Abbreviations and acronyms


ADT: adult diphtheria–tetanus vaccine

ALT: alanine aminotransferase

Anti-HBs: hepatitis B surface antibody

anti-HBc: hepatitis B core antibody

CF/CFT: complement fixation test

CNS: central nervous system

CSF: cerebrospinal fluid

CT scan: computerised tomography scan

DTP: diphtheria–tetanus–pertussis vaccine

DTPa: diphtheria–tetanus–acellular pertussis vaccine

dTpa: adult/adolescent formulation of diphtheria–tetanus–acellular pertussis vaccine

EBV: Epstein–Barr virus

EEG: electroencephalogram

EIA: enzyme immunoassay

ELISA: enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay

EM: electron microscopy

FA: direct fluorescent or immunofluorescent antibody test

HAV: hepatitis A virus

HbeAg: hepatitis B e-antigen

HBIG: hepatitis B immunoglobulin

HbsAg: hepatitis B surface antigen

HBV: hepatitis B virus

HCV: hepatitis C virus

HDV: hepatitis D virus

Hib: Haemophilus influenzae type b

HIV: human immunodeficiency virus

IG: immunoglobulin

IHA: indirect haemagglutination

IM: intramuscular

IV: intravenous

MDU: Microbiological Diagnostic Unit

MIF: microimmunofluorescent test

MMR: measles–mumps–rubella vaccine

MRI: magnetic resonance imaging

NHMRC: National Health and Medical Research Council

PCR: polymerase chain reaction

VIDRL: Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory


Blue Book glossary of terms

  • Airborne transmission

    Transmission by air of infectious agents from respiratory secretions.

  • Asymptomatic infection

    An infection that does not display any clinical symptoms, but may still be capable of transmitting disease.

  • Carrier

    A person or animal that harbours a specific infectious agent in the absence of clinical disease and serves as a potential source of infection.

  • Communicable disease

    A disease capable of being transmitted from an infected person or species to a susceptible host, either directly or indirectly.

  • Concurrent disinfection

    Immediate disinfection, and disposal of discharges and infective matter throughout the course of a disease.

  • Contact

    A person or animal that has associated with an infected person or animal that might provide an opportunity to acquire the infection.

  • Disinfection

    Killing of infectious agents outside the body by direct exposure to chemical or physical agents. High-level disinfection refers to the inactivation of all microorganisms, except some bacterial spores.

  • Drainage/secretion precautions

    Precautions used to prevent infections transmitted by direct or indirect contact with purulent material or drainage from an infected body site.

  • Droplet transmission

    Transmission of infectious agents in droplets from respiratory secretions.

  • Endemic

    The constant presence of a disease or infectious agent within a given geographic area.

  • Epidemic

    The occurrence of a number of cases of a disease (or condition) in excess of a number expected in a given time and place. In some instances, a single case will constitute such an unusual occurrence.

  • Fomes (plural fomites)

    An object such as a book, wooden object or an article of clothing that is not harmful in itself, but is able to harbour pathogenic microorganisms, and thus may serve as an agent of transmission of an infection.

  • Immunity

    The protection against infectious disease generated by immunisation, previous infection or by other nonimmunological factors.

  • Inapparent infection

    The presence of infection in a host without recognisable clinical signs or symptoms.

  • Incubation period

    The time interval between initial contact with an infectious agent and the appearance of clinical signs and symptoms.

  • Infection

    Invasion and multiplication of microorganisms in body tissues.

  • Infectious agent

    An organism that is capable of producing infection or infectious disease.

  • Infestation

    The lodgement, development and reproduction of arthropods on the surface of the body of persons or animals, or in clothing.

  • Isolation

    Represents separation for the period of communicability of infected persons or animals from others in such places and under such conditions as to prevent or limit the direct or indirect transmission of the infectious agent. Categories of isolation include:

    • strict isolation for highly contagious infections spread by air and contact
    • contact isolation for diseases spread primarily by close or direct contact
    • respiratory isolation to prevent transmission across short distances through the air.

    For drainage/secretion precautions see separate entry. For blood and body substance precautions, see ‘Standard and additional precautions’.

  • Nosocomial infection

    Hospital-acquired infection.

  • Notifiable disease

    Disease or condition that is required by law to be notified to the state health department.

  • Notification

    The process of reporting a notifiable infectious disease.

  • Outbreak

    See epidemic.

  • Period of communicability

    The time during which an infectious agent may be transferred directly or indirectly from an infected person or animal to a susceptible host.

  • Personal hygiene

    The protective measures within the responsibility of the individual that limit the spread of infectious diseases.

  • Personal protective equipment

    The equipment to be worn when performing duties that may involve possible occupational exposure to blood, splashing or aerosols from cleaning processes – for example, masks, goggles, gloves and aprons.

  • Quarantine

    The restriction of freedom of movement of apparently healthy individuals who have been exposed to infectious disease.

  • Reservoir of infectious agents

    Any person, animal or substance in which an infectious agent normally lives and multiplies in such a manner that it can be transmitted to a susceptible host.

  • Resistance

    The natural ability of an organism to resist microorganisms or toxins produced in disease.

  • School exclusion

    Exclusion from school or children’s services centres under the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009.

  • Source of infection

    The person, animal or substance from which an infectious agent passes to a host.

  • Standard precautions

    Work practices that require everyone to assume that all blood and body fluids are potential sources of infection, independent of perceived risk. Such precautions involve the use of safe work practices and protective barriers, and the safe disposal of body substances and soiled material. See ‘Standard and additional precautions’.

  • Surveillance

    Personal surveillance is the practice of close medical or other supervision of contacts to permit prompt recognition of infection or illness, but without restricting the movements of the individual.

  • Susceptibility

    Lack of resistance to a particular pathogenic agent.

  • Transmission

    In terms of infection, it relates to any mechanism by which an infectious agent is spread from a source or reservoir to a person. This may be direct or indirect (that is, vehicle borne, vector borne or airborne).

  • Vector

    A carrier, especially the animal (usually an arthropod) that transfers an infective agent from one host to another.

  • Zoonosis

    A disease of animals that may be transmitted to humans under natural conditions.

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