The key difference between cross infection and secondary infection is that cross infection refers to the transfer of harmful microorganisms from another person, medical equipment or tools while secondary infection is an infection that occurs during or after treatment for another infection.
Infections can be prevented via maintaining clean and thoroughly sanitized areas around patients. Hence, doctors wash their hands frequently. Moreover, sterile environments are maintained inside the hospitals. Cross infection and secondary infection are two types of infections from which patients should be saved.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Cross Infection
3. What is Secondary Infection
4. Similarities Between Cross Infection and Secondary Infection
5. Side by Side Comparison – Cross Infection vs Secondary Infection in Tabular Form
What is Cross Infection?
Cross infection is the transfer of pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, etc., between people or animals. Harmful microorganisms can move from one person to another, between objects, from one place to another, or from one part of the body to another. Symptoms of cross infection depend on the source of infection and the body part. Fever is the most common symptom first appearing in a cross infection. Rapid breathing, mental confusion, low blood pressure, reduced urine output, painful joints and muscles, and a high white blood cell count are other symptoms of cross infections.
The most common cross infections include urinary tract infections, pneumonia, surgical site infections and bloodstream infections. Susceptibility to cross infections differs according to the age (the very young or the elderly), presence of chronic disease, or a compromised immune system.
Cross infections can be caused due to different factors. Some of these include unsterilized medical equipment, coughing and sneezing, human contact, touching contaminated objects, dirty bedding, and prolonged use of catheters, tubes, or intravenous lines. Cross infections can be detected by blood tests, urine tests, culture test, X rays, etc.
Several precautions can be taken to prevent cross infections. Medical personals use special mechanisms to prevent infections. Also, hospitals and healthcare settings follow specific procedures to prevent infections. Moreover, it is necessary to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly and practice good hygiene in order to reduce cross infections. Cross infections are commonly treated by antibiotics. Early diagnosis is of utmost importance to prevent the spreading to other areas of the body or to other patients.
What is Secondary Infection?
Secondary infection is an infection that develops in an individual who is already infected with a different pathogen. Generally, secondary infection occurs during or after treatment for another infection. The first treatment or changes in the immune system can be a cause for the secondary infection.
Vaginal yeast infection and pneumonia are two common secondary infections. Vaginal yeast infections occur during or after antibiotic treatment for bacteria. Pneumonia occurs after a viral infection in the upper respiratory tract (secondary pneumonia following influenza infection). Hence, a secondary bacterial infection is a common complication of respiratory viral disease. Generally, secondary infections are responsible for prolonging the first infection, making it more severe. Opportunistic pathogens commonly cause secondary infections. Also, secondary bacterial infections are common after viral infections.
What are the Similarities Between Cross Infection and Secondary Infection
- Cross infection and secondary infection are two types of infections.
- These infections develop due to bacteria, fungi, parasites or viruses.
- Pneumonia and urinary tract infections can happen due to cross infections or secondary infections.
What is the Difference Between Cross Infection and Secondary Infection?
Cross infection is an infection that occurs due to the transfer of harmful microorganisms from one person to another, from medical tools and equipment, from different objects or from one part of the body to another. Secondary infection is an infection that occurs during or after the treatment for an infection from another pathogen. So, this is the key difference between cross infection and secondary infection.
Below infographic tabulates the differences between cross infection and secondary infection.
Summary – Cross Infection vs Secondary Infection
Bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites are the main causative agents of infections. Cross infections occur when harmful microorganism transfer from one person to another, from medical tools and equipment, from different objects and from one part of the body to another. Secondary infections occur during or after treatment for a first infection. Secondary bacterial infections are more common after viral infections. Thus, this summarizes the difference between cross infection and secondary infection.
1. “Cross Infection | Definition And Patient Education”. Healthline, 2020, Available here.
2. Morris, Denise E, et al. “Secondary Bacterial Infections Associated with Influenza Pandemics.” Frontiers in Microbiology, Frontiers Media S.A., 23 June 2017, Available here.
1. “5132443” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “An introduction to dermatology (1905) syphilis (secondary)” By Norman Purvis Walker – Walker, Norman Purvis (1905) An introduction to dermatology (3rd ed.), William Wood and company Retrieved on 26 September 2010., (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia