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2 – HSC CM5: Infection Prevention and Control in Health and Social Care

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1.1 Describe types of microbiological organisms that cause disease.

Microbial organisms are single-celled creatures that can only be seen under a microscope. They include bacteria, archaea, and protozoa. These organisms are essential in a variety of ways. They aid in the decomposition of organic matter, the cycling of nutrients in the environment, and the provision of food for other organisms. Some microbes can also cause disease. Numerous microorganisms can cause disease. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa are examples of these.


Bacteria are single-celled organisms that can live in a wide variety of environments. They are found in soil, water, and air, and on the surfaces of plants and animals. Most are harmless, but some bacteria cause diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, and food poisoning. Tuberculosis is a potentially fatal lung disease. Pneumonia is a deadly lung infection. Food poisoning is caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli.


Viruses are even smaller than bacteria and cannot reproduce on their own. They must invade cells in order to replicate. Viruses cause diseases such as the flu, measles, and AIDS. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that causes fever, rash, and cough. AIDS is another viral disease that stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, which weakens the body’s immune system, making it vulnerable to other infections.


Fungi are eukaryotic organisms that typically grow in moist environments. They produce mycelium, a network of Threadlike fungal cells through which they transfer nutrients and water from the environment to their growing colonies. Some fungi form fruiting bodies, or reproductive structures, where spores are produced. Fungi can cause diseases in humans and other animals. Athlete’s foot and ringworm are two examples of fungi that cause human disease. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin on the feet, whereas ringworm is a fungal infection of hair follicles that can occur anywhere on the body where there are hair follicles.


Protozoa are single-celled organisms that live in water or damp soil and feed on smaller living things like bacteria or algae. Malaria parasites are Plasmodium protozoa, which infect human red blood cells and cause malaria fever. Giardiasis infections occur when people ingest Giardia intestinalis cysts found in contaminated water or food.


Parasites are another type of microorganism that can cause disease. Parasites are organisms that live on or in another organism (the host) and consume its food. Some parasites, such as the malaria-causing Plasmodium protozoan, can cause serious illness and even death.

Other answers in the full document:

  • 2.1. Explain the features of vector borne disease
  • 3.1. Describe how pathogenic micro-organisms are transmitted.
  • 3.2. Explain why individuals may be more vulnerable to infection.
  • 3.3. Describe the body’s defence mechanisms against infection.
  • 3.4. Explain how to break the chain of infection.
  • 4.1. Explain methods of micro-organism control:
  • 5.1. Explain the importance of personal hygiene and attire in relation to infection control.
  • 5.2. Explain the correct hand-washing technique.
  • 5.3. Explain the use of personal protective equipment.
  • 5.4. Explain the process of safe waste disposal for:
    – Body fluids
    – Linen
    – Sharps and equipment

  • 6.1. Use the correct hand-washing technique.
  • 6.2. Use personal protective equipment.
  • 6.3. Dispose of waste safely.
  • 7.1. Evaluate the use of drugs to control and treat infectious diseases.
  • 7.2. Explain how antimicrobial resistance occurs.
  • 8.1. Explain the requirements of RIDDOR in relation to infection prevention and control.
  • 8.2. Explain the requirements of COSHH in relation to infection prevention and control.
  • 9.1. Analyse the role and responsibilities of the health and social care practitioner in relation to infection prevention and control

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