This topic has come up in Question 28 from the second paper of 2019, where the college has asked the trainees to comment on the specific infection control processes required to care for patients with things like neutropenic sepsis, Neisseria meningitis and norovirus gastroenteritis. As expected, the trainees were unable to recall the specific recommendations, and the pass rate was low (21.1%).
What would you have to do to get this sort of information? Well. Conventionally, if one is ever confronted with the question "do I need to isolate the patient with [insert disease here]", one tends to contact the local hospital Infection Control office. The office then quickly Googles the answer. Most often, that search would bring answers from the CDC Infection Control Guidelines Library. Locally, they may also look at the NSW Health Infectious Diseases page, which has locally important data (eg. notifiable diseases data and Communicable Diseases Weekly Reports).
So, how does one answer such questions in the future, without having to memorise the entire database of infectious diseases? There really is no solution here. Conceivably, next time CICM could ask about the infection control principles for cholera, Fifth disease and Chikungunya. But, to defend themselves against these dark arts, trainees could at least try to internalise some basic foundational principles of infection control.
Anyway. In terms of infection control principles in a broader sense, such things typically fall into two broad categories:
How much protection is required, depends on:
This is the usual approach to all patients, irrespective of infectious status; all other precautionary steps add on to this basic level of protection. It consists of:
(this is basically cut-and-pasted in an unchanged form from the Victorian health service page, because why change something already said in the best way possible)
These are for "for patients with known or suspected infections or evidence of syndromes that represent an increased risk for contact transmission". Such organisms include:
In summary, it is everything you would do for a patient on contact precautions, PLUS masks:
This is for "patients known or suspected to be infected with pathogens transmitted by respiratory droplets (i.e., large-particle droplets >5µ in size) that are generated by a patient who is coughing, sneezing or talking".
This is the same as droplet precautions, EXCEPT:
This is for "patients known or suspected to be infected with infectious agents transmitted person-to-person by the airborne route"
For patients who are sufficiently immunocompromised to require a protected environment, that environment should look like this: