H Dele Davies, Ann-Christine Nyquist, Dawn Nolt, Yvonne A Maldonado, Mary Anne Jackson, Tina Q Tan, Mark H Sawyer, Carrie L Byington, Theoklis E Zaoutis, Mobeen H Rathore, Elizabeth D Barnett, Kathryn M Edwards, Ruth Lynfield, Flor M Munoz, William J Steinbach
Since the American Academy of Pediatrics published its statement titled "Infection Prevention and Control in Pediatric Ambulatory Settings" in 2007, there have been significant changes that prompted this updated statement. Infection prevention and control is an integral part of pediatric practice in ambulatory medical settings as well as in hospitals. Infection prevention and control practices should begin at the time the ambulatory visit is scheduled. All health care personnel should be educated regarding the routes of transmission and techniques used to prevent the transmission of infectious agents. Policies for infection prevention and control should be written, readily available, updated every 2 years, and enforced. Many of the recommendations for infection control and prevention from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for hospitalized patients are also applicable in the ambulatory setting. These recommendations include requirements for pediatricians to take precautions to identify and protect employees likely to be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials while on the job. In addition to emphasizing the key principles of infection prevention and control in this policy, we update those that are relevant to the ambulatory care patient. These guidelines emphasize the role of hand hygiene and the implementation of diagnosis- and syndrome-specific isolation precautions, with the exemption of the use of gloves for routine diaper changes and wiping a well child's nose or tears for most patient encounters. Additional topics include respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette strategies for patients with a respiratory tract infection, including those relevant for special populations like patients with cystic fibrosis or those in short-term residential facilities; separation of infected, contagious children from uninfected children when feasible; safe handling and disposal of needles and other sharp medical devices; appropriate use of personal protective equipment, such as gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protection; and appropriate use of sterilization, disinfection, and antisepsis. Lastly, in this policy, we emphasize the importance of public health interventions, including vaccination for patients and health care personnel, and outline the responsibilities of the health care provider related to prompt public health notification for specific reportable diseases and communication with colleagues who may be providing subsequent care of an infected patient to optimize the use of isolation precautions and limit the spread of contagions.