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Prevent infection

The PREVENT INFECTION focus area of the Toolbox describes the practical steps to begin or strengthen initiatives to improve infection prevention and control strategies in health care and in the food animal sector.

Why prevent infection?

The goal of infection prevention and control is to both reduce the occurrence of all types of infections, thereby reducing the need for antibiotics, and limit the spread of microorganisms including resistant bacteria. The consequences of infection with resistant bacteria can be severe, including prolonged illness, hospitalization, increased mortality, and increased costs of care for humans and animals. In situations where access to effective antibiotics is limited, infection prevention and control plays a crucial role in protecting from resistant infections that are untreatable without access to second or third line antibiotics. Effective infection control practices help to curb the emergence of antibiotic resistance and improve patient safety.

The Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance highlights the importance of prevention first. Preventing infection can be cost-effective and implemented in health care, and non-human settings, even when resources are limited. Initiatives can be done in a variety of settings and can range in size from a simple intervention to a full scale infection prevention and control program.

What does the PREVENT INFECTION focus area cover?

The PREVENT INFECTION focus area of the Toolbox aims to help healthcare workers and professionals in the food animal sector in their work to improve infection prevention and control practices. Efforts can range from large scale programs to small scale interventions targeted at particular audiences. The Health care section describes core components of infection prevention and control, includes guidance on setting up infection prevention programs, and possible interventions of such programs, specifically focusing on limiting spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The Food animals section provides an overview of what can be done to prevent infections when farming animals. Examples from the field describes some initiatives aiming to improve infection prevention and control.

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