|UNHCR Guidelines on Selecting and Using Disinfectants (WHO - OMS, 1997, 45 p.)|
As certain terms relating to disinfectants have variable or imprecise meanings, the following definitions will be adopted in this Handbook:
Disinfection: The elimination or destruction of a large part of the undesirable micro-organisms(1)(1) borne by a material or other object.
Thorough disinfection: The elimination or destruction of all micro-organisms except the most resistant i.e. bacterial spores.
Decontamination: Disinfecting of items soiled by infectious matter (pus, blood, excrement, etc.).
Disinfectant: A product for disinfection.
Antiseptics: A disinfectant that can be applied to living tissue (skin, wounds, mucosa) without causing harm.
Sterilisation: The elimination or destruction of all micro-organisms carried by any material or object.
Asepsis: Prevention of contamination by micro-organisms.