What is a Chain of Infection?
A chain of infection refers to the path that viruses take to enter a person and to be transmitted from one person to another.
There are six steps in the chain of infection and we know that transmission will only take place if all six elements in the chain are present.
That means, we can break the chain!
The Six Elements in the Chain of Infection
Do you ever wonder about how you got ill?
In order for an infection or disease to happen, six elements must be in place. This process is known as the chain of infection.
The first element in the chain is an infectious agent, which can cause disease. It could be a virus, bacteria, or fungi.
The second element is the reservoir, or the place where the infectious agent lives. It can be a person, an animal, soil or water. Then we have a port of exit, which is the way the agent leaves the body. This can happen through the mouth, if a person coughs or sneezes, through a cut, if a person is bleeding, during diaper changes or toileting.
The next element is the mode of transmission, which is how the infectious agent is transmitted from one person to another. It can be in form of droplets, direct or indirect contact, or through airborne transmission.
The fifth element in the chain of infection is the port of entry, or the place where the infectious agent enters another person’s body. This is similar to the port of exit, it can be a mouth, nose, eyes, an open cut etc.
Finally, we have a susceptible host – it’s either a baby, an elderly person or someone with a weakened immune system. To prevent the spread of the disease, one of the links in the chain of infection must be broken.