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Communicable diseases (also known as infectious, contagious, or transmissible diseases) are illnesses resulting from infection with and growth of pathogenic biological agents such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, parasites, toxins, and prions. The Monterey County Health Department's Disease Prevention and Control Division prevents the spread of communicable disease in Monterey County by investigating cases and outbreaks, providing health education, promoting testing and vaccination, and planning for infectious disease emergencies. Click on a topic listed below or to the left for detailed information.
Interim Guidance for Infection Control Within Healthcare Settings When Caring for Patients with Confirmed, Probable, or Cases Under Investigation of Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Virus Infection
This interim guidance provides recommendations for initial infection control in healthcare settings for confirmed, probable, or cases under investigation of avian influenza A(H7N9) virus infection (update on the latest information on H7N9 is available).
These recommendations will be updated as additional information on H7N9, its transmissibility, epidemiology, available treatment, or vaccine options become available. These interim recommendations are based upon current available information and the following considerations:
- Lack of a safe and effective vaccine
- A suspected high rate of morbidity and mortality among infected patients
- Unknown potential for human to human transmission
- Absence of confirmed or probable H7N9 cases in the United States
This interim guidance recommends a higher level of infection control measures than for seasonal influenza, as outlined in the Prevention Strategies for Seasonal Influenza in Healthcare Settings. Among important differences from this seasonal influenza guidance are recommendations for contact and airborne precautions for patients with confirmed, probable, or a cases under investigation of H7N9 virus infection, which includes a higher level of personal protective equipment for healthcare personnel, including eye protection (i.e., required) and the expanded use of respirators (i.e., for all patient-care activities). For seasonal influenza, eye protection is not required in all instances and respirator use is recommended only during aerosol-generating procedures conducted on influenza patients.
Note that this interim guidance adds to existing infection control precautions (i.e., Standard Precautions) used every day in healthcare settings during the care of any patient. Standard Precautions are the foundation for preventing transmission of infectious agents in all healthcare settings and assume that every person is potentially infected or colonized with a pathogen that could be transmitted in the healthcare setting. Elements of standard precautions that apply to patients with respiratory infections, including those caused by the influenza virus, are summarized below (e.g., hand hygiene, gloves, gowns, respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette). All aspects of standard precautions (e.g., injection safety) are not emphasized in this document but can be found in the guideline titled Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings and are summarized for non-hospital settings in the Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings: Minimum Expectations for Safe Care.
This interim guidance was developed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) subject matter experts, based on existing infection control guidelines, scientific evidence and expert opinion. After internal review at CDC, the document was reviewed by other relevant federal agencies.