Infection Control Definitions


 
In order to understand the methods of sterilization and the 
principles of sterile technique, it is necessary to 
understand the definition of the following terms:
 
ANTISEPTICS:  Substances which combat sepsis and cause 
bacteriostasis. They are used on skin and tissue and arrest 
the growth of endogenous bacteria. They must not be strong 
enough to destroy tissue and therefore are not as effective 
against bacteria as are bactericides.
 
ASEPSIS:   Freedom from infection - the absence of 
microorganisms that cause disease.
 
ASEPTIC TECHNIQUE:  The methods used to maintain asepsis.
 
BACTERIOSTASIS: The inhibition of the growth of bacteria. 
However, the bacteria are undamaged to the extent that they 
will grow if placed in a favorable medium, away from the 
action of chemicals.
 
BLOOD: means human blood, human blood components, and 
products made from human blood.
 
BLOOD BORNE PATHOGENS: means pathogenic microorganisms that 
are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans.  
These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis b 
virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
 
CLINIC LABORATORY: means a workplace where diagnostic or 
other procedures are performed on blood/other potentially 
infectious materials.
 
CONTAMINATED SHARPS: means any contaminated object that can

penetrate the skin including, but not limited to, needles, 
scalpels, broken glass, broken capillary tubes, and exposed 
ends of dental wires.
 
CONTAMINATED LAUNDRY: means laundry which has been soiled 
with blood or other potentially infectious materials or may 
contain sharps.
 
CONTAMINATED: means the presence or the reasonably 
anticipated presence of blood or other potentially infectious 
materials on an item or surface.
 
DECONTAMINATION: means the use of physical or chemical means 
to remove, inactivate, or destroy blood borne pathogens on a 
surface or item to the point where they are no longer capable 
of transmitting infectious particles and the surface of item 
is rendered safe for handling, use or disposal.
 
DISINFECTION: The process of destroying all pathogenic 
organisms except spore-bearing ones. Disinfectants are used 
to eliminate exogenous bacteria on inanimate objects but not 
on tissues.
 
ENGINEERING CONTROLS: means controls (e.g. sharps disposal 
containers, self-sheathing needles) that isolate or remove 
the blood borne pathogens hazard from the workplace.
 
EXPOSURE INCIDENT: means a specific eye, mouth, other mucous 
membrane, non-intact skin, or parenteral contact with blood 
or other potentially infectious material that results from 
the performance of an employee's duties.
 
HAI:  Health-care Associated Infections (HAIs) similiar to 
Nosocomial.  The Joint Commission terminology.
 
HAND WASHING FACILITIES: means a facility providing an 
adequate supply of running potable water, soap and single use 
towels or hot air drying machines.
 
HBV: means hepatitis B virus.
 
HIV: means human immunodeficiency virus.
 
LICENSED HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL: means a person who's 
legally permitted scope of practice allows him or her to 
independently perform the activities related to Hepatitis B 
Vaccination and Post-exposure Evaluation and Follow up.
 
MICROORGANISMS: Living organisms, invisible to the naked eye.
 
OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE: means reasonably anticipated skin, 
eye, mucous membrane or parenteral contact with blood or 
other potentially infectious materials that may result from 
the performance of an employee's duties.
 
OPPORTUNISTS: Bacteria that do not normally invade the 
tissue. They are capable of causing infection or disease if 
introduced mechanically into the body through injury. The 
tetanus bacillus is an example.
 
OTHER POTENTIALLY INFECTIOUS MATERIALS: means (1) The 
following human body fluids: semen, vaginal secretions, 
cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, 
pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva 
in dental procedures, any body fluid that is visibly 
contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations 
where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between 
body fluids; (2) Any unfixed tissue or other (other than 
intact skin) from a human (living or dead); and (3) 
HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, and 
HIV-or HBV-containing culture medium or other solutions; and 
blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals 
infected with HIV or HBV.
 
PARENTERAL: means piercing mucous membranes or the skin 
barrier through such events as needle sticks, human bites, 
cuts and abrasions.
 
PATHOGENIC MICROORGANISMS: Those microorganisms that cause 
infectious disease. True pathogenic microorganisms can invade 
healthy tissue through some power of their own; they can 
injure tissue by a toxin which they produce.
 
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT: means specialized clothing or 
equipment worn by an employee for protection against a 
hazard.  General work clothes (e.g. uniforms, pants, shirts 
or blouses) not intended to function as protection against a 
hazard are not considered to be personal protective equipment.
 
PRODUCTION FACILITY: means a facility engaged in 
industrial-scale, large-volume or high concentration 
production of HIV or HBV.
 
REGULATED WASTE: means liquid or semi-liquid blood or other 
potentially infectious material in a liquid or semi-liquid 
state if compressed; items that are caked with dried blood or 
other potentially infectious materials and are capable of 
releasing these materials during handling; contaminated 
sharps; and pathological and microbiological wastes 
containing blood or other potentially infectious materials.
 
RESEARCH LABORATORY: means a laboratory producing or using 
research laboratory scale amounts of HIV or HBV.  Research 
laboratories may produce high concentrations of HIV or HBV 
but not in the volume found in production facilities.
 
SEPSIS: A general reaction, usually febrile; the results of 
the action of bacteria or their products, or both.
 
SOURCE INDIVIDUAL: means any individual, living or dead, 
whose blood or other potentially infectious materials may be 
a source of occupational exposure to an employee; examples 
include, but are not limited to, hospital and clinic 
patients; clients in institutions for the developmentally 
disabled; trauma victims; clients of drug and alcohol 
treatment facilities; residents of hospices and nursing 
homes; human remains; and individuals who donate or sell 
blood or blood components.
 
SPORES:  An inactive but viable form of bacteria. Certain 
bacteria may assume this form under adverse conditions. 
Spores are especially resistant to methods of destruction.
 
STERILE: Free from microorganisms.
 
STERILE FIELD:  Area immediately around the patient that has 
been prepared for a sterile procedure.
 
STERILE TECHNIQUE OR ASEPTIC TECHNIQUE: The method by which 
contamination with microorganisms is prevented.
 
STERILITY: The state attained by sterilization. 

STERILIZATION: The process by which all organisms, pathogenic 
and nonpathogenic, including spores, are killed. This term is 
used constantly in the operative technique. It is an absolute 
term and should be used only for a process capable of 
destroying all forms of bacterial life, including spores. 
However, it often is used incorrectly and is applied when 
only bacteriostasis is accomplished.
 
STERILIZE: means the use of a physical or chemical procedure 
to destroy all microbial life including highly resistant 
bacterial endospores.
 
SURGICAL SCRUB: The process of removing as many 
microorganisms as possible from hands and forearms by 
mechanical washing and chemical antisepsis before 
participating in a surgical procedure.
 
SURGICALLY CLEAN: Mechanically cleansed but not sterile.
 
TERMINAL STERILIZATION: The destruction of pathogens by 
sterilization at the end of an operative procedure after 
decontamination of the instruments.
 
TRANSIENT MICROFLORA:  Organisms acquired by direct contact 
and usually found only on exposed areas of the skin. They are 
easily removed by mechanical cleansing.
 
UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS: means an approach to infection control 
in which all human blood and certain human body fluids are 
treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, and other 
blood borne pathogens.

WORK PRACTICE CONTROLS: means controls that reduce the 
likelihood of exposure by altering the manner in which a task 
is performed (e.g. prohibiting recapping of needles by a two 
handed technique).

Approved By Governing Board    
MC.8
Control #135.2
GUPTA GASTRO