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Steri-7 Xtra: Breaking the chain of infection

Infection control is a complex subject. Disease transmission or ‘the chain of infection’ is a multi-faceted, opportunistic process that needs to be understood in great detail to truly appreciate the importance of effective infection control measures.

The chain of infection typically involves four links through which an infectious pathogen can be transferred, as follows:

Pathogen

Virus or bacterium, fungi or parasite, these are all forms of microbial pathogen that can spread disease. Examples range from the common cold virus to far more serious conditions such as coronavirus or influenza. The risks of transmission will vary based on factors including the number of potentially infectious pathogens present, their efficacy at surviving outside of the human body, and their potency.

Reservoir

The reservoir acts as a host in which pathogens may survive and multiply. This includes the human body, though it can also apply to animals, plants and a number of other living organisms. Water sources, food, soil and other similar environments can also be regarded as the reservoir under the correct conditions.

A reservoir can also be a location such as the practice waiting room or the washroom. It can be anywhere where the pathogen can proliferate and put people at risk.

Mode of transmission

Modes of transmission are diverse and many are dictated by the nature of the pathogen, the reservoir it exists in, and the way it has been released from the reservoir – which is also referred to as its portal of exit or vector – and is usually split into two categories – indirect or direct.

An example of indirect transmission is when a person sneezes and expels infected respiratory droplets across several feet. These can settle on a surface that someone else might touch and thus transfer the infection to their mouth, nose, or eyes.

Direct transmission involves proximity and direct infection between two individuals. This can include an infected person being close enough to someone else to spread the disease via respiratory droplets as they speak, or through a very direct route such as kissing.

The three main modes of transmission available for the majority of pathogens are listed as: person to person, air to person and surface to person.

Susceptible host

A susceptible host – people vulnerable to infection – could be a person over the age of 65 or someone with compromised immune systems, although anyone can become a susceptible host depending on the pathogen’s nature, as COVID has proven. Once infected the new host becomes a reservoir, the pathogens multiply, and we start the chain of infection all over again.

Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air

Breaking the chain at any one of these points, prevents the spread of disease and helps create a safe environment for all. Government guidance created the ‘Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air’ campaign to help us safeguard ourselves from disease transmission. Measures such as social distancing and enhanced PPE also helped disrupt the chain of infection at the height of the pandemic.

But we also need effective, long-lasting cleaning and infection control solutions.

One excellent option is the Steri-7 Xtra range of disinfectants from Initial Medical. Comprised of surface cleaners, handwashes and more, these products kill 99.99% of pathogens including coronavirus thus breaking the chain of infection process.

For an added layer of protection, the Steri-7 Xtra solutions feature Reactive Barrier Technology – a protective property that prevents pathogen recolonisation of treated surfaces for up to 72 hours – so long as the products aren’t wiped away.

For more information, visit www.initial.co.uk/medical or call 0870 850 4045