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Chemoprophylaxis and immunization 

Chemoprophylaxis and immunization
Chemoprophylaxis and immunization

Peter Davey

, Mark Wilcox

, William Irving

, and Guy Thwaites

Page of

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date: 13 April 2021

Infection can be prevented using antimicrobial agents (chemoprophylaxis) or vaccines (immunization), remembering that prevention is better than cure. This chapter reviews the key factors that determine when and how chemoprophylaxis should be used, particularly which factors, such as timing of administration of antibiotics, and surgery type and setting, affect the efficacy of this approach. Antibiotic prophylaxis is indicated in many but importantly not all surgical operations. As well as reducing infection risk, judicious use of prophylaxis may decrease overall antibiotic consumption. Non-surgical settings where antimicrobial agents are used to prevent infection are also discussed, including intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis and use of selective decontamination of the digestive tract in critically ill patients. Finally, the expanding use of immunization in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood is reviewed, noting that coverage (compliance) in the at-risk populations is crucial in determining the overall effectiveness of vaccines.

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