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In a culture survey, we found that 42% of hospital privacy curtains were contaminated with vancomycin-resistant enterococci, 22% with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and 4% with Clostridium difficile. Hand imprint cultures demonstrated that these pathogens were easily acquired on hands. Hospital curtains are a potential source for dissemination of healthcare-associated pathogens.
Hospital-acquired Legionella pneumonia has a fatality rate of 28%, and the source is the water distribution system. Two prevention strategies have been advocated. One approach to prevention is clinical surveillance for disease without routine environmental monitoring. Another approach recommends environmental monitoring even in the absence of known cases of Legionella pneumonia. We determined the Legionella colonization status of water systems in hospitals to establish whether the results of environmental surveillance correlated with discovery of disease. None of these hospitals had previously experienced endemic hospital-acquired Legionella pneumonia.
Twenty US hospitals in 13 states.
Hospitals performed clinical and environmental surveillance for Legionella from 2000 through 2002. All specimens were shipped to the Special Pathogens Laboratory at the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Legionella pneumophila and Legionella anisa were isolated from 14 (70%) of 20 hospital water systems. Of 676 environmental samples, 198 (29%) were positive for Legionella species. High-level colonization of the water system (30% or more of the distal outlets were positive for L. pneumophila) was demonstrated for 6 (43%) of the 14 hospitals with positive findings. L. pneumophila serogroup 1 was detected in 5 of these 6 hospitals, whereas 1 hospital was colonized with L. pneumophila serogroup 5. A total of 633 patients were evaluated for Legionella pneumonia from 12 (60%) of the 20 hospitals: 377 by urinary antigen testing and 577 by sputum culture. Hospital-acquired Legionella pneumonia was identified in 4 hospitals, all of which were hospitals with L. pneumophila serogroup 1 found in 30% or more of the distal outlets. No cases of disease due to other serogroups or species (L. anisa) were identified.
Environmental monitoring followed by clinical surveillance was successful in uncovering previously unrecognized cases of hospital-acquired Legionella pneumonia.
We examined the frequency of acquisition of bacterial pathogens on investigators' hands after contacting environmental surfaces near hospitalized patients. Hand imprint cultures were positive for one or more pathogens after contacting surfaces near 34 (53%) of 64 study patients, with Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus being the most common isolates.
Antianaerobic antibiotic therapy promotes persistent high-density growth of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in the stool of colonized patients. We tested the hypothesis that antibiotic regimens with potent antianaerobic activity promote overgrowth of coexisting antibiotic-resistant, gram-negative bacilli in the stool of VRE-colonized patients.
Eight-month prospective study examining the effect of antibiotic therapy on the stool density of gram-negative bacilli resistant to ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, or piperacillin/tazobactam.
A Department of Veterans Affairs medical center including an acute care hospital and nursing home.
All VRE-colonized patients with at least 3 stool samples available for analysis.
One-hundred forty stool samples were obtained from 37 study patients. Forty-nine (61%) of 80 stool samples obtained during therapy with an antianaerobic regimen were positive for an antibiotic-resistant, gram-negative bacillus, whereas only 14 (23%) of 60 samples obtained 4 or more weeks after completion of such therapy were positive (P < .001). Twenty-four (65%) of the 37 patients had one or more stool cultures positive for a gram-negative bacillus resistant to ciprofloxacin, ceftazidime, or piperacillin/tazobactam. The density of these organisms was higher during therapy with antianaerobic regimens than in the absence of such therapy for at least 2 weeks (mean ± standard deviation, 5.6 ± 1.4 and 3.9 ± 0.71 log10 organisms/g; P < .001).
Limiting the use of antianaerobic antibiotics in VRE-colonized patients may reduce the density of colonization with coexisting antibiotic-resistant, gram-negative bacilli.
We examined the point prevalence of undetected vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) stool colonization in an institution that screens stool samples submitted for Clostridium difficile testing. Of 112 patients not known to be colonized, 10 (9%) had rectal VRE colonization. A prospective algorithm was effective for identification of colonized patients.
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