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Infection Control



The most effective way to protect against certain types of bacterial meningitis is vaccination.


There are vaccines for three types of bacteria that can cause meningitis:

  • Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus)

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus)

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).





The best method for preventing disease transmission is proper handwashing.


  • When hands are visibly dirty or contaminated with proteinaceous material or are visibly soiled with blood or other body fluids, wash hands with either a nonantimicrobial soap and water or an antimicrobial soap and water.

  • If hands are not visibly soiled, use an alcohol-based hand rub for routinely decontaminating hands in all other clinical situations

  • Alternatively, wash hands with an antimicrobial soap and water in all clinical situations

  • Decontaminate hands before having direct contact with patients

(CDC, 2002)



Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)


An engineering method to reduce the likelihood of exposure to pathogens, Paramedics need to ensure that the application of PPE is appropriate to the patient presentation. It may include application of some or all of the following:


  • Gloves

  • Face-shield

  • Safety glasses

  • Gown

  • Apron or coverall

  • N95 or FFP3 mask


Bacterial meningitis can be transmitted through contact with droplets or secretions. Particular care should be taken when performing any invasive airway manouevres such as intubation or suctioning.





Paramedics only require prophylaxis if they have come into direct contact with droplets or secretions from an infected patients respiratory tract, or if they develop conjunctivitis within 10 days of exposure. 


The likely events where this could occur are those involving direct contact with the patients airway such as

  • suctioning

  • insertion of airway adjuncts such as oropharyngeal or nasopharyngeal airways

  • intubation

  • if the patient coughs in your face.


If you are exposed, you should notify your occupational health department who will initiate prophylactic therapy.












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