The terms ‘incident’ and ‘Incident Management Team’ (IMT) are used as generic terms to cover both incidents and outbreaks
A healthcare infection incident may be:
An exceptional infection episode
- A single case of an infection that has severe outcomes for an individual patient OR has major implications for others (patients, staff and/or visitors), the organisation or wider public health e.g., infectious diseases of high consequence such as VHF or XDR-TB, botulism, polio, rabies, diphtheria.
See literature review for Infectious Diseases of High Consequence (IDHC)
A healthcare infection exposure incident
- Exposure of patients, staff, public to a possible infectious agent as a result of a healthcare system failure or a near miss e.g. ventilation, water or decontamination incidents.
A healthcare associated infection outbreak
- Two or more linked cases with the same infectious agent associated with the same healthcare setting over a specified time period.
- A higher than expected number of cases of HAI in a given healthcare area over a specified time period.
A healthcare infection data exceedance
- A greater than expected rate of infection compared with the usual background rate for the place and time where the incident has occurred.
A healthcare infection near miss incident
- An incident which had the potential to expose patients to an infectious agent but did not e.g. decontamination failure.
A healthcare infection incident should be suspected if there is:
- A single case of an infection for which there have previously been no cases in the facility (e.g. infection with a multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) with unusual resistance patterns or a post-procedure infection with an unusual organism).
Further information can be found in the literature review Healthcare infection incidents and outbreaks in Scotland.