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The dynamics of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) seroconversion of hospital employees are understudied. We measured the proportion of seroconverted employees and evaluated risk factors for seroconversion during the first pandemic wave.
In this prospective cohort study, we recruited Geneva University Hospitals employees and sampled them 3 times, every 3 weeks from March 30 to June 12, 2020. We measured the proportion of seroconverted employees and determined prevalence ratios of risk factors for seroconversion using multivariate mixed-effects Poisson regression models.
Overall, 3,421 participants (29% of all employees) were included, with 92% follow-up. The proportion of seroconverted employees increased from 4.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.7%–5.1%) at baseline to 8.5% [(95% CI, 7.6%–9.5%) at the last visit. The proportions of seroconverted employees working in COVID-19 geriatrics and rehabilitation (G&R) wards (32.3%) and non–COVID-19 G&R wards (12.3%) were higher compared to office workers (4.9%) at the last visit. Only nursing assistants had a significantly higher risk of seroconversion compared to office workers (11.7% vs 4.9%; P = .006). Significant risk factors for seroconversion included the use of public transportation (adjusted prevalence ratio, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.25–2.03), known community exposure to severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (2.80; 95% CI, 2.22–3.54), working in a ward with a nosocomial COVID outbreak (2.93; 95% CI, 2.27–3.79), and working in a COVID-19 G&R ward (3.47; 95% CI, 2.45–4.91) or a non–COVID-19 G&R ward (1.96; 95% CI, 1.46–2.63). We observed an association between reported use of respirators and lower risk of seroconversion (0.73; 95% CI, 0.55–0.96).
Additional preventive measures should be implemented to protect employees in G&R wards. Randomized trials on the protective effect of respirators are urgently needed.
To assess the effect of peer-identified change agents (PICAs) compared to management-selected change agents (MSCAs) on hand hygiene behavior in acute care.
Two internal medicine wards of a public, university-affiliated, tertiary-care hospital in Malaysia.
We randomly allocated 2 wards to hand hygiene promotion delivered either by PICAs (study arm 1) or by MSCAs (study arm 2). The primary outcome was hand hygiene compliance using direct observation by validated auditors. Secondary outcomes were hand hygiene knowledge and observations from ward tours.
Mean hand hygiene compliance in study arm 1 and study arm 2 improved from 48% (95% confidence interval [CI], 44%–53%) and 50% (95% CI, 44%–55%) in the preintervention period to 66% (63%–69%) and 65% (60%–69%) in the intervention period, respectively. We detected no statistically significant difference in hand hygiene improvement between the 2 study arms. Knowledge scores on hand hygiene in study arm 1 and study arm 2 improved from 60% and 63% to 98% and 93%, respectively. Staff in study arm 1 improved hand hygiene because they did not want to disappoint the efforts taken by the PICAs. Staff in study arm 2 felt pressured by the MSCAs to comply with hand hygiene to obtain good overall performance appraisals.
Although the attitude of PICAs and MSCAs in terms of leadership, mode of action and perception of their task by staff were very different, or even opposed, both PICAs and MSCAs effectively changed behavior of staff toward improved hand hygiene to comparable levels.
To assess the prevalence of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in mainland China.
Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Adults and children from secondary and tertiary acute-care hospitals in mainland China.
We searched PubMed, the China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and Wan Fang for multicenter point-prevalence surveys of acute-care hospitals in mainland China from January 2006 to August 2016. All reports related to HAI, using a point-prevalence methodology and published either in English or Chinese were eligible.
In total, 3,021 publications were identified; 115 were eligible for quality assessment and data abstraction. The weighted HAI prevalence (95% confidence interval [CI]) overall, in general hospitals, children’s hospitals, maternal and child health hospitals, and oncology hospitals were 3.12% (95% CI, 2.94%–3.29%), 3.02% (95% CI, 2.79%–3.26%), 4.43% (95% CI, 3.39%–5.47%), 1.88% (95% CI, 1.47%–2.29%), and 3.96% (95% CI, 3.12%–4.79%), respectively. In general hospitals, prevalence was highest in adult intensive care units (26.07%; 95% CI, 23.03%–29.12%), followed by surgery (3.26%; 95% CI, 2.96%–3.57%), and internal medicine (3.06%; 95% CI, 2.67%–3.46%). Overall, lower respiratory tract infection was the most frequent HAI (24,185, 47.28%), followed by urinary tract infection (5,773, 11.29%) and upper respiratory tract infection (5,194, 10.15%). Gram-negative bacilli were the most frequently isolated pathogens, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (3,395, 14.91%), and Escherichia coli (2,918, 12.82%) were the most common single microorganisms.
