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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 reduce the number of all types of infections, thereby reducing the need for antibiotics. The goal is also to limit the spread of microorganisms including resistant bacteria. The consequences of infection with resistant bacteria can be severe, and include prolonged illness, hospitalization, increased mortality, and increased costs of care for humans and animals. Effective infection control practices are crucial to limit 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 both human and animal sectors, even when resources are limited. Efforts can range from large scale programs to small scale interventions targeted at particular audiences.

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.

  • 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.
  • Inspirational examples describes initiatives aiming to improve infection prevention and control.

The narrative text is accompanied by “Selected resources” that may be used directly or adapted to your particular setting. Browse through then pick and choose what material is most helpful for you!

World Health Organization - WHO. Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance [Internet]. World Health Organization; 2015 [cited 2016 Jan 11]. Available from:
Bengtsson B, Greko C. Antibiotic resistance—consequences for animal health, welfare, and food production. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2016 Apr 5];119(2):96–102. Available from: