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In March 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Pennsylvania Department of Health initiated an investigation of an outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) infections. Sixty infections were identified in California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine, Nevada and Ohio. The infections were linked to a no-rinse cleansing foam product (NRCFP), produced by Manufacturer A, used for skin care of patients in healthcare settings. FDA inspected Manufacturer A's production facility (manufacturing site of over-the-counter drugs and cosmetics), reviewed production records and collected product and environmental samples for analysis. FDA's inspection found poor manufacturing practices. Analysis by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis confirmed a match between NRCFP samples and clinical isolates. Manufacturer A conducted extensive recalls, FDA issued a warning letter citing the manufacturer's inadequate manufacturing practices, and federal, state and local partners issued public communications to advise patients, pharmacies, other healthcare providers and healthcare facilities to stop using the recalled NRCFP. This investigation highlighted the importance of following appropriate manufacturing practices to minimize microbial contamination of cosmetic products, especially if intended for use in healthcare settings.
In 2015, an international outbreak of Mycobacterium chimaera infections among patients undergoing cardiothoracic surgeries was associated with exposure to contaminated LivaNova 3T heater-cooler devices (HCDs). From June 2017 to October 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was notified of 18 patients with M. chimaera infections who had undergone cardiothoracic surgeries at 2 hospitals in Kansas (14 patients) and California (4 patients); 17 had exposure to 3T HCDs. Whole-genome sequencing of the clinical and environmental isolates matched the global outbreak strain identified in 2015.
Investigations were conducted at each hospital to determine the cause of ongoing infections. Investigative methods included query of microbiologic records to identify additional cases, medical chart review, observations of operating room setup, HCD use and maintenance practices, and collection of HCD and environmental samples.
Onsite observations identified deviations in the positioning and maintenance of the 3T HCDs from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendations and the manufacturer’s updated cleaning and disinfection protocols. Additionally, most 3T HCDs had not undergone the recommended vacuum and sealing upgrades by the manufacturer to decrease the dispersal of M. chimaera–containing aerosols into the operating room, despite hospital requests to the manufacturer.
These findings highlight the need for continued awareness of the risk of M. chimaera infections associated with 3T HCDs, even if the devices are newly manufactured. Hospitals should maintain vigilance in adhering to FDA recommendations and the manufacturer’s protocols and in identifying patients with potential M. chimaera infections with exposure to these devices.
Background: Contaminated healthcare facility plumbing is increasingly recognized as a source of carbapenemase-producing organisms (CPOs). In August 2019, the Tennessee State Public Health Laboratory identified Tennessee’s twelfth VIM-producing carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (VIM-CRPA), from a patient in a long-term acute-care hospital. To determine a potential reservoir, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) reviewed healthcare exposures for all cases. Four cases (33%), including the most recent case and earliest from March 2018, had a history of admission to intensive care unit (ICU) room X at acute-care hospital A (ACH A), but the specimens were collected at other facilities. The Public Health Laboratory collaborated with ACH A to assess exposures, perform environmental sampling, and implement control measures. Methods: TDH conducted in-person infection prevention assessments with ACH A, including a review of the water management program. Initial recommendations included placing all patients admitted to room X on contact precautions, screening for CPO on room discharge, daily sink basin and counter cleaning, and other sink hygiene measures. TDH collected environmental and water samples from 5 ICU sinks (ie, the handwashing and bathroom sinks in room X and neighboring room Y [control] and 1 hallway sink) and assessed the presence of VIM-CRPA. Moreover, 5 patients and 4 environmental VIM-CRPA underwent whole-genome sequencing (WGS). Results: From February to June 2020, of 21 patients admitted to room X, 9 (43%) underwent discharge screening and 4 (44%) were colonized with VIM-CRPA. Average room X length of stay was longer for colonized patients (11.3 vs 4.8 days). Drain swabs from room X’s bathroom and handwashing sinks grew VIM-CRPA; VIM-CRPA was not detected in tap water or other swab samples. VIM-CRPA from the environment and patients were sequence type 253 and varied by 0–13 single-nucleotide variants. ACH A replaced room X’s sinks and external plumbing in July. Discharge screening and contact precautions for all patients were discontinued in November, 5 months following the last case and 12 consecutive negative patient discharge screens. Improved sink hygiene and mechanism testing for CRPA from clinical cultures continued, with no new cases identified. Conclusions: An ICU room with a persistently contaminated sink drain was a persistent reservoir of VIM-CRPA. The room X attack rate was high, with VIM-CRPA acquisition occurring in >40% of patients screened. The use of contaminated plumbing fixtures in ACH have the potential to facilitate transmission to patients but may be challenging to identify and remediate. All healthcare facilities should follow sink hygiene best practices.
Background: In April 2019, Nebraska Public Health Laboratory identified an NDM-producing Enterobacter cloacae from a urine sample from a rehabilitation inpatient who had recently received care in a specialized unit (unit A) of an acute-care hospital (ACH-A). After additional infections occurred at ACH-A, we conducted a public health investigation to contain spread. Methods: A case was defined as isolation of NDM-producing carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) from a patient with history of admission to ACH-A in 2019. We conducted clinical culture surveillance, and we offered colonization screening for carbapenemase-producing organisms to all patients admitted to unit A since February 2019. We assessed healthcare facility infection control practices in ACH-A and epidemiologically linked facilities by visits from the ICAP (Infection Control Assessment and Promotion) Program. The recent medical histories of case patients were reviewed. Isolates were evaluated by whole-genome sequencing (WGS). Results: Through June 2019, 7 cases were identified from 6 case patients: 4 from clinical cultures and 3 from 258 colonization screens including 1 prior unit A patient detected as an outpatient (Fig. 1). Organisms isolated were Klebsiella pneumoniae (n = 5), E. cloacae (n = 1), and Citrobacter freundii (n = 1); 1 patient had both NDM-producing K. pneumoniae and C. freundii. Also, 5 case patients had overlapping stays in unit A during February–May 2019 (Fig. 2); common exposures in unit A included rooms in close proximity, inhabiting the same room at different times and shared caregivers. One case-patient was not admitted to unit A but shared caregivers, equipment, and devices (including a colonoscope) with other case patients while admitted to other ACH-A units. No case patients reported travel outside the United States. Screening at epidemiologically linked facilities and clinical culture surveillance showed no evidence of transmission beyond ACH-A. Infection control assessments at ACH-A revealed deficiencies in hand hygiene, contact precautions adherence, and incomplete cleaning of shared equipment within and used to transport to/from a treatment room in unit A. Following implementation of recommended infection control interventions, no further cases were identified. Finally, 5 K. pneumoniae of ST-273 were related by WGS including carriage of NDM-5 and IncX3 plasmid supporting transmission of this strain. Further analysis is required to relate IncX3 plasmid carriage and potential transmission to other organisms and sequence types identified in this study. Conclusions: We identified a multiorganism outbreak of NDM-5–producing CRE in an ACH specialty care unit. Transmission was controlled through improved infection control practices and extensive colonization screening to identify asymptomatic case-patients. Multiple species with NDM-5 were identified, highlighting the potential role of genotype-based surveillance.
Disclosures: Muhammad Salman Ashraf reports that he is the principal investigator for a study funded by an investigator-initiated research grant.
Background: Exposure to medical devices can be a risk factor for the development of healthcare-associated infections; bronchoscopes are a leading cause of device-associated outbreaks. We describe bronchoscope-related outbreaks and pseudo-outbreaks reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP), and we summarize investigation steps and control measures. Methods: We identified bronchoscope-related consultations with state and local health departments between July 1, 2014, and September 30, 2019, in the DHQP database. We abstracted data on patient symptoms, clinical culture results, investigation findings, and subsequent infection prevention and control interventions. Results: We identified 15 consultations involving 150 patients (range, 3–31 patients per consultation). Each consultation involved at least 1 cluster of the same organism. Organisms associated with bronchoscope-associated clusters were nontuberculous mycobacteria (n = 7), Candida spp (n = 3), Exophiala spp (n = 2), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (n = 2), Enterobacter spp (n = 2), and Raoultella planticola, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Achromobacter spp, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Aspergillus spp (1 each; 2 consultations involved multiple pathogens). Procedures from which these patient specimens were collected included bronchoalveolar lavage, bronchial wash, bronchial brushing, sputum swab, and lymph node biopsy. For the 7 outbreaks in which clinical data were available, 5 did not have patients with clinical infections related to the pathogen recovered. Two consultations involved pseudo-outbreaks: one involved contamination of specimen collection tubes and the other involved contamination of cultures within the laboratory. Potential underlying pathogen sources included contaminated bronchoscopes (inadequate reprocessing or device damage) (n = 10, 67%), use of nonsterile ice, water, or saline during the procedure (n = 4, 27%), contaminated specimen collection tubes (n = 1, 7%), contaminated bronchoscope suite (n = 1, 7%), and clinical laboratory contamination (n = 1, 7%). The most common interventions included improvement of reprocessing procedures (n = 5), removal of possibly damaged bronchoscopes (n = 4), and eliminating nonsterile ice and water exposures in bronchoscopy (n = 3). Conclusions: Water-related organisms were the most commonly identified pathogens in bronchoscope-related consultations, highlighting the important role that exposure to contaminated water during bronchoscopy and bronchoscope reprocessing might play in bronchoscopy-associated outbreaks and pseudo-outbreaks. During bronchoscope-related outbreaks identifying a common pathogen could indicate problems in bronchoscope handling or reprocessing, device damage, or exposure to nonsterile water.
We describe transmission of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase-producing Escherichia coli sequence type (ST) 1193 in a group home. E. coli ST1193 is an emerging multidrug-resistant clone not previously shown to carry carbapenemases in the United States. Our investigation illustrates the potential of residential group homes to amplify rare combinations of pathogens and resistance mechanisms.
Standardizing healthcare surface sampling requires the evaluation of sampling tools for organism adherence. Here, 7 sampling tools were evaluated to assess their elution efficiencies in the presence of 5 pathogens. Foam sponges (80.6%), microfiber wipes (80.5%), foam swabs (77.9%), and cellulose sponges (66.5%) yielded the highest median elution efficiencies.
To investigate an outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections and colonization in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Infection control assessment, environmental evaluation, and case-control study.
Newly built community-based hospital, 28-bed neonatal intensive care unit.
Neonatal intensive care unit patients receiving care between June 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014.
Case finding was performed through microbiology record review. Infection control observations, interviews, and environmental assessment were performed. A matched case-control study was conducted to identify risk factors for P. aeruginosa infection. Patient and environmental isolates were collected for pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to determine strain relatedness.
In total, 31 cases were identified. Case clusters were temporally associated with absence of point-of-use filters on faucets in patient rooms. After adjusting for gestational age, case patients were more likely to have been in a room without a point-of-use filter (odds ratio [OR], 37.55; 95% confidence interval [CI], 7.16–∞). Case patients had higher odds of exposure to peripherally inserted central catheters (OR, 7.20; 95% CI, 1.75–37.30) and invasive ventilation (OR, 5.79; 95% CI, 1.39–30.62). Of 42 environmental samples, 28 (67%) grew P. aeruginosa. Isolates from the 2 most recent case patients were indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis from water-related samples obtained from these case-patient rooms.
This outbreak was attributed to contaminated water. Interruption of the outbreak with point-of-use filters provided a short-term solution; however, eradication of P. aeruginosa in water and fixtures was necessary to protect patients. This outbreak highlights the importance of understanding the risks of stagnant water in healthcare facilities.
To determine the source of a healthcare-associated outbreak of Pantoea agglomerans bloodstream infections.
Epidemiologic investigation of the outbreak.
