In addition to Standard Precautions, use Contact Precautions in the care of patients known or suspected to have a serious illness easily transmitted by direct patient contact or by indirect contact with items in the patient’s environment.

Illnesses requiring contact precautions may include, but are not limited to: Gastrointestinal, respiratory, skin or wound infections or colonization.

How contact transmission occurs:

  • Contact transmission can occur in two ways:
    • Direct Contact Transmission
    • Indirect Contact Transmission

Contact precautions are required to protect against either direct or indirect transmission.

Contact precautions are indicated for persons with gastrointestinal (diarrheal) illness, and incontinent persons including those who use incontinent products.

Direct Contact Transmission
  • Involves body-surface to body-surface contact and physical transfer of microorganisms between a susceptible person (host) and an infected or colonized person.
  • More often occurs between a healthcare worker and a patient than between patients.
Indirect Contact Transmission
  • Involves contact of susceptible person (host) with a contaminated intermediate object such as needles, dressings, gloves or contaminated (unwashed) hands.
  • Disease is more likely to develop following direct or indirect contact transmission when the pathogen is highly virulent or has a low infectious dose or the patient or HCW is immunocompromised.
  • Poor hand hygiene is most often cited as a cause of contact transmission.

Contact precautions include:

  • Standard precautions

  • Private room
    or cohort, (room) patients infected or colonized with the same organism.
  • Gloves
    for possible contact with an infected or colonized patient and their environment.
  • Gown
    if substantial contact with the patient or their environment is anticipated.