Respiratory Illnesses – [Overview] [Prevention Strategies] [Tools and resources] |
Norovirus –[Overview] [Prevention Strategies] [Tools and resources] |
Scabies –[Overview] [Prevention Strategies] [Tools and resources]
Tuberculosis (TB) –[Overview] [Prevention Strategies] [Tools and resources]
Several other infections or conditions such as influenza, norovirus, scabies, and tuberculosis (TB) may be transmitted in healthcare facilities. It is important that both the patient and the healthcare providers take the appropriate steps to help prevent the spread of these infections and conditions.
Flu and Respiratory Illnesses
Respiratory illnesses are infections that affect the respiratory system, which includes the nose, sinuses, throat, and lungs. Respiratory illnesses can be caused by viral or bacterial pathogens and range in severity from mild head colds to severe influenza or pneumonia infections. Symptoms may include nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, chest congestion, wheezing, fever, headaches, and/or body aches.
Influenza (flu) is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Flu is spread when droplets containing the virus are spread into the air when an ill person coughs, sneezes, talks, or sings. Influenza can also be spread through direct and indirect contact with respiratory secretions. Comprehensive information and resources on influenza is available at the Office of Epidemiology’s flu site – click here.
Patients with seasonal influenza and other respiratory illnesses that can be spread through close respiratory contact or mucous membrane contact with respiratory secretions require droplet precautions.
Norovirus and Gastrointestinal Illnesses
Gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses are infections that affect the gastrointestinal system, most commonly the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Fever, abdominal cramps, and headache or body aches may also occur.
Norovirus is one type of GI illness. The virus is found in the stool and vomit of infected people and spreads easily from person to person. People can become infected in several ways, including eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then touching one’s mouth, or having direct contact with another person who is infected (a healthcare worker, visitor, or another patient) and then touching one’s mouth. In an outbreak, and in some other situations, patients with norovirus in an outbreak require contact precautions.
Scabies is an infestation of the skin caused by a small mite that burrows under the skin in order to feed and reproduce. Intense itching, often at night, is the most common symptom of scabies infestation. The skin may appear red and bumpy and blisters or rashes may appear. Most often, infestation will occur in areas of skin that have folds or webs such as the underarms, genitalia, thighs, and between fingers and toes. Symptoms appear two to six weeks after infection, but may appear much faster in those who have had scabies before.
Scabies is most commonly transmitted through direct person-to-person skin contact. Mites do not jump from one person to another, but it is possible to transfer mites on clothing, bedding, or furniture that has been contaminated by an infested person. Patients with scabies require contact precautions.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is spread from person-to-person through the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, talks, or sings. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body. If a person inhales air containing M. tuberculosis droplets, he or she may become infected. However, not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick or can spread the disease. Patients with TB require airborne precautions.
For resources on influenza for healthcare professionals and facilities, click here.
For more patient resources, please see the Consumer and Public Information page.