Understanding cross contamination is very important because incidents can lead to different kinds of infections from bacteria and viruses.
To better understand cross contamination, it is important to develop an understanding of the chain of infection. This includes a:
•Causative agent – could be bacteria or a virus that causes infections or disease
•Reservoir – the place where infectious agents can survive: it could be in humans, animals, or non-living agents such as water, air, or dirt
•Portal of exit – This is the gateway in which microorganisms leave the reservoir. For example: when you cough, open wounds, blood transfusions and even through the placenta from mother to baby
•Mode of transmission – This is how a pathogenic organism spreads. It could be a result of direct contact from an infected person to another via blood, or it could be indirect contact by touching contaminated objects. It could also be from a droplet transmission or airborne transmission in water, soil and even in animals
•Portal of entry – This is the gateway in which microorganisms enter the susceptible host, much like infection of an open wound
•Susceptible host – any person that lacks the ability to resist infection and will subsequently get infected
Spread of infection can be reduced with good hand hygiene, personal hygiene, and health habits.
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