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Feature Article

Infection control in a globalised world: challenges for general practice

Alex Tai, Julie Heath, Alicia Neels, Eugene Athan

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Abstract

The consistent use in general practice of standard precautions achieves a basic level of infection prevention and control, protecting staff and patients from the challenges of emerging infectious diseases and the spread of multidrug-resistant organisms. Transmission-based precautions and a good medical handover help prevent dissemination of infection from the community into hospitals.

Key Points

  • The consistent use in the general practice setting of standard precautions – work practices that achieve a basic level of infection prevention and control – protects both patients and staff.
  • The use of appropriate transmission-based precautions and a good medical handover help prevent dissemination of infection from patients in the community into hospitals.
  • It is important that a good history, including travel and previous health care exposure, is taken at every consultation.
  • Knowledge and awareness is the key: in order to triage patients presenting to the general practice, it is imperative that GPs stay up to date with information regarding emerging infectious diseases and infections with multiresistant organisms such as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae.
  • A close working relationship with the hospital sector and the public health department is crucial.
  • Environmental cleaning and good practice design help prevent infection transmission.

    Picture credit: © Look/Harald Eisenberger/Diomedia.com

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