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The Chain of Infection
As healthcare
professionals, it is
important to
understand two
things about
1.the various ways infection can
be transmitted
2. the ways the infection chain
can be broken
There are six
in the chain of
infection :
1st - The Infectious Agent
-any disease-causing
2nd - The Reservoir Host
-the organism in which the
infectious microbes reside
What are “Carrier Hosts”
Hosts that do not show any outward signs or
symptoms of a disease but are still capable
of transmitting the disease are known as
3rd - The Portal of Exit
-route of escape of the pathogen
from the reservoir.
Examples: respiratory
secretions, blood
exposure, breaks in
4th - The Route of
-method by which the pathogen
gets from the reservoir to the
new host
Transmission may occur through:
direct contact
5th - The Portal of Entry
-route through which the
pathogen enters its new host
Respiratory System
Gastrointestinal System
Urinary & Reproductive Tracts
Breaks in Protective Skin Barrier
6th - The Susceptible Host
-the organism that accepts the
The support of pathogen life & its
reproduction depend on the degree
of the host’s resistance.
Organisms with strong immune
systems are better able to fend off
Organisms with weakened immune
systems are more vulnerable to the
support & reproduction of pathogens.
How to interrupt the chain of
-The essential part of patient care &
1. Pathogen Identification
-identification of infectious
agent & appropriate treatment
2. Asepsis & Hygiene
-potential hosts &
carriers must practice
asepsis & maintain
proper personal hygiene
3. Control Portals of Exit
-healthcare personnel must
practice standard precautions:
(Control body secretions & wash
hands according to protocol.)
4. Prevent a Route of
-prevent direct or indirect contact
1. Proper handwashing
2. Disinfection & sterilization techniques
3. Isolation of infected patients
4. Not working when contagious
5. Protect Portal of Entry
-Health professionals must make
sure that ports of entry are not
subjected to pathogens.
(nose, mouth, eyes, urinary tract,
open wounds, etc.)
6. Recognition of Susceptible
-health professionals must recognize
& protect high-risk patients
•Cancer Patients
•AIDS Patients
•Transplant Patients
•Infant & Elderly
Remember--breaking the chain of
infection is the responsibility
of each health professional.