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Infection control in the outpatient setting

Deverick J Anderson, MD, MPH
Zeina A Kanafani, MD, MS
Section Editor
Anthony Harris, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Elinor L Baron, MD, DTMH


Healthcare delivery in outpatient settings is increasing [1-4]. The layout of outpatient care areas can make implementation of isolation precautions difficult. Waiting rooms can be crowded, and patients with undiagnosed infection may serve as reservoirs for transmissible pathogens.

Outbreaks of transmissible infections have occurred in outpatient centers, including tuberculosis [5,6], measles [7,8], rubella [9,10], keratoconjunctivitis [11,12], viral gastroenteritis [13], respiratory infections, bloodborne pathogens [14-16], and community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [17,18].

Issues related to infection control in outpatient clinics, dialysis centers, ambulatory surgery centers, endoscopy suites, and home infusion therapy will be reviewed here. Principles of infection control in long-term care facilities are discussed separately. (See "Principles of infection control in long-term care facilities".)


General principles of infection control include issues related to standard precautions (hand hygiene, use of gloves and masks) and isolation precautions. These issues are discussed in detail separately. (See "Infection prevention: Precautions for preventing transmission of infection".)

In general, the recommendations for infection control in outpatients is extrapolated from the inpatient setting and/or based on expert opinion.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 07, 2017.
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