EIC guideline 20th anniversary

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the CDC/HICPAC Environmental Infection Control guideline


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Coming this summer is a series of videos with experts who contributed to and reviewed this time-tested guideline!

Explore how the guideline was created and discover the inside stories and memories from those who were instrumental in defining environmental hygiene for infection prevention and control.


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The Guideline That Changed Everything We Knew About Environmental Hygiene

The Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities was released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/HICPAC in 2003.

This document is a compilation of recommendations for the prevention and control of infectious diseases that are associated with healthcare environments.

The section called Recommendations for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities outlines environmental infection control in healthcare facilities, describing measures for preventing infections associated with air, water, and other elements of the environment. These recommendations represent the views of different divisions within CDC’s National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) (the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion [DHQP] and the Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases [DBMD]) and the consensus of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), a 12-member group that advises the  CDC on concerns related to the surveillance, prevention, and control of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), primarily in U.S. healthcare facilities.

The EIC guideline made many key recommendations, including:

Key recommendations include:

Infection control impact of ventilation system and water system performance;

Establishment of a multidisciplinary team to conduct infection-control risk assessment;

Use of dust-control procedures and barriers during construction, repair, renovation, or demolition;

Environmental infection-control measures for special care areas with patients at high risk;

Use of airborne particle sampling to monitor the effectiveness of air filtration and dust-control measures;

Procedures to prevent airborne contamination in operating rooms when infectious tuberculosis [TB] patients require surgery

Guidance regarding appropriate indications for routine culturing of water as part of a comprehensive control program for legionellae;

Guidance for recovering from water system disruptions, water leaks, and natural disasters [e.g., flooding];

Infection control concepts for equipment that uses water from main lines [e.g., water systems for hemodialysis, ice machines, hydrotherapy equipment, dental unit water lines, and automated endoscope reprocessors]);

Environmental surface cleaning and disinfection strategies with respect to antibiotic-resistant microorganisms;

Infection control procedures for healthcare laundry;

Use of animals in healthcare for activities and therapy;

Managing the presence of service animals in healthcare facilities;

Infection control strategies for when animals receive treatment in human healthcare facilities; and

A call to reinstate the practice of inactivating amplified cultures and stocks of microorganisms on-site during medical waste treatment.

From the Archives: EIC Guideline Covers From 2003

At right is the cover of the MMWR edition of the 2003 Environmental Infection Control guideline, which was abridged for the sake of space.

At left is the cover of the full-text version of the 2003 EIC guideline.

CDC HICPAC EIC Guideline Full Text Cover

The Creation of the EIC Guideline: A Quick History

EIC timeline