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BACKGROUND: The management of patients with highly infectious diseases (HIDs) is a challenge for healthcare provision requiring a high level of care without compromising the safety of other patients and healthcare workers. AIM: To study the infection control practice in isolation facilities participating in the European Network for Highly Infectious Diseases (EuroNHID) project. METHODS: A survey was conducted during 2009 of 48 isolation facilities caring for patients with HIDs in 16 European countries. Checklists and standard evaluation forms were used to collect and interpret data on hand hygiene, routine hygiene and disinfection, and waste management. FINDINGS: Forty percent of HIDs had no non-hand-operated sinks or alcohol-based antiseptic distributors, while 27% did not have procedures for routine hygiene, final disinfection, or safe discarding of non-disposable objects or equipment. There was considerable variation in the management of waste and in the training of housekeeping personnel. EuroNHID has developed recommendations for hand hygiene, disinfection, routine hygiene, and waste management. CONCLUSIONS: Most aspects of hand hygiene, routine hygiene and disinfection, and waste management were considered at least partially adequate in the majority of European isolation facilities dedicated for the care of patients with HIDs. But considerable variability was observed, with management of waste and training of housekeeping personnel being generally less satisfactory.

Original publication




Journal article


J Hosp Infect

Publication Date





184 - 191


Communicable Diseases, Disease Transmission, Infectious, Disinfection, Europe, Hand Disinfection, Health Care Surveys, Hospitals, Isolation, Humans, Hygiene, Infection Control, Patient Isolation