Aspirus Media Center

Keeping Health Care Facilities Safe from Infectious Diseases


Jen Matuszewski RN, Infection Preventionist

About a quarter of deaths worldwide are caused by infectious organisms, with reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) of new infectious diseases continuing to emerge in new locations around the globe.

Infectious diseases are illnesses caused by pathogens, commonly known as germs, (such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi) that enter the body, multiply, and can cause an infection. 


This week, October 16 to 22, is International Infection Prevention Week. This week is designated to educate the public on the importance of preventing the spread of illnesses and infectious agents.


“Understanding how certain infectious diseases spread is a key factor in preventing disease, and it varies for different bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens,” says Aspirus Infection Preventionist and Registered Nurse, Jen Matuszewski. “Some diseases require direct contact such as hand holding, kissing, skin-to-skin, etc. In other cases, spreading can take place through airborne transmission, such as breathing in dust particles or small respiratory droplets from an infected person.”


Infections can compromise patients’ health and the efforts of health care workers to have a detrimental impact on public health. Every year, secondary infections cause thousands of health concerns in health care facilities.


“Most patients coming into healthcare facilities due to an illness or surgical procedure might require the use of medical devices or treatment that could potentially put them at risk for a healthcare-associated infection. By requiring specific infection prevention policies in our healthcare facilities, we prevent the transmission of potentially life-threatening infections.”


Healthcare facilities continue to implement ways to keep patients safe and limit exposure to outside pathogens, such as wearing facial masks, strict adherence to hand hygiene and maintaining social distancing. These interventions have remained crucial throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and are especially important with the upcoming influenza and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).


It is important to help health care facilities in the effort to contain the spread of infectious diseases. However, people can work towards protecting their loved ones from sickness no matter where they are. Here are a few daily tips to help limit the spread of infectious diseases according to the CDC.

  • Stay home when sick

  • Wash hands often and properly

  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces

  • Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Don’t share personal items (drinks, food, etc)

  • Handle and prepare food safely

  • Stay up to date with vaccinations

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick



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