Infection Control Terms Glossary

It is important that all personnel understand and use the correct terms when discussing infection control. Communication is vitally important when it comes to infection control procedures and policy.

These are the most common terms and phrases and the abbreviations associated with them that are used when discussing infection control issues:

Airborne infection isolation (AII) – This is a phrase used to refer to patients who have been isolated because they are infected with airborne organisms.

Protective environment (PE) – This describes the specialized patient-care aera used in a hospital that has a positive air flow relative to the surrounding corridor.

Immunocompromised patients – These are patients that are immune mechanism deficient because of immunologic disorders such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, congenital immune deficiency syndrome, or other chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, emphysema, or cardiac failure or who are immunosuppressive due to therapy such as raidation, cytotoxic chemotherapy, anti-rejection medication, or have used steroids. These are all high-risk patients for infection especially for airborne or waterborne microorganisms.

Antibiotic – is a substance such as a drug that can stop the growth of bacteria or destroy it.

Ebola – is a disease caused by the deadly Ebola virus found in Africa

Immunization – also known as vaccination is when a small amount of an infectious agent is injected into the body to stimulate the body to become immune to the agent.

Immunocompromized is when a condition exists that weakens the immune system of an individual. This can happen due to disease, drugs or a genetic factor.

Negative Air Flow- maintaining a laboratory or “hot zone” room at a negative pressure with respect to an adjoining non-laboratory area in order to prevent the spread of infectious organisms

Staphlococcal infection is an infection that is caused by an organism. It is a common infection and often times are resistant to antibiotics.

Some commonly used abbreviations

All personnel should be familiar with these terms and phrases and whenever possible training classes should be used to help individuals to become more familiar with these terms and the policies of infection control. It is also important that all staff members understand how to implement policy in the areas where they work.