Review of hospital infection control strategies

Hand-washing, a clean environment, appropriate infection barriers and early identification of patients at high risk of colonization with a transmissible microorganism remain the essential measures to prevent and control infection.

A review of hospital infection control strategies in CMAJ looks at the most effective methods and the supporting evidence.

Risk factors associated with colonization of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms include increasing age of patient and severity of disease, increasing length of hospital stay, admission to an intensive care unit and proximity to patients carrying an antimicrobial-resistant organism. Use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and/or prolonged use of antibiotics are also risk factors.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci are the most common antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. Resistance is more prevalent in hospital-acquired infections compared to community-acquired infections.

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