Procedure Manual

Infection Control Procedures

Universal Precautions

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), universal precautions are required methods of control to protect employees from exposure to all human blood and other potentially infectious material (OPIM). The term "universal precautions" refers to a concept of blood borne disease control which requires that all human blood and OPIM be treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, HCV or other blood borne pathogens, regardless of the perceived "low risk" status of a patient.

  • In addition to any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, the term “other potentially infectious material” is defined by OSHA as follows:
    • Semen or vaginal secretions
    • Cerebrospinal fluid
    • Synovial fluid
    • Pleural fluid
    • Pericardial fluid
    • Peritoneal fluid
    • Amniotic fluid
    • Saliva in dental procedures
  • Any unfixed tissue from a human and HIV or HBV containing cells, tissue or culture from a human or experimental animal

Body Surface Isolation and Standard Precautions

The concepts of Body Substance Isolation (BSI) and Standard Precautions assume all body fluids and substances as infectious. These methods incorporate not only the fluids and materials covered by universal precautions, but expand coverage to include all body fluids, substances and contaminated material. Standard precautions are designed to reduce the risk of transmission of microorganisms from both recognized and unrecognized sources of infection.

Standard precautions includes the use of hand washing, appropriate personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, masks, whenever touching or exposure to patients' body fluids is anticipated. The CDC recommends Standard Precautions for the care of all patients, regardless of their diagnosis or presumed infection status.

Transmission-Based Precautions

Transmission-Based Precautions (i.e., Airborne Precautions, Droplet Precautions, and Contact Precautions), are recommended to provide additional precautions beyond Standard Precautions to interrupt transmission of pathogens. Transmission-based precautions can be used for patients known or suspected to be infected with epidemiologically important pathogens that can be transmitted by airborne or droplet transmission or by contact with dry skin or contaminated surfaces. These precautions should be used in addition to standard precautions.

  • Airborne Precautions:Used for infections spread in small particles in the air such as chicken pox. This requires an N-95 mask or greater.
  • Droplet Precautions: Used for infections spread in large droplets by coughing, talking, or sneezing such as influenza.
  • Contact Precautions: Used for infections spread by skin to skin contact or contact with other surfaces such as herpes simplex virus.

Clinical Syndromes or Conditions Warranting Empiric Precautions to Prevent Transmission of Epidemiologically Important Pathogens Pending Confirmation of Diagnosis