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Investigating hospital infection outbreaks 

Investigating hospital infection outbreaks
Chapter:
Investigating hospital infection outbreaks
Author(s):

Robert Aldridge

and Barry Cookson

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198719830.003.0007
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date: 01 December 2020

This chapter provides an introduction to key concepts and epidemiological knowledge involved in the investigation and control of hospital infection outbreaks. The chapter focuses on hospitals and covers the dynamics of health care-associated infections, including the three main types of health care-associated infections that are recognized, and the ‘cycle of infection’. Different types of hospital outbreaks are described, with both simple and more complex examples discussed. Hospital infection surveillance systems are described, and mechanisms that can used to identify transmission of hospital infections are reviewed. The chapter concludes by outlining the steps involved in managing a hospital outbreak, including a description of outbreak control teams, evaluating the certainty of an outbreak, case ascertainment issues, data collection, ongoing review of prevention and control measures, and the importance of evaluation and communication.

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