This study is the largest systematic review on the prevalence of HAI in mainland China. These results provide a benchmark for future PPSs and a reference for infection prevention and control strategies in mainland China.
We evaluated whether hand wiping is noninferior to hand rubbing in reducing the bacterial concentration on hands. In 20 healthy volunteers, hand wiping with or without an alcohol-based solution was inferior to hand rubbing with an alcohol-based solution. This finding warrants a note of caution for the application of wipes in health care.
For alcohol-based hand rubs, the currently recommended application time of 30 seconds is longer than the actual time spent in clinical practice. We investigated whether a shorter application time of 15 seconds is microbiologically safe in neonatal intensive care and may positively influence compliance with the frequency of hand antisepsis actions.
We conducted in vitro experiments to determine the antimicrobial efficacy of hand rubs within 15 seconds, followed by clinical observations to assess the effect of a shortened hand antisepsis procedure under clinical conditions in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). An independent observer monitored the frequency of hand antisepsis actions during shifts.
All tested hand rubs fulfilled the requirement of equal or even significantly higher efficacy within 15 seconds when compared to a reference alcohol propan-2-ol 60% (v/v) within 30 seconds. Microbiologically, reducing the application time to 15 seconds had a similar effect when compared to 30-second hand rubbing, but it resulted in significantly increased frequency of hand antisepsis actions (7.9±4.3 per hour vs 5.8±2.9 per hour; P=.05).
Time pressure and workload are recognized barriers to compliance. Therefore, reducing the recommended time for hand antisepsis actions, using tested and well-evaluated hand rub formulations, may improve hand hygiene compliance in clinical practice.
To assess hand hygiene improvement and sustainability associated with a Breakthrough Collaborative.
Multicenter analysis of hand hygiene compliance through direct observation by trained observers.
A total of 5 publicly funded hospitals in 14 locations, with a total of 1,152 beds, in the County of Vaud, Switzerland.
In total, 59,272 opportunities for hand hygiene were monitored for the duration of the study, for an average of 5,921 per audit (range, 5,449–6,852). An 18-month Hand Hygiene Breakthrough Collaborative was conducted to implement the WHO multimodal promotional strategy including improved access to alcohol-based hand rub, education, performance measurement and feedback, reminders and communication, leadership engagement, and safety culture.
Overall hand hygiene compliance improved from 61.9% to 88.3% (P<.001) over 18 months and was sustained at 88.9% (P=.248) 12 months after the intervention. Hand hygiene compliance among physicians increased from 62% to 85% (P<.001) and finally 86% at follow-up (P=.492); for nursing staff, compliance improved from 64% to 90% (P<.001) and finally 90% at follow-up (P=.464); for physiotherapists compliance improved from 50% to 90% (P<.001) and finally 91% at follow-up (P=.619); for X-ray technicians compliance improved from 45% to 80% (P<.001) and finally 81% at follow-up (P=.686). Hand hygiene compliance also significantly increased with sustained improvement across all hand hygiene indications and all hospitals.
A rigorously conducted multicenter project combining the Breakthrough Collaborative method for its structure and the WHO multimodal strategy for content and measurement was associated with significant and substantial improvement in compliance across all professions, all hand hygiene indications, and all participating hospitals.
This systematic literature review reveals that participating in a surgical site infection (SSI) surveillance network is associated with short-term reductions in SSI rates: relative risk [RR] for year 2, 0.80 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79–0.82); year 3 RR, 0.92 (95% CI, 0.90–0.94); year 4 RR, 0.98 (95% CI, 0.96–1.00).
Hand hygiene is the core element of infection prevention and control. The optimal hand-hygiene gesture, however, remains poorly defined.
We aimed to evaluate the influence of hand-rubbing duration on the reduction of bacterial counts on the hands of healthcare personnel (HCP).
