The Internet can be an invaluable resource for infection control research, education, tools, methods, and regulations.
This article contains Web sites that can provide information on a variety of disease-prevention topics. These points of view are offered by both professional organizations and governmental agencies. Some of the sites also have links to additional sites related to infection control and disease prevention research.
- Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures (OSAP): www.OSAP.org. OSAP is the premier dental infection control educational organization in the world. One person in every dental office should become a member of this organization so that the office can receive monthly information and updates on dental infection control, regulations, and timely issues.
- Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC): www.apic.org. APIC is the hospital/medical counterpart of OSAP.
- American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA): www.adha.org. This organization provides a broad array of topics of interest to dental hygienists.
- American Dental Association (ADA): www.ada.org. The ADA has several statements on infection control that provide important information for the dental office. These topics include dental unit water lines, saliva ejectors, backflow prevention, as well as the infection control recommendations found at: ada.org/prof/prac/issues/statements/index.html.
- American Public Health Association (APHA): www.apha.org. The APHA is the oldest and largest organization for public health officials in the world.
- Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI): www.aami.org. AAMI develops standards and recommended practices related to products such as sterilizers and spore tests and to procedures such as sterilization and decontamination.
- Immunization Action Coalition (IAC): www.immunize.org. This is a not-for-profit professional organization working to increase immunization rates and prevent disease. The site features vaccine information statements.
- Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA): www.idsociety.org. The IDSA provides information about infectious diseases including vaccines.
- World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int. The WHO provides information on infectious diseases, non-infectious diseases and other health-related topics.
- Pan American Health Organization: www.paho.org. This site offers health-related information.
- Medscape: www.medscape.com. This site provides free access to a variety of health-related topics.
Health-related governmental agencies
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov. The CDC is the premier scientific agency related to the cause, spread, and prevention of diseases. It makes recommendations that many regulating bodies and other organizations use to form laws or guidelines. The CDC publishes its information and guidelines in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR), which is available online at: www2.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwr.html. Another CDC site is the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB at: www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/nchstp.html.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): www.osha.gov. OSHA is a division of the United States Department of Labor and is charged with protecting the workers of America. For the complete text of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard see: www.osha-slc.gov/OshStd_data/1910_1030.html. For the complete text of the Hazard Communication Standard see: www.osha-slc.gov/OshStd_data/1910_1200.html.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA): www.fda.gov. The FDA regulates the manufacturing of medical devices (for example, sterilizers, masks, patient care gloves, liquid sterilants, dental unit water line devices), foods, drugs, biologics (for example, vaccines), cosmetics, animal feed and drugs, and radiation-emitting devices (for example, cell-phones, lasers). This agency assures the safety and effectiveness of these items by requiring the manufacturers to provide scientific data on the efficacy and safety of the products. It also assures that the labels on the products are appropriate.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): www.epa.gov. The EPA controls waste management and registers disinfectants. For example, lists of registered sterilants and disinfectants can be found at: www.epa.gov/oppad001/chemregindex.htm.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH): www.nih.gov. The NIH site provides general information on health-related topics and current advances in health research.
Chris Miller, PhD, is professor of oral microbiology and executive associate dean at the Indiana University School of Dentistry.