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Cohorting patients who are colonized or infected with multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) protects uncolonized patients from acquiring MDROs in healthcare settings. The potential for cross transmission within the cohort and the possibility of colonized patients acquiring secondary isolates with additional antibiotic resistance traits is often neglected. We searched for evidence of cross transmission of KPC+ Klebsiella pneumoniae (KPC-Kp) colonization among cohorted patients in a long-term acute-care hospital (LTACH), and we evaluated the impact of secondary acquisitions on resistance potential.
Genomic epidemiological investigation.
A high-prevalence LTACH during a bundled intervention that included cohorting KPC-Kp–positive patients.
Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and location data were analyzed to identify potential cases of cross transmission between cohorted patients.
Secondary KPC-Kp isolates from 19 of 28 admission-positive patients were more closely related to another patient’s isolate than to their own admission isolate. Of these 19 cases, 14 showed strong genomic evidence for cross transmission (<10 single nucleotide variants or SNVs), and most of these patients occupied shared cohort floors (12 patients) or rooms (4 patients) at the same time. Of the 14 patients with strong genomic evidence of acquisition, 12 acquired antibiotic resistance genes not found in their primary isolates.
Acquisition of secondary KPC-Kp isolates carrying distinct antibiotic resistance genes was detected in nearly half of cohorted patients. These results highlight the importance of healthcare provider adherence to infection prevention protocols within cohort locations, and they indicate the need for future studies to assess whether multiple-strain acquisition increases risk of adverse patient outcomes.
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.
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