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6 – 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.

Diseases are typically caused by microorganisms known as pathogens; the various microorganisms that cause diseases are highlighted below.

Bacteria are microscopic single-celled organisms that are invisible unless viewed through a microscope. They are free-flowing and can be found in almost every space around us, either inside or outside of every living organism. While some bacteria are beneficial and necessary for normal body function (for example, bacteria present in the digestive system for food digestion), others are quite harmful and can cause food spoilage as well as diseases in the body. Bacteria lack a nucleus but do have DNA, a cell wall, and a membrane. Some bacteria have a tail-like structure called a flagellum that they use for movement. Bacteria are classified as either bacillus (rod and spiral) or cocci (spherical/oval). Bacteria replicate/reproduce by splitting into two identical cells of the bacterium, each of which contains identical DNA and divides into two more, resulting in four. At optimal growth conditions, this division continues in the same pattern every 20 minutes. This procedure is known as binary fusion.

Nutrients and water, which bacteria are mostly made of, are factors that promote their growth and reproduction. Some bacteria require oxygen to grow, while others do not. Those that require oxygen are referred to as aerobic, while those that do not are referred to as anaerobic. Temperature is another requirement for bacterial reproduction. Temperature is critical because very low temperatures (0c-5c) slow down the rate of growth while high temperatures can completely destroy the bacteria. Too low a temperature (- 18 degrees Celsius) will cause them to become dormant or inactive. Bacterial diseases include salmonella poisoning, urinary tract infections, E.coli, tuberculosis, and whooping cough.

A virus is an extremely small infectious microorganism that can only reproduce within the cells of another organism, thereby taking control of the host cells and replicating within the cell, and will continue to multiply from one cell to the next within a few hours. As this virus grows, small changes occur that do not change the virus initially, but as it grows further, some changes occur that cause it to not be detected by the body system, allowing it to attack the body system using the disguise mechanism. Ebola, measles, chickenpox, AIDS, and COVID-19 are examples of virus-caused diseases.

Fungi are rarely disease-causing microorganisms because only a few of them are known to cause human disease; fungi typically appear as single-celled or complex-structured microorganisms. They are significant contributors to skin irritation and cell damage. Fungi are made up of mycelium, which is the main body, and thread-like strands called hyphae, which the fungi use to feed and grow. Fungi diseases include yeast infections, ringworm, onychomycosis, and athlete’s foot.

Protozoa are single-celled microorganisms found in a variety of environments around the world. Not all protozoa cause disease. Protozoa are mobile microorganisms, as evidenced by their morphology, and are classified as follows: amoeba, ciliate, sporozoan, and flagellates. Protozoal diseases include Chagas disease, malaria, Giardiasis, and Toxoplasmosis.

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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