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In this section, we have leaflets for the Infection Control department. Please only read the materials on the advice of your clinician.

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Clostridium Difficile

Clostridium difficile is a type of germ (bacterium) which is carried in the gut of some people. Sometimes it causes diarrhoea, particularly in elderly people who are taking antibiotics for treatment of some other infection, e.g. chest or urinary tract.

Clostridium difficile infection is the most important cause of hospital-acquired diarrhoea. It is a bacterium that is present in the gut of up to 3% of healthy adults and 66% of infants.



ESBL means Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamase producing organism.

ESBL enzymes are normally produced by micro-organisms in the bowel, such as E. coli and Klebsiella. The enzymes break down antibiotics (making them ineffective), and subsequently infections become more difficult to treat.

These bacteria are spread from person-to-person both directly by faecal contamination of the hands and indirectly by the surrounding environment.



Staphylococcus aureus is a very common bacterium which lives harmlessly on the skin and in the lining of a person’s nose. In fact 30% of the general public carry Staphylococcus aureus (not MRSA) in their nose without knowing and come to no harm. This is known as ‘colonisation’. Germs are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics and MRSA is an example of this. Meticillin is a form of the most effective antibiotic (flucloxacillin) used to treat infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus.

There are times when it can cause infection. Most commonly it causes mild infections of the skin such as spots and boils. Rarely, it can cause more severe diseases such as wound infections or infection of the blood stream (septicaemia) or bones (osteomyelitis).


MRSA Antenatal Screening

Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is a bacterium that normally lives on the skin particularly the nose, skin folds, hairline and perineum of approximately 30% of the population. It commonly survives in these areas without causing infection – a state known as colonisation. Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of SA which is resistant to the more commonly used antibiotics. MRSA can also live harmlessly on the skin and is found in about 5% of the population.


MRSA Screening Prior to Surgery

People can become carriers of MRSA in the same way that they become a carrier of any other bacteria; by physical contact with the organism. MRSA can be found in hospital environments but can also be brought into hospital by patients and visitors. Therefore it is essential we identify those who are colonised (present without causing harm) with MRSA prior to admission.



The Norovirus is the most common cause of gut infection in the UK. There are probably about 600,000 to 1 million cases of the disease every year, and it causes disease only in humans.

Norovirus is also known as Norwalk virus, small round structured virus, winter vomiting disease and gastric flu.



Scabies is an allergic reaction to a tiny parasitic mite that burrows under the top layer of human skin to lay its eggs. It can affect anyone regardless of age, sex, profession, race or standards of personal hygiene.

Scabies is contagious, being spread from one person to another by skin to skin contact. For this reason it can easily spread between members of the same family, especially those who sleep in the same bed.



Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have had chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in the sensory nerves for many years. If the chickenpox virus re-activates in these nerves, blisters appear on the skin, usually in a band across one side of your body or face, (tracing the nerve pathways).

Only people that have suffered infection with the chickenpox virus in the past can get shingles.


Short Term Central Venous Lines

short term central line is a long, hollow tube made from polyurethane. A line is placed into the large veins so that fluid and various drugs can be given simultaneously. This line is called a central line and is usually sited on the side of the neck.

The space in the middle of the tube is called the lumen. Sometimes the tube has one, two or three lumens. At the end of the tube outside the body each lumen has a special bung to which a drip line or syringe can be attached. There is also a clamp to keep the tube closed when it is not being used.


Surgical Wound Infection

There are lots of micro-organisms (germs) on our skin and in the environment around us. Most of them are harmless, some are beneficial, and a very small proportion can cause harm. Our skin protects us from germs that can cause harm.

A surgical wound infection occurs when germs from the skin or the environment enter the incision (cut) that the surgeon makes through your skin in order to carry out the operation.


To prevent HCAI during Hospitalisation

Publicity about health care associated infections can cause a great deal of concern for our patients. Reducing the acquisition of infection is a major priority for this Trust and we are therefore constantly working to make sure that all staff follow good practice in terms of hand washing, environmental cleaning and other infection control measures. This is important both to prevent infections and also other Healthcare Associated Infections that may arise .


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