We performed an experimental study based on the European Norm 1500. Hand rubbing was performed for 10, 15, 20, 30, 45, or 60 seconds, according to the WHO technique using 3 mL alcohol-based hand rub. Hand contamination with E. coli ATCC 10536 was followed by hand rubbing and sampling. A generalized linear mixed model with a random effect on the subject adjusted for hand size and gender was used to analyze the reduction in bacterial counts after each hand-rubbing action. In addition, hand-rubbing durations of 15 and 30 seconds were compared to assert non-inferiority (0.6 log10).
In total, 32 HCP performed 123 trials. All durations of hand rubbing led to significant reductions in bacterial counts (P<.001). Reductions achieved after 10, 15, or 20 seconds of hand rubbing were not significantly different from those obtained after 30 seconds. The mean bacterial reduction after 15 seconds of hand rubbing was 0.11 log10 lower (95% CI, −0.46 to 0.24) than after 30 seconds, demonstrating non-inferiority.
Hand rubbing for 15 seconds was not inferior to 30 seconds in reducing bacterial counts on hands under the described experimental conditions. There was no gain in reducing bacterial counts from hand rubbing longer than 30 seconds. Further studies are needed to assess the clinical significance of our findings.
Although the hands of healthcare workers (HCWs) are implicated in most episodes of healthcare-associated infections, the correlation between hand contamination and the likelihood of cross-transmission remains unknown.
We conducted a laboratory-based study involving pairs of HCWs. The hands of a HCW (transmitter) were contaminated with Escherichia coli ATCC 10536 before holding hands with another HCW (host) for 1 minute. Meanwhile, the unheld hand of the transmitter was sampled. Afterward, the host’s held hand was also sampled. Each experiment consisted of 4 trials with increasing concentrations of E. coli (103–106 colony-forming units [cfu]/mL). The primary outcome was the likelihood of transmission of at least 1 cfu from transmitter to host. We used a mixed logistic regression model with a random effect on the subject to assess the association between transmission and bacterial count on the transmitter’s hands.
In total, 6 HCWs performed 30 experiments and 120 trials. The bacterial counts recovered from host hands were directly associated with the bacterial counts on transmitter hands (P<.001). The probability of cross-transmission was 8.22 higher (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98–68.8) when transmitter hand bacterial count was >1 and ≤3 log10 cfu compared to ≤1 log10. When transmitter contamination was <1 log10 cfu, no cross-transmission was detected.
There is a direct relationship between the bacterial burden on HCWs hands and the likelihood of cross-transmission. Under the described conditions, at least 1 log10 cfu must be present on HCW hands to be potentially transmitted. Further studies are needed at the low contamination range.
Hands are implicated in the cross transmission of microbial pathogens and fingertips are the crux of the problem. A modified World Health Organization “How to Handrub” 6-step technique with “Fingertips First” showed greater efficacy than the standard technique in reducing fingertip contamination, potentially improving hand hygiene action quality.
The degree of bacterial contamination of stethoscopes can vary significantly following a physical examination.
To conduct a prospective study to investigate the impact of various environmental and patient characteristics on stethoscope contamination.
Following a standardized examination, the levels of bacterial contamination of 4 regions of the physicians’ hands and 2 sections of the stethoscopes, and the presence of different pathogenic bacteria, were assessed. Predictors of heavy stethoscope contamination were identified through multivariate logistic regression.
In total, 392 surfaces were sampled following examination of 56 patients. The microorganisms most frequently recovered from hands and stethoscopes were Enterococcus spp. (29% and 20%, respectively) and Enterobacteriaceae (16% and 7%, respectively). Staphylococcus aureus (either methicillin susceptible or resistant), extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing Enterobacteriaceae, and Acinetobacter baumannii were recovered from 4%-9% of the samples from either hands or stethoscopes. There was a correlation between the likelihood of recovering these pathogens from the stethoscopes vs from the physicians’ hands (ρ=0.79; P=.04). The level of patient’s skin contamination was an independent predictor of contamination of the stethoscope diaphragm (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.001; P=.007) and tube (aOR, 1.001; P=.003). Male sex (aOR, 28.24; P=.01) and reception of a bed bath (aOR, 7.52; P=.048) were also independently associated with heavy tube contamination.
Stethoscope contamination following a single physical examination is not negligible and is associated with the level of contamination of the patient’s skin. Prevention of pathogen dissemination is needed.