Hospitals and medical clinics are favorable settings for the transmission of infectious diseases because infected and susceptible persons are brought into close proximity. Health-care workers (HCW) are at particular risk because their work demands close contact with patients who may be harboring pathogenic microorganisms. This article focuses on the prevention of occupationally acquired infectious diseases among HCW, although it should be recognized that a comprehensive occupational health program also reduces the risk of hospital-acquired infection among patients. Occupational infections among microbiology laboratory workers that are not common to other HCW will not be discussed.

There are four critical infection prevention strategies: 1) ensuring immunity of HCW to vaccine-preventable diseases, 2) using isolation precautions to prevent transmission of microorganisms from patients to HCW, 3)evaluating and managing HCW exposed to communicable diseases, and 4)evaluating and managing HCW who have communicable diseases. Applying these strategies effectively requires collaboration among the occupational health service,...

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