Compliance with the exposure control/infection control protocol is significantly improved if OHCP understand the rationale for the written policies and practices intended to prevent HAIs. The objectives of the education and training program are to enlighten OHCP regarding (1) the risk of HAIs, (2) preventive strategies, (3) post-exposure evaluation and follow-up and (4) administrative controls.
Infection, an invasion and multiplication of microorganisms in body tissues, results from local cellular injury as a consequence of:
“Chain of infection,” the transmission of infectious agents in healthcare settings, requires three elements:
Source or reservoir of infectious agents
Pathogens associated with HAIs are derived primarily from humans, but contaminated objects and environmental sources are also implicated.
Susceptible host with a portal of entry receptive of the agent
Establishment of infection and its severity relate to the state of host defense mechanisms; however, the numbers, pathogenicity, virulence, and antigenicity of organisms are important determinants.
Mode of transmission for the agent
Pathogens may be transferred from the source to a host by contact transmission, i.e., direct or indirect contact transmission; or respiratory transmission, i.e., inhalation of droplets or droplet nuclei (airborne transmission).
Pathogenic organisms of concern in the oral healthcare setting
HBV, HCV, and HIV
Measles, mumps, and rubella
Herpes simplex, varicella (chicken pox), and varicella zoster (shingles)
Influenza, syncytial viruses, group A streptococci