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5 – 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.

Viruses: Viruses are tiny pieces of genetic information that can exist independently of other cells but must attach themselves to a host cell for replication. Once attached, viruses use their genome to create new viruses and replicate themselves inside the host cell. Common viral diseases include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS; rotavirus, which causes diarrhoea in young children; chickenpox; influenza A and B viruses responsible for seasonal epidemics like colds and cases of flu; herpes simplex 1 and 2 viruses that cause genital lesions in humans); papillomavirus that causes cervical cancer; hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is a major risk factor for liver disease).

Bacteria: Bacteria are tiny single-celled organisms that can live in many different environments and multiply rapidly. Bacteria cause diseases by attacking the body’s cells, which can lead to infections, inflammation, or even cancer. Common bacterial pathogens include streptococcus bacteria which causes tonsillitis, staphylococcus aureus which causes boils and skin infections, salmonella which is a leading cause of food poisoning; pneumococcal pneumonia, which causes a serious complication of pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pyogenes; and E Coli 0157:H7 which is associated with severe diarrhoea.

Fungi: Fungi are a group of organisms that typically lack cells with nuclei. Fungi produce their own cell walls, which protect them from being destroyed by the immune system and allow them to proliferate. Many fungi cause diseases by invading and damaging host tissues, leading to infection or cancer. Common fungal pathogens include Candida albicans (which causes thrush), Aspergillus niger (a common cause of occupational asthma), Cryptococcus neoformans (the causative agent for crypto-phage infections) and Tinea versicolor (an Itch condition).

Protozoans: Protozoans are single-celled organisms that lack cell walls and include parasites, such as malaria and amoebas. Protozoan diseases can be deadly if not treated promptly with antibiotics. Common protozoan pathogens include Plasmodium falciparum (the cause of the disease malaria), Giardia lamblia (a common parasite that causes diarrhoea) and Acanthamoeba polyphagia (the causative agent of gastroenteritis – a nasty stomach virus).

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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