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This article emerged as the human species collectively have been experiencing the worst global pandemic in a century. With a long view of the ecological, economic, social, and political factors that promote the emergence and spread of infectious disease, archaeologists are well positioned to examine the antecedents of the present crisis. In this article, we bring together a variety of perspectives on the issues surrounding the emergence, spread, and effects of disease in both the Americas and Afro-Eurasian contexts. Recognizing that human populations most severely impacted by COVID-19 are typically descendants of marginalized groups, we investigate pre- and postcontact disease vectors among Indigenous and Black communities in North America, outlining the systemic impacts of diseases and the conditions that exacerbate their spread. We look at how material culture both reflects and changes as a result of social transformations brought about by disease, the insights that paleopathology provides about the ancient human condition, and the impacts of ancient globalization on the spread of disease worldwide. By understanding the differential effects of past epidemics on diverse communities and contributing to more equitable sociopolitical agendas, archaeology can play a key role in helping to pursue a more just future.
Evaluation of a mandatory immunization program to increase and sustain high immunization coverage for healthcare personnel (HCP).
Descriptive study with before-and-after analysis.
Tertiary-care academic medical center.
Medical center HCP.
A comprehensive mandatory immunization initiative was implemented in 2 phases, starting in July 2014. Key facets of the initiative included a formalized exemption review process, incorporation into institutional quality goals, data feedback, and accountability to support compliance.
Both immunization and overall compliance rates with targeted immunizations increased significantly in the years after the implementation period. The influenza immunization rate increased from 80% the year prior to the initiative to >97% for the 3 subsequent influenza seasons (P < .0001). Mumps, measles and varicella vaccination compliance increased from 94% in January 2014 to >99% by January 2017, rubella vaccination compliance increased from 93% to 99.5%, and hepatitis B vaccination compliance from 95% to 99% (P < .0001 for all comparisons). An associated positive effect on TB testing compliance, which was not included in the mandatory program, was also noted; it increased from 76% to 92% over the same period (P < .0001).
Thoughtful, step-wise implementation of a mandatory immunization program linked to professional accountability can be successful in increasing immunization rates as well as overall compliance with policy requirements to cover all recommended HCP immunizations.
To test the feasibility of targeted gown and glove use by healthcare personnel caring for high-risk nursing-home residents to prevent Staphylococcus aureus acquisition in short-stay residents.
Uncontrolled clinical trial.
This study was conducted in 2 community-based nursing homes in Maryland.
The study included 322 residents on mixed short- and long-stay units.
During a 2-month baseline period, all residents had nose and inguinal fold swabs taken to estimate S. aureus acquisition. The intervention was iteratively developed using a participatory human factors engineering approach. During a 2-month intervention period, healthcare personnel wore gowns and gloves for high-risk care activities while caring for residents with wounds or medical devices, and S. aureus acquisition was measured again. Whole-genome sequencing was used to assess whether the acquisition represented resident-to-resident transmission.
Among short-stay residents, the methicillin-resistant S. aureus acquisition rate decreased from 11.9% during the baseline period to 3.6% during the intervention period (odds ratio [OR], 0.28; 95% CI, 0.08–0.92; P = .026). The methicillin-susceptible S. aureus acquisition rate went from 9.1% during the baseline period to 4.0% during the intervention period (OR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.12–1.42; P = .15). The S. aureus resident-to-resident transmission rate decreased from 5.9% during the baseline period to 0.8% during the intervention period.
Targeted gown and glove use by healthcare personnel for high-risk care activities while caring for residents with wounds or medical devices, regardless of their S. aureus colonization status, is feasible and potentially decreases S. aureus acquisition and transmission in short-stay community-based nursing-home residents.
Infection prevention and control (IPC) workflows are often retrospective and manual. New tools, however, have entered the field to facilitate rapid prospective monitoring of infections in hospitals. Although artificial intelligence (AI)–enabled platforms facilitate timely, on-demand integration of clinical data feeds with pathogen whole-genome sequencing (WGS), a standardized workflow to fully harness the power of such tools is lacking. We report a novel, evidence-based workflow that promotes quicker infection surveillance via AI-assisted clinical and WGS data analysis. The algorithm suggests clusters based on a combination of similar minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) data, timing of sample collection, and shared location stays between patients. It helps to proactively guide IPC professionals during investigation of infectious outbreaks and surveillance of multidrug-resistant organisms and healthcare-acquired infections. Methods: Our team established a 1-year workgroup comprised of IPC practitioners, clinical experts, and scientists in the field. We held weekly roundtables to study lessons learned in an ongoing surveillance effort at a tertiary care hospital—utilizing Philips IntelliSpace Epidemiology (ISEpi), an AI-powered system—to understand how such a tool can enhance practice. Based on real-time case discussions and evidence from the literature, a workflow guidance tool and checklist were codified. Results: In our workflow, data-informed clusters posed by ISEpi underwent triage and expert follow-up analysis to assess: (1) likelihood of transmission(s); (2) potential vector(s) identity; (3) need to request WGS; and (4) intervention(s) to be pursued, if warranted. In a representative sample (spanning October 17, 2019, to November 7, 2019) of 67 total isolates suggested for inclusion in 19 unique cluster investigations, we determined that 9 investigations merited follow-up. Collectively, these 9 investigations involved 21 patients and required 115 minutes to review in ISEpi and an additional 70 minutes of review outside of ISEpi. After review, 6 investigations were deemed unlikely to represent a transmission; the other 3 had potential to represent transmission for which interventions would be performed. Conclusions: This study offers an important framework for adaptation of existing infection control workflow strategies to leverage the utility of rapidly integrated clinical and WGS data. This workflow can also facilitate time-sensitive decisions regarding sequencing of specific pathogens given the preponderance of available clinical data supporting investigations. In this regard, our work sets a new standard of practice: precision infection prevention (PIP). Ongoing effort is aimed at development of AI-powered capabilities for enterprise-level quality and safety improvement initiatives.
