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Cross Infection


Cross infection refers to the transmission of a pathogenic organism from one person to another. It is a common and important mode of infection with many varieties of organisms, including streptococcal and other bacterial diseases, viral hepatitis A and some other fecal-oral infections, such as scabies, fungus infections, pinworms, and roundworms. Cross infection can occur in kindergartens, day-care centers, schools, prisons, military barracks, places of employment, and other settings where individuals and groups interact with one other. When it happens in a medical setting, such as a hospital or nursing home, it is sometimes called nosocomial infection. But this is a misnomer; nosocomial infections may be acquired in other ways, including hospital staff or inadequately sterilized surgical instruments.

Cross infection is a potential problem in all institutional settings. It is an ever-present problem in kindergartens and day-care centers, which should always observe procedures that can minimize this type of infection and limit the effects of such infections. These procedures include constant surveillance, maintenance of sanitary conditions, and prompt intervention whenever an infection is detected. The best way to prevent cross infections is by rigorous observance of personal hygiene at all times, and through the use of barrier nursing, sanitary practices, and other pertinent procedures.

John M. Last

(see also: Contact; Contagion; Communicable Disease Control )

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