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In the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center, patients colonized or infected with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) are placed in contact isolation until they are deemed “decolonized,” defined as having 3 consecutive perirectal swabs negative for VRE. Some decolonized patients later develop recurrent growth of VRE from surveillance or clinical cultures (ie, “recolonized”), although that finding may represent recrudescence or new acquisition of VRE. We describe the dynamics of VRE colonization and infection and their relationship to receipt of antibiotics.
In this retrospective cohort study of patients at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, baseline characteristics were collected via chart review. Antibiotic exposure and hospital days were calculated as proportions of VRE decolonized days. Using survival analysis, we assessed the relationship between antibiotic exposure and time to VRE recolonization in a subcohort analysis of 72 decolonized patients.
In total, 350 patients were either colonized or infected with VRE. Among polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive, culture (Cx)-negative (PCR+/Cx−) patients, PCR had a 39% positive predictive value for colonization. Colonization with VRE was significantly associated with VRE infection. Among 72 patients who met decolonization criteria, 21 (29%) subsequently became recolonized. VRE recolonization was 4.3 (P = .001) and 2.0 (P = .22) times higher in patients with proportions of antibiotic days and antianaerobic antibiotic days above the median, respectively.
Colonization is associated with clinical VRE infection and increased mortality. Despite negative perirectal cultures, re-exposure to antibiotics increases the risk of VRE recolonization.
Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MDRAB) is difficult to treat and eradicate. Several reports describe isolation and environmental cleaning strategies that controlled hospital MDRAB outbreaks. Such interventions were insufficient to interrupt MDRAB transmission in 2 intensive care unit-based outbreaks in our hospital. We describe strategies that were associated with termination of MDRAB outbreaks at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.
In response to MDRAB outbreaks in 2007 and 2009, we implemented multiple interventions, including stakeholder meetings, enhanced isolation precautions, active microbial surveillance, cohorting, and extensive environmental cleaning. We conducted a case-control study to analyze risk factors for acquiring MDRAB. In each outbreak, infection control adherence monitors were placed in MDRAB cohort areas to observe and correct staff infection control behavior.
Between May 2007 and December 2009, 63 patients acquired nosocomial MDRAB; 57 (90%) acquired 1 or more of 4 outbreak strains. Of 347 environmental cultures, only 2 grew outbreak strains of MDRAB from areas other than MDRAB patient rooms. Adherence monitors recorded 1,330 isolation room entries in 2007, of which 8% required interventions. In 2009, around-the-clock monitors recorded 4,892 staff observations, including 127 (2.6%) instances of nonadherence with precautions, requiring 68 interventions (1.4%). Physicians were responsible for more violations than other staff (58% of hand hygiene violations and 37% of violations relating to gown and glove use). Each outbreak terminated in temporal association with initiation of adherence monitoring.
Although labor intensive, adherence monitoring may be useful as part of a multifaceted strategy to limit nosocomial transmission of MDRAB.
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