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Code for infection control

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Ratification Date: 17 Oct 1999

Policy

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) supports practices that:

  • ensure the safety and welfare of all animals under veterinary care
  • provide a safe and healthy working environment for owners, veterinarians and staff.

Animal hospitals and practitioners have a duty of care and must take reasonable action to safeguard animals, staff and the public from infection. Employers must establish procedures and provide information, training and supervision, especially for infection control.

Veterinarians must be conscious of the potential for zoonoses to present as inapparent infections in animals and of their responsibilities regarding cross infection among animal patients. They must recognise the potential for pyrogens and pathogens to be introduced through inadequate infection control during administration of medication.

Background

The Code for infection control guidelines set a minimum standard for infection control in animal hospitals and in the field. They provide broad principles and a framework for developing infection control procedures to prevent spread of diseases between animals and from animals to staff. Appropriate procedures will vary according to the size and nature of the practice and the facilities.

The attention of practitioners to infection control may be an issue in any proceedings, civil or public, relating to questions of liability.

Further reading

  • Centres for Disease Control (1998). Update: universal precautions for prevention of transmission of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B, and other bloodborne pathogens in health-care settings. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 37:377–388.
  • GeeringWA, Forman AJ and Nunn MJ (1995). Exotic Diseases of Animals, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • Linton AH, Hugo WB and Russell AD (eds) (1982).Principles and Practice of Disinfection, Preservation and Sterilisation, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Chicago.
  • Linton AH, Hugo WB and Russell AD (eds) (1987). Disinfection in Veterinary and Farm Animals, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Chicago.
  • Maginnis A (ed) (1994). Sterilisation/Disinfection Guidelines for General Practice, 2nd edition, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Victoria.
  • NHMRC/ANCA (National Health and Medical Research Council/Australian National Council on AIDS) (1993). Management Guidelines for the Control of Infectious Disease Hazards in Health Care Establishments, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • NHMRC/ANCA (National Health and Medical Research Council/Australian National Council on AIDS) (1994). Infection Control in Office Practice: Medical, Dental and Allied Health, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) (1992). Guidelines for the Prevention of Transmission of Viral Infection in Dentistry, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • NSW Health Department (1988). Guidelines for the handling and disposal of sharps in health facilities. Circular 88/133, Occupational Health, Safety and Rehabilitation Council.
  • NSW Health Department (1999). GenericHospitalWaste Management Plan. http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/public-health/ehb/general/waste/generic_wmp... (Accessed 26 July 2006)
  • NSW Health Department (1999). Infection control policy. Circular 99/87, NSW Health Department, North Sydney. http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/archive/cib/circulars/1999/cir99-87.pdf (Accessed 26 July 2006)
  • NSW Healthcare Cleaning Services Managers’ Association (1991). Code of Disinfection Practice, Sydney.
  • NSW Healthcare Cleaning Services Managers’ Association (1994). Hospital Cleaning: Best Practice Operators Manual, Sydney.
  • NSW Medical Practice Act 1992, The Medical Practice Regulation No. 74, 1995.
  • RACS (Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) (1994). Infection Control in Surgery: management of AIDS (HIV) and Hepatitis B, RACS, Melbourne.
  • Standards Australia (2003). Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sterilising Reusable Medical and Surgical Instruments and Equipment, and Maintenance of Associated Environments in Health Care Facilities, AS/NZS 4187:2003, Standards Australia, Sydney.
  • Westley-Wise V, Levy M, Lonie C, McAnulty J, Winks M and Stewart G (1993). Controlling tuberculosis in New South Wales/Victoria. State health publication (EB) 93–40, NSW Health Department, North Sydney.

Date of ratification by AVA Board 17 October 1999