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Lessons learned: Protection of healthcare workers from infectious disease risks

Measurements and Main Results: Key components of an effective infection control program include the following: 1) preexposure immunization with vaccines to prevent mumps, measles, rubella, varicella, pertussis, hepatitis B, and viral influenza; 2) adherence to standard precautions when providing patient care, especially the performance of hand hygiene before and after patient care; 3) rapid evaluation and initiation of appropriate
isolation precautions for patients with potentially communicable diseases; 4) proper use of personal protective equipment such as masks, N95 respirators, eye protection, and gowns when caring for patients with potentially communicable diseases; and 5) evaluation of personnel with exposure to communicable diseases for receipt of postexposure prophylaxis.

Conclusions: Risks of acquisition of infectious diseases by healthcare workers can be minimized by adherence to current infection control guidelines. (Crit Care Med 2010; 38[Suppl.]:S306–S314)

KEY WORDS: occupational health; healthcare workers; bloodborne pathogens; isolation precautions; postexposure prophylaxis

David J. Weber, MD, MPH; William A. Rutala, PhD, MPH; William Schaffner, MD

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Categories: Disaster,
Content Type: Articles,