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Hospital Acquired Infections

Hospital Acquired Infections are also known as Nosocomial infections which can be defined as newly acquired infections acquired by the persons within a hospital environment. Transmission usually occurs via healthcare workers, patients, hospital equipment, or interventional procedures. Hospital-acquired infections are caused by viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens. The following are the risk factors which increase the chances of such infections: Age more than 70 years, shock, major trauma, Acute renal failure, Coma, Prior antibiotics, mechanical ventilation, drugs affecting the immune system, indwelling catheters, and prolonged ICU stay. According to the WHO, hundreds of millions of patients are affected by HAIs around the world every year, leading to significant mortality and huge financial losses.

In the prevailing coronavirus pandemic situation, the issue of nosocomial infections is garnering very high priority considering the highly contagious nature of the virus involved. The use of Protective clothing by the medical staff is vital so as to ensure their own safety as well as to prevent the transmission to other patients. Disinfection and Sterilization are two means to keep the hospital spaces safe and to reduce hospital-acquired infections. Disinfection removes microorganisms without complete sterilization to prevent transmission of organisms between patients. Sterilization is the destruction of all microorganisms. Operationally this is defined as a decrease in the microbial load by 10 -6. Sterilization can be achieved by either physical or chemical means.

Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation is a safe and highly effective method in reducing hospital-acquired infections spread chiefly by droplet nuclei, not by direct contact or larger respiratory droplets, although some surface decontamination likely occurs. The wavelength of this light ranges from 10nm to 400nm and is classified into three sub-bands; UV-A (near), UV-B (middle), and UV-C (far). UV light with wavelengths less than 290nm are considered to have “germicidal” properties.

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