1-11. COMMUNICABLE DISEASE CONTROL
Disease control measures may be viewed as a means of breaking the links to the
chain of disease transmission (figure 1-2). If anyone of the links in the chain is broken,
disease will not occur. The infection chain for each specific disease usually has one link
that is more vulnerable or more easily broken than the others. While the chain may be
attacked at several points and all three links, the major effort usually is made against
the weakest link. The one disease control measure that is applicable to all three links is
personal hygiene. Personal hygiene is defined as the application, by the individual, of
the principles of healthful living. It embraces more than mere personal cleanliness.
Achieving a high level of personal hygiene requires the individual to practice health
rules to safeguard his own health and the health of others. Every individual is
potentially a source of disease, a vehicle of transmission, and a person susceptible (to a
greater or lesser degree) to disease. Therefore, universal and unrelenting application of
the principles of healthful living will do much to prevent the spread of disease.
Break the chain of disease transmission.
a. Control Measures Applicable to the Source.
(1) Isolation is the separation of infected persons from others during the
period in which the infection is communicable. This separation may be accomplished
by having the sick person admitted to hospital isolation or by self-isolation practiced by
the infected person. In self-isolation the infected person should separate himself from
susceptible by a distance of more than 5 feet, practice good personal hygiene, and
avoid the spreading of disease agents as much as possible.
(2) Quarantine is the restriction of movement of a well person who has been
exposed to a communicable disease. The purpose of quarantine is to prevent contact
between a probable carrier and other people who have not been exposed.
(3) Medical surveillance consists of observing and supervising someone
who, through association with a disease source, may have been exposed to a disease.