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2018 AAHA Infection Control, Prevention, and Biosecurity Guidelines now available

LAKEWOOD, Colorado — Hospital-acquired infections are an ongoing battle for healthcare facilities in both human and veterinary medicine. New guidelines created by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) provide ways for veterinary professionals to tackle this problem and prevent the spread of disease in their practices.

The 2018 AAHA Infection Control, Prevention, and Biosecurity Guidelines are the first-of-their-kind and offer practical standard operating procedures (SOPs) to guide the veterinary team in creating a truly clean and safe environment. SOPs include cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, identifying high-risk patients, managing contagious patients in isolation, and much more.

“Infection prevention and biosecurity are key components in the delivery of high-quality patient care,” said AAHA Chief Executive Officer Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP (Emeritus). “We believe infectious disease prevention and control is essential to veterinary medicine and the health of our patients, clients, and team. Knowing that much has changed in this arena in human medicine and with the availability of new, effective compounds, we believe the time is right to make certain the veterinary profession remains up to date. With the publication of the 2018 AAHA Infection Control, Prevention, and Biosecurity Guidelines, veterinary professionals will have increased access to the information and resources needed to design proper protocols that protect both animals and humans.”

In addition to the SOPs, these guidelines include an engaging staff training video to empower team members to ensure a safe environment, personalized checklists of key tasks to improve compliance, evaluation tools to ensure success, valuable staff and client educational materials, a process for elevating key team members to become “infection control practitioners,” and much more.

“We have approached this area from the perspective of the busy veterinary team member, often with little background in infection control, and distilled the key practices with greatest potential for success into a succinct ‘how-to manual.’” said Jason Stull, VMD, MPVM, PhD, DACVPM, assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, AAHA Infection Control Task Force chair. “With these guidelines, every practice can have an infection control program of which they can be proud and that will protect patient, owner, and personnel health.”

“A focus on infection control measures in veterinary practices is essential, now more than ever, especially with the increase in emerging and antimicrobial resistant organisms,” said AAHA Infection Control Task Force member Glenda Dvorak, MS, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, assistant director for the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. “These guidelines were created to help practitioners identify areas for improvement as well as recognize things they may already be doing well.” 

AAHA guidelines review the latest information to help veterinary teams address central issues and perform essential tasks to improve the health of their patients. AAHA will release an update to its 2013 Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats in 2019.

The 2018 AAHA Infection Control, Prevention, and Biosecurity Guidelines are supported by an educational grant from Virox Animal Health™. They are available in the November/December issue of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association (JAAHA) or online at aaha.org/biosecurity.

Media contact

Heather Loenser, DVM

12575 W. Bayaud Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80228
heather.loenser@aaha.org

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