Funding: Philips Healthcare provided support for this study.
Disclosures: Alan Doty and Juan Jose Carmona report salary from Philips Healthcare.
Background: Shared Healthcare Intervention to Eliminate Life-threatening Dissemination of MDROs in Orange County, California (SHIELD OC) was a CDC-funded regional decolonization intervention from April 2017 through July 2019 involving 38 hospitals, nursing homes (NHs), and long-term acute-care hospitals (LTACHs) to reduce MDROs. Decolonization in NH and LTACHs consisted of universal antiseptic bathing with chlorhexidine (CHG) for routine bathing and showering plus nasal iodophor decolonization (Monday through Friday, twice daily every other week). Hospitals used universal CHG in ICUs and provided daily CHG and nasal iodophor to patients in contact precautions. We sought to evaluate whether decolonization reduced hospitalization and associated healthcare costs due to infections among residents of NHs participating in SHIELD compared to nonparticipating NHs. Methods: Medicaid insurer data covering NH residents in Orange County were used to calculate hospitalization rates due to a primary diagnosis of infection (counts per member quarter), hospital bed days/member-quarter, and expenditures/member quarter from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the second quarter of 2019. We used a time-series design and a segmented regression analysis to evaluate changes attributable to the SHIELD OC intervention among participating and nonparticipating NHs. Results: Across the SHIELD OC intervention period, intervention NHs experienced a 44% decrease in hospitalization rates, a 43% decrease in hospital bed days, and a 53% decrease in Medicaid expenditures when comparing the last quarter of the intervention to the baseline period (Fig. 1). These data translated to a significant downward slope, with a reduction of 4% per quarter in hospital admissions due to infection (P < .001), a reduction of 7% per quarter in hospitalization days due to infection (P < .001), and a reduction of 9% per quarter in Medicaid expenditures (P = .019) per NH resident. Conclusions: The universal CHG bathing and nasal decolonization intervention adopted by NHs in the SHIELD OC collaborative resulted in large, meaningful reductions in hospitalization events, hospitalization days, and healthcare expenditures among Medicaid-insured NH residents. The findings led CalOptima, the Medicaid provider in Orange County, California, to launch an NH incentive program that provides dedicated training and covers the cost of CHG and nasal iodophor for OC NHs that enroll.
Disclosures: Gabrielle M. Gussin, University of California, Irvine, Stryker (Sage Products): Conducting studies in which contributed antiseptic product is provided to participating hospitals and nursing homes. Clorox: Conducting studies in which contributed antiseptic product is provided to participating hospitals and nursing homes. Medline: Conducting studies in which contributed antiseptic product is provided to participating hospitals and nursing homes. Xttrium: Conducting studies in which contributed antiseptic product is provided to participating hospitals and nursing homes.
Background: Infection prevention surveillance for cross transmission is often performed by manual review of microbiologic culture results to identify geotemporally related clusters. However, the sensitivity and specificity of this approach remains uncertain. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis can help provide a gold-standard for identifying cross-transmission events. Objective: We employed a published WGS program, the Philips IntelliSpace Epidemiology platform, to compare accuracy of two surveillance methods: (i.) a virtual infection practitioner (VIP) with perfect recall and automated analysis of antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST), sample collection timing, and patient location data and (ii) a novel clinical matching (CM) algorithm that provides cluster suggestions based on a nuanced weighted analysis of AST data, timing of sample collection, and shared location stays between patients. Methods: WGS was performed routinely on inpatient and emergency department isolates of Enterobacter cloacae, Enterococcus faecium, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa at an academic medical center. Single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) were compared within core genome regions on a per-species basis to determine cross-transmission clusters. Moreover, one unique strain per patient was included within each analysis, and duplicates were excluded from the final results. Results: Between May 2018 and April 2019, clinical data from 121 patients were paired with WGS data from 28 E. cloacae, 21 E. faecium, 61 K. pneumoniae, and 46 P. aeruginosa isolates. Previously published SNV relatedness thresholds were applied to define genomically related isolates. Mapping of genomic relatedness defined clusters as follows: 4 patients in 2 E. faecium clusters and 2 patients in 1 P. aeruginosa cluster. The VIP method identified 12 potential clusters involving 28 patients, all of which were “pseudoclusters.” Importantly, the CM method identified 7 clusters consisting of 27 patients, which included 1 true E. faecium cluster of 2 patients with genomically related isolates. Conclusions: In light of the WGS data, all of the potential clusters identified by the VIP were pseudoclusters, lacking sufficient genomic relatedness. In contrast, the CM method showed increased sensitivity and specificity: it decreased the percentage of pseudoclusters by 14% and it identified a related genomic cluster of E. faecium. These findings suggest that integrating clinical data analytics and WGS is likely to benefit institutions in limiting expenditure of resources on pseudoclusters. Therefore, WGS combined with more sophisticated surveillance approaches, over standard methods as modeled by the VIP, are needed to better identify and address true cross-transmission events.
Funding: This study was supported by Philips Healthcare.