While a direct relation between hospital construction and concomitant infection rates has been clearly established, few data are available regarding the environmental decontamination effects of renovation in which surfaces are replaced and regarding subsequent infection incidence.
Retrospective clinical study with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) molecular strain typing and environmental cultures.
A regional referral center for acute leukemia and hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation.
Overall, 536 consecutive hospital admissions for newly diagnosed acute leukemia or a first autologous or allogeneic stem-cell transplantation were reviewed.
During 2009–2010, our unit underwent complete remodeling including replacement of all surfaces. We assessed the effects of this construction on the incidence of hospital-acquired VRE colonization before, during, and after the renovation.
We observed a sharp decrease in VRE colonization rates (hazard ratio, <0.23; 95% confidence interval, 0.18–0.44; P<.0001) during the first year after the renovation, with a return to near baseline rates thereafter. The known risk factors for VRE colonization appeared to be stable over the study interval. Environmental cultures outside of patient rooms revealed several contaminated areas that are commonly touched by unit personnel. Multilocus sequence typing of VRE isolates that were cryopreserved over the study interval showed that dominant strains prior to construction disappeared and were replaced by other strains after the renovation.
Unit reconstruction interrupted endemic transmission of VRE, which resumed with novel strains upon reopening. Contamination of environmental surfaces and shared equipment may play an important role in endemic transmission of VRE.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2017;38:1055–1061
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