guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for reducing the risk of transmission of epidemiologically important microorganisms by direct or indirect contact. Direct-contact transmission involves skin-to-skin contact and physical transfer of microorganisms to a susceptible host from an infected or colonized person. This can occur when health care personnel perform patient-care activities that require physical contact, such as turning or bathing the patient. Direct-contact transmission can also occur between two patients, such as by hand contact, with one patient serving as the source of infectious microorganisms and the other as a susceptible host. Indirect-contact transmission involves contact of a susceptible host with a contaminated intermediate object, usually inanimate, in the patient's environment. Contact Precautions apply to specified patients known or suspected to be infected or colonized with epidemiologically important microorganisms that can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact. See also standard precautions, transmission-based precautions. Compare Airborne Precautions, Droplet Precautions.
con·tact pre·cau·tions(kon'takt prĕ-kaw'shŭnz)
Procedures that reduce the risk of spread of infections through direct or indirect contact. Transmission occurs with physical contact of the infected patient or handling of a contaminated object in the infected patient's room. Masks, gowns, and gloves as well as standard precautions (q.v.) must be used by health care providers when in the infected patient's room.