutions left standing day after day. This is also true in liquid-soap containers. If such items are used, they should be changed and cleaned every 24 hours.


The following are guidelines for the disposal of waste or the cleaning of equipment after each patient use in the diagnostic imaging department

  • Wear a fresh uniform each day. Do not place your uniform with other clothing in your personal closet. Shoes should be cleaned and stockings should be fresh each day.
  • Pillow coverings should be changed after each use by a patient. Linens used for drapes or blankets for patients should be handled in such a way that they do not raise dust. Dispose of linens after each use by a patient.
  • Flush away the contents of bedpans and urinals promptly unless they are being saved for a diagnostic specimen.
  • Rinse bedpans and urinals and send them to the proper place (usually a central supply area) for re-sterilization if they are not to be reused by the same patient

Use equipment and supplies for one patient only. After the patient leaves the area, supplies must be destroyed or re-sterilized before being used again.

  • Keep water and supplies clean and fresh. Use paper cups in the diagnostic imaging department and dispose of them after a single use.
  • Floors are heavily contaminated. If an item to be used for patient care falls to the floor, discard it or send it to the proper department to be re-cleaned.
  • Avoid raising dust because it carries microorganisms. When cleaning, use a cloth thoroughly moistened with a disinfectant.

The radiographic table or other imaging or treatment equipment should be cleaned with a disposable disinfectant towelette or sprayed with disinfectant and wiped clean and dried from top to bottom with paper towels after each patient use.

  • When cleaning an article such as an imaging table, start with the least soiled area and progress to the most soiled area. This prevents the cleaner areas from becoming more heavily contaminated. Use a good disinfectant cleaning agent and disposable paper cloths.
  • Place dampened or wet items such as dressings and bandages into waterproof bags, and close the bags tightly before discarding them to prevent workers handling these materials from coming in contact with bodily discharges. Place in contaminated waste containers.
  • Do not reuse rags or mops for cleaning until they have been properly disinfected and dried

Pour liquids to be discarded directly into drains or toilets. Avoid splashing or spilling them on clothing.

  • If in doubt about the cleanliness or sterility of an item, do not use it.
  • When an article that is known to be contaminated with virulent microorganisms is to be sent to a central supply area for cleaning and re-sterilizing, place it in a sealed, impermeable bag marked “BIOHAZARD.” If the outside of the bag becomes contaminated while the article is being placed in the bag, place a second bag over it

Always treat needles and syringes used in the diagnostic imaging department as if they are contaminated with virulent microbes. Do not recap needles or touch them after use. Place them immediately (needle first) in a puncture-proof container labeled for this purpose. Do not attempt to bend or break used needles because they may stick or spray you in the process.

  • Place specimens to be sent to the laboratory in solid containers with secure caps. If the specimen is from a patient with a known communicable disease, label the outside of the container as such. Avoid contaminating the outside of the container, and place the container in a clean bag. If a container becomes contaminated, clean it with a disinfectant before placing it in the bag. Specimens must be sent to the laboratory immediately after collection for examination
  • Medical charts that accompany patients to the diagnostic imaging department must be kept away from patient care areas to prevent contamination. Keep charts in an area where only those directly involved in patient care may read them



Disinfection is a term used to describe the removal, by mechanical and chemical processes, of pathogenic microorganisms, but frequently not their spores, from objects or body surfaces. Usually in reference to body surfaces, the term antisepsis or antiseptic is used rather than disinfect or disinfectant. Items are disinfected when they cannot withstand the process necessary to sterilize them or when it is not practical to sterilize. This is often the case with objects leaving an isolation unit. If an object leaving an examining room or isolation unit has been contaminated, it is cleaned first by vigorous scrubbing (mechanical means) and then disinfected by wiping it with, or soaking it in, a chemical selected by the institution for this purpose.

When a patient enters the diagnostic imaging department and it is known or suspected that this patient has a contagious disease, it is the radiographer\'s responsibility to prevent the spread of infection. If the patient is coughing and sneezing, the patient must be provided with tissues and a place to dispose of them. Instruct the patient to cough and sneeze into the tissues and then discard them safely. The patient should be removed from a crowded waiting room to prevent infecting other persons. The radiographer must put on a gown to protect his uniform. Put on a mask and goggles, if necessary. The patient should be cared for and returned to his or her room or discharged as quickly as possible.


Transmission-Based Precautions (Tier 2)

Standard precautions to prevent spread of infection are used daily for all persons cared for in all health care settings. Some diseases, or the suspicion of a communicable disease, require radiographers and all health care workers to take additional precautions, as well as standard precautions to prevent infection of other health care workers, patients, other persons in the health care setting, and oneself. These precautions are presently called transmission-based precautions or Tier 2 precautions and are designed to place a barrier to the spread of highly infectious diseases between persons with such diseases and the persons caring for them.

airborne isolation
Airborne Isolation
  • This method of transmission occurs when microbes are spread on evaporated droplets that remain suspended in air or are carried on dust particles in the air and may be inhaled by persons in that room or air space.
  • A private room with negative air pressure ventilation
  • Mask
  • Standard precautions
  • A mask for the patient if leaving the room
  • Airborne disease
    • TB
    • Chicken Pox
    • Measles
droplet isolation
Droplet Isolation
  • Transmission by droplets occur when droplets contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms are placed in the air from a person infected with a droplet-borne infection. This occurs when a patient sneezes, coughs, or talks.
  • A private room or door may be left open
  • A mask for any procedure that requires less than 3 feet in proximity to the infected patient
  • Standard precautions
contact isolation
Contact Isolation
  • Two types of contact spread of infection:
    • Direct contact
      • When a susceptible person actually touches an infected body
    • Indirect contact
      • When a susceptible person touches or comes in contact with an object that has been contaminated.
expanded precautions
Expanded Precautions
  • Patients that are highly susceptible to becoming infected because of a particular treatment or condition; isolation precautions are used to protect the patient from becoming infected. This is also known as “Reverse Isolation.”

