Very little is known about the origins of the disease and its behaviour. However, in the current absence of a vaccine or effective drugs for the control of SARS, effective management of an outbreak situation will depend on the quick identification and isolation (where deemed necessary by the physician/-s) of all infected cases thus preventing contact and minimising spread of the disease to other individuals. In this situation, good hand hygiene of staff, patients and visitors is again essential in order to avoid the conversion of the infection into a full-size SARS epidemic (Health Protection Agency, 2005). The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to emphasise the need to prevent patient to patient contamination (World Health Organization, 2006). It is estimated that in the US nearly 2 million people per year suffer from hospital-contracted infections. This directly causes or contributes to an average of 90,000 deaths each year in this country alone (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005).
Hospital-acquired infections are believed to be caused by pathogens transmitted from one patient to another via health care workers who have not washed their hands, or have not done it correctly, between patient contact. Although as early as 150 years ago it was demonstrated that mortality associated with hospital-acquired infections could be considerably reduced when the carers complied with hand washing (Carter, 1983), compliance still remains low. Even the current public awareness of the situation has not encouraged hospital workers to follow the available guidelines and recommendations.
Pathogenic micro-organisms (commonly referred to as "gems") are found everywhere and quickly and easily transferred to our hands when we touch food, surfaces,…
Infections contracted in hospitals are an everyday occurrence. Due to the intensive media coverage it has received in the past few years, one of the most well known forms of infection is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA.These bacteria live on the skin and nose of a third of the population, who are said to be colonised. There, it lays inactive or dormant without causing harm at all. It could quickly become a problem after undergoing surgery, suffering a serious illness or in cases where a compromised immune system is presenHand washing is the single most important procedure for preventing the contraction and spread of infections in hospitals. The culture of hand washing, however, needs to be reinforced in staff and visitors so it becomes second nature. These groups of individuals do not wash their hands as often as they should. As a consequence, hospital-acquired infection rates are unacceptably high causing an intolerable amount of unnecessary deaths worldwide every year. Research has shown that infection rates can be lowered when the hand hygiene practices especially of the staff but also of those visiting are improved. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that adequate and easy-to-use facilities are provided and that staff and visitors trained and encouraged to wash their hands efficiently and frequently since unwashed hands spread germs!.

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