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Nosocomial ( Hospital-Acquired) Infections - Essay Example

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Date: Nosocomial Infections Nosocomial infections are hospital-acquired infections and are one of the leading causes of death in hospitalized patients. The World Health Organization defines nosocomial infections as those infections that are acquired by the patient while hospitalization but were not present or were in their incubation period when the patient was hospitalized…
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Nosocomial ( Hospital-Acquired) Infections
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Nosocomial Infections Nosocomial infections are hospital-acquired infections and are one of the leading causes of death in hospitalized patients. The World Health Organization defines nosocomial infections as those infections that are acquired by the patient while hospitalization but were not present or were in their incubation period when the patient was hospitalized. The existence of nosocomial infections is not new and has been there since the inception of hospitals itself. Urinary infections, surgical infections, respiratory diseases and meningitis are among the most common forms of nosocomial infections. Nosocomial infections are of great importance because of the simple fact that even today, when mankind has made so many advancements in pharmacology and antibiotics, these infections still exist. These infections affect all countries in the world irrespective of whether the country is developed or backward.” A prevalence survey conducted under the auspices of WHO in 55 hospitals of 14 countries representing 4 WHO Regions (Europe, Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia and Western Pacific) showed an average of 8.7% of hospital patients had nosocomial infections” (Prevention of Hospital Acquired infections, 1) The presence of a compromised host and optimum survival factors are essential for the transmission of nosocomial infections. When a person enters a hospital, the patient is already suffering from some underlying disease. The patient may be exposed to a number of examining instruments and administered antibiotics or in case of tumor patients, the patient maybe exposed to radiation therapies; all these factors together make the patient’s immune system really weak and make him vulnerable to diseases. Antibiotics administration induces a change in the flora of microorganisms present while exposure to hospital instruments may lead to direct contact with nosocomial microbes. Patients administered with immunodepressant drugs are also susceptible to infection. Age also plays an important role because older people are more vulnerable to the nosocomial diseases, owing to the decreased ability of their immune functions and resistance. Patients are best treated in hospital settings, which mean that a hospital is a place where patients with a wide number of infections are admitted and such large number of sick and vulnerable patients automatically facilitates the spread of nosocomial disease from one person to another. The disease transmission for nosocomial disease includes direct contact, airborne transmission, vector transmission, droplet transmission and fomite transmission. Direct contact is the most frequent mode of disease transmission and could spread from a patient, doctor, nurse or members of the staff. Droplet transmission from a diseased person to another takes place when the infected person sneezes, talks or coughs and releases droplets containing the harmful microbes. Airborne transmission is most common route taken by viruses such as Varicella, Rubeola and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. These microbes remain suspended in the air and can travel across large rooms and a person when they are inhaled along with air. Fomite transmission is another very common method of disease transmission where the infection spreads through food, water or hospital equipments and instruments which are not handled properly. Vectors such as rats, flies or mosquitoes are also responsible for transmission of the diseases from the infected person to a new susceptible host. The spread of nosocomial infections maybe prevented through increased surveillance in the high-risk areas of the hospitals, therefore the hospital management must be made responsible to increase the surveillance. The most vulnerable areas of a hospital includes burn units, cancer units, intensive care unit, operation and post-operation theatre and geriatric wards and these areas must be given special care. The very first preventive measure that needs to be adopted is training the staff well. The staff should be made aware of the dangers of nosocomial infections and trained on handling hospital equipments and patients. All members of the hospital staff, including those who do not handle the patients directly (caterer, laundry and housekeeping), must be trained to maintain good hygiene. Next, the efficacy of procedures such as sterilization and disinfection must be looked into. The hospital environment must be made disease free for example sir filtration may be introduced. Direct handlers of patients e.g. doctors, nurses and microbiologists must also adopt strategies to minimize infection and also develop and implement infection control programmes in the hospital. REFERENCES World Health Organization. "Prevention of hospital-acquired infections A practical guide 2nd edition." Dec. 2002: 1-54. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/whocdscsreph200212.pdf. Read More
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