The procedure for expanded precautions:

  • Wash hands using the procedure prescribed earlier in this chapter before entering and after providing care to patient
  • Cover gown and gloves are required at all times while in patient\'s room
  • Regular face mask may be required in select cases
  • Equipment such as stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and thermometers stay in room
  • No flowers, plants, fresh fruits, or vegetables are allowed for immune-compromised patients
  • No visitors or staff with signs or symptoms of infection (colds, rashes, etc.) must go into room

Before entering the isolation room, the radiographer must have the portable imaging machine prepared with as many image receptors on hand as are needed. Make sure they are covered with protective plastic cases to keep them from becoming contaminated. Also, place an extra pair of clean gloves on the machine before placing it in the patient\'s room. Have an assistant available.


Assemble the supplies and equipment needed

  • Rationale: Prevents loss of time and reduces risk of breaking isolation procedure.
  • Stop in area to don protective clothing. Remove any jewelry that you are wearing and pin it into your uniform pocket so it will not be lost.
  • Wash hands as for medical aseptic practice

Rationale for steps 2 and 3: Prevent transmission of microorganisms.


If your hair touches your collar, you must wear a cap.

  • Rationale: Hair collects and transmits microorganisms.
  • Remove a mask from the container and put it on, making certain that it covers mouth and nose tightly. Put on a lead apron.
  • Take a gown from the stack. Hold it in front of you and let it unfold. Place arms into the sleeves and pull it on at the shoulders.
  • Tie the back of the gown, making certain that the gown covers all of your clothing.
  • Put gloves on, making certain that the cuffs of the gloves cover the cuffs of the gown.
  • Push machine into the room; introduce yourself to the patient and explain the procedure. Make necessary adjustments to the machine at this time.

Place the image receptor for the exposure

  • Remove contaminated gloves as described earlier in this chapter, and discard them in a waste receptacle.
  • Put on clean gloves that were placed on the portable machine before entering the room.
  • Rationale for steps 10, 11, and 12: Once the patient is touched, gloves are contaminated. To prevent the machine from being contaminated, change gloves before touching.
  • Make the exposure. If additional exposures are necessary, change gloves again. Place image receptor in contaminated plastic covers at the end of the patient\'s bed or on a bedside stand.
  • Rationale: The machine is not to be touched with contaminated gloves or it will be contaminated. The image receptors that have been placed near or against the patient are contaminated and cannot be replaced in the portable machine until the plastic covers are removed.

When imaging exposures are completed and before gloves are contaminated by removing the last image receptor, push the machine out of the room and notify the assistant to prepare to receive the image receptors.

  • Take the covered image receptors to the door of the unit where the assistant is waiting. Slide the plastic covering back from the cassette and allow the assistant to remove it . Discard the contaminated image receptor covers in the waste receptacle in the patient\'s room.

Return to the patient. Make the patient comfortable. Place the bed in the low (closest to the floor) position; put the side rails up and the call button within the patient\'s reach.

  • Rationale: The patient\'s safety and comfort are the highest priority and must always be every health care worker\'s first concern.
  • Leave the patient\'s room, and return to the area prepared to receive your contaminated garments.
infection control in the newborn and intensive care nurseries
Infection Control in the Newborn and Intensive Care Nurseries
  • Prior to entering the newborn or intensive care nursery, the radiographer must carefully clean the portable machine with disinfectant wipes.
  • A clean cloth (diaper, receiving blanket) is used to cover the IR.
  • Hands must be scrubbed for 3 minutes
  • Gown
  • Gonadal shielding
  • The radiographer must never enter the nursery if he or she is suspected of having an infection

Transferring the Patient with a Communicable Disease

  • Occasionally, it is necessary for a patient with a communicable disease to come to the diagnostic imaging department for images or treatment. The following precautions must be taken to prevent infecting anyone else and also to prevent contaminating a room or the equipment:
  • The patient must be transported by wheelchair or by gurney. If he or she has a disease that may be transmitted by droplet, airborne, or contact route, place a mask properly on the patient\'s face and wear a gown and mask to protect yourself.
  • Place a sheet on the gurney or wheelchair and then cover it completely with a cotton blanket. Wrap the cotton blanket around the patient and then complete the transfer

Place a protective sheet on the radiographic table, transfer the patient to the table, and place a draw sheet over him or her. Make the necessary exposures. Arrange work so that the patient does not have to spend more time than is necessary in the department.

  • Return the patient to the wheelchair or gurney. Wrap the cotton blanket around him or her and return the patient to the hospital room.
  • Adjust the bed to the position that is lowest to the floor, put the side rails of the bed up, and give the patient the call button. Notify the unit staff that the patient has been returned.
  • Wash hands.
removing the gown and gloves
Removing the gown and gloves