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A veterinary team’s best work can be undone by a breach in infection control, prevention, and biosecurity (ICPB). Such a breach, in the practice or home-care setting, can lead to medical, social, and financial impacts on patients, clients, and staff, as well as damage the reputation of the hospital. To mitigate these negative outcomes, the AAHA ICPB Guidelines Task Force believes that hospital teams should improve upon their current efforts by limiting pathogen exposure from entering or being transmitted throughout the hospital population and using surveillance methods to detect any new entry of a pathogen into the practice. To support these recommendations, these practice-oriented guidelines include step-by-step instructions to upgrade ICPB efforts in any hospital, including recommendations on the following: establishing an infection control practitioner to coordinate and implement the ICPB program; developing evidence-based standard operating procedures related to tasks performed frequently by the veterinary team (hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, phone triage, etc.); assessing the facility’s ICPB strengths and areas of improvement; creating a staff education and training plan; cataloging client education material specific for use in the practice; implementing a surveillance program; and maintaining a compliance evaluation program. Practices with few or no ICPB protocols should be encouraged to take small steps. Creating visible evidence that these protocols are consistently implemented within the hospital will invariably strengthen the loyalties of clients to the hospital as well as deepen the pride the staff have in their roles, both of which are the basis of successful veterinary practice.  (J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 2018; 54:---–---. DOI 10.5326/JAAHA-MS-6903)

AAHA Infection Control, Prevention,
and Biosecurity Guidelines Task Force:

Jason W. Stull, VMD, MPVM, PhD, DACVPM

Erin Bjorvik, BS, CVT

Joshua Bub, DVM, DABVP (C/F)

Glenda Dvorak, MS, DVM, MPH, DACVPM

Christine Petersen, DVM, PhD

Heather L. Troyer, DVM, DABVP (C/F), CVA,CVPP

Affiliations:

From the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, and Department of Health Management, Atlantic Veterinary College, the University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada (J.W.S.); Veterinary Specialty Center, Buffalo Grove, Illinois (E.B.); Mesa Veterinary Hospital, Golden, Colorado (J.B.); Center for Food Security and Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa (G.D.); Department of Epidemiology and Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa (C.P.); and Oradell Animal Hospital, Paramus, New Jersey (H.L.T.).

Contributing reviewers:

J. Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM
(Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada);

Jeff Bender, DVM, MS, DACVPM
(Division of Environmental Sciences, School of Public Health and College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota).

Correspondence: guidelines@aaha.org

AHS (alcohol-based hand sanitizer); HAI (hospital-acquired infections); ICP (infection control practitioner); ICPB (infection control, prevention, and biosecurity); MDR (multidrug resistant); MRSP (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius); PPE (personal protective equipment); SOP (standard operating procedure); SSI (surgical site infection)

† J. Stull was the chair of the Infection Control, Prevention, and Biosecurity Guidelines Task Force.