Contamination (medicine)

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In medicine, contamination (from the Latin contaminare , “to stain”, “to dirty”) is the undesired contamination of surfaces or volumes by pathogens or toxins . A desired colonization by pathogens or other microorganisms, on the other hand, is called inoculation . The contaminating substance is called the contaminant .

The contamination by toxins also includes the contamination by radioactive substances , biological poisons or chemical substances and thus also that of biological and chemical weapons . Microorganism contamination is an important way of transmitting infectious diseases . Mutual contamination of two substances (e.g. from cell cultures or chemicals ) is called cross-contamination . The extent of contamination in invasive procedures is based on the contamination level evaluated.

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