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Background:Candida auris is an emerging multidrug-resistant yeast that is transmitted in healthcare facilities and is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Environmental contamination is suspected to play an important role in transmission but additional information is needed to inform environmental cleaning recommendations to prevent spread. Methods: We conducted a multiregional (Chicago, IL; Irvine, CA) prospective study of environmental contamination associated with C. auris colonization of patients and residents of 4 long-term care facilities and 1 acute-care hospital. Participants were identified by screening or clinical cultures. Samples were collected from participants’ body sites (eg, nares, axillae, inguinal creases, palms and fingertips, and perianal skin) and their environment before room cleaning. Daily room cleaning and disinfection by facility environmental service workers was followed by targeted cleaning of high-touch surfaces by research staff using hydrogen peroxide wipes (see EPA-approved product for C. auris, List P). Samples were collected immediately after cleaning from high-touch surfaces and repeated at 4-hour intervals up to 12 hours. A pilot phase (n = 12 patients) was conducted to identify the value of testing specific high-touch surfaces to assess environmental contamination. High-yield surfaces were included in the full evaluation phase (n = 20 patients) (Fig. 1). Samples were submitted for semiquantitative culture of C. auris and other multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing Enterobacterales (ESBLs), and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE). Times to room surface contamination with C. auris and other MDROs after effective cleaning were analyzed. Results:Candida auris colonization was most frequently detected in the nares (72%) and palms and fingertips (72%). Cocolonization of body sites with other MDROs was common (Fig. 2). Surfaces located close to the patient were commonly recontaminated with C. auris by 4 hours after cleaning, including the overbed table (24%), bed handrail (24%), and TV remote or call button (19%). Environmental cocontamination was more common with resistant gram-positive organisms (MRSA and, VRE) than resistant gram-negative organisms (Fig. 3). C. auris was rarely detected on surfaces located outside a patient’s room (1 of 120 swabs; <1%). Conclusions: Environmental surfaces near C. auris–colonized patients were rapidly recontaminated after cleaning and disinfection. Cocolonization of skin and environment with other MDROs was common, with resistant gram-positive organisms predominating over gram-negative organisms on environmental surfaces. Limitations include lack of organism sequencing or typing to confirm environmental contamination was from the room resident. Rapid recontamination of environmental surfaces after manual cleaning and disinfection suggests that alternate mitigation strategies should be evaluated.
Background: Contact tracing alone is often inadequate to determine the source of healthcare personnel (HCP) COVID-19 when SARS-CoV-2 is widespread in the community. We combined whole-genome sequencing (WGS) with traditional epidemiologic analysis to investigate the frequency with which patients or other HCP with symptomatic COVID-19 acted as the source of HCP infection at a large tertiary-care center early in the pandemic. Methods: Cohort samples were selected from patients and HCP with PCR-positive SARS-CoV-2 infection from a period with complete retention of samples (March 14, 2021–April 10, 2020) at Rush University Medical Center, a 664-bed hospital in Chicago, Illinois. During this period, testing was limited to symptomatic patients and HCP. Recommended respiratory equipment for HCP evolved under guidance, including a 19-day period when medical face masks were recommended for COVID-19 care except for aerosol-generating procedures. Viral RNA was extracted and sequenced (NovaSeq, Illumina) from remnant nasopharyngeal swab samples in M4RT viral transport medium. Genomes with >90% coverage underwent cluster detection using a 2 single-nucleotide variant genetic distance cutoff. Genomic clusters were independently evaluated for valid epidemiologic links by 2 infectious diseases physicians (with a third adjudicator) using metadata extracted from the electronic medical record and according to predetermined criteria (Table 1). Results: In total, 1,031 SARS-CoV-2 sequences were analyzed, identifying 49 genomic clusters with HCP (median, 8; range, 2–43 members per cluster; total, 268 patients and 115 HCP) (Fig. 1). Also, 20,190 flowsheet activities were documented for cohort HCP and patient interactions, including 686 instances in which a cohort HCP contributed to a cohort patient’s chart. Most HCP infections were considered not healthcare associated (88 of 115, 76.5%). We did not identify any strong linkages for patient-to-HCP transmission. Moreover, 13 HCP cases (11.3%) were attributed to patient source (weak linkage). Also, 14 HCP cases (12.2%) were attributed to HCP source (11 strong and 3 weak linkages). Weak linkages were due to lack of epidemiologic data for HCP location, particularly nonclinical staff (eg, an environmental service worker who lacked location documentation to rule out patient-specific contact). Agreement for epidemiologic linkage between the 2 evaluators was high (κ, 0.91). Conclusions: Using genomic and epidemiologic data, we found that most HCP COVID-19 infections were not healthcare associated. We found weak evidence to support symptomatic patient-to-HCP transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and stronger evidence for HCP-to-HCP transmission. Large genomic clusters without plausible epidemiologic links were identified, reflecting the limited utility of genomic surveillance alone to characterize chains of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during extensive community spread.
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