Chapter 5: Preventing infection
How germs get into the body
Germs can get inside the body in different ways.
Some germs pass through semen or vaginal mucus
(body fluids) when people have sex. HIV and other
sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and
gonorrhea can spread this way.
Some germs pass through blood when the blood or body
fluid of an infected person get into a cut or through the
skin — like with a needle that has been used for piercing
or injections. HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C can spread
Some germs live in dirty water and pass when people
drink it. Cholera and diarrheal diseases spread this way.
Some germs live in dirt, on skin, or in the air, and are not
dangerous unless they get into a person’s blood. These germs
can get into the blood when an instrument that has germs
on it is used inside a woman’s womb, or to cut the skin or a
baby’s cord. Tetanus and womb infection can spread this way.
Some germs pass through the air when a sick person
coughs or sneezes. Colds, flu, and tuberculosis can
spread this way.
Keep sick people away from births
One simple thing midwives can do to prevent
infection is to keep sick people away from women
who are pregnant or giving birth. Keep
anyone who has a sore throat, cough, fever, or
other illness that passes through germs away
from births. And do not let anyone with a sore
on his or her hands or face touch a new baby.
A Book for Midwives (2010)
Oh dear! Juana is
in labor and I
have a fever!
I will have to