Oncology clinic (clinic A).
Cases were defined as Pantoea isolation from blood or catheter tip cultures of clinic A patients during July 2012–May 2013. Clinic A medical charts and laboratory records were reviewed; infection prevention practices and the facility’s water system were evaluated. Environmental samples were collected for culture. Clinical and environmental P. agglomerans isolates were compared using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.
Twelve cases were identified; median (range) age was 65 (41–78) years. All patients had malignant tumors and had received infusions at clinic A. Deficiencies in parenteral medication preparation and handling were identified (eg, placing infusates near sinks with potential for splash-back contamination). Facility inspection revealed substantial dead-end water piping and inadequate chlorine residual in tap water from multiple sinks, including the pharmacy clean room sink. P. agglomerans was isolated from composite surface swabs of 7 sinks and an ice machine; the pharmacy clean room sink isolate was indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis from 7 of 9 available patient isolates.
Exposure of locally prepared infusates to a contaminated pharmacy sink caused the outbreak. Improvements in parenteral medication preparation, including moving chemotherapy preparation offsite, along with terminal sink cleaning and water system remediation ended the outbreak. Greater awareness of recommended medication preparation and handling practices as well as further efforts to better define the contribution of contaminated sinks and plumbing deficiencies to healthcare-associated infections are needed.
In November and December 2012, 6 patients at a hemodialysis clinic were given a diagnosis of new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
To investigate the outbreak to identify risk factors for transmission.
A case patient was defined as a patient who was HCV-antibody negative on clinic admission but subsequently was found to be HCV-antibody positive from January 1, 2008, through April 30, 2013. Patient charts were reviewed to identify and describe case patients. The hypervariable region 1 of HCV from infected patients was tested to assess viral genetic relatedness. Infection control practices were evaluated via observations. A forensic chemiluminescent agent was used to identify blood contamination on environmental surfaces after cleaning.
Eighteen case patients were identified at the clinic from January 1, 2008, through April 30, 2013, resulting in an estimated 16.7% attack rate. Analysis of HCV quasispecies identified 4 separate clusters of transmission involving 11 case patients. The case patients and previously infected patients in each cluster were treated in neighboring dialysis stations during the same shift, or at the same dialysis station on 2 consecutive shifts. Lapses in infection control were identified. Visible and invisible blood was identified on multiple surfaces at the clinic.
Epidemiologic and laboratory data confirmed transmission of HCV among numerous patients at the dialysis clinic over 6 years. Infection control breaches were likely responsible. This outbreak highlights the importance of rigorous adherence to recommended infection control practices in dialysis settings.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2016;37(2):125–133
Investigation of an outbreak of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) at a hemodialysis facility revealed evidence that limited intrafacility transmission occurred despite adherence to published infection control standards for dialysis clinics. Outpatient dialysis facilities should consider CDI prevention, including environmental disinfection for C. difficile, when formulating their infection control plans.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(8):972–974
To determine the source and identify control measures of an outbreak of Tsukamurella species bloodstream infections at an outpatient oncology facility.
Epidemiologic investigation of the outbreak with a case-control study.
A case was an infection in which Tsukamurella species was isolated from a blood or catheter tip culture during the period January 2011 through June 2012 from a patient of the oncology clinic. Laboratory records of area hospitals and patient charts were reviewed. A case-control study was conducted among clinic patients to identify risk factors for Tsukamurella species bloodstream infection. Clinic staff were interviewed, and infection control practices were assessed.
Fifteen cases of Tsukamurella (Tsukamurella pulmonis or Tsukamurella tyrosinosolvens) bloodstream infection were identified, all in patients with underlying malignancy and indwelling central lines. The median age of case patients was 68 years; 47% were male. The only significant risk factor for infection was receipt of saline flush from the clinic during the period September–October 2011 (P = .03), when the clinic had been preparing saline flush from a common-source bag of saline. Other infection control deficiencies that were identified at the clinic included suboptimal procedures for central line access and preparation of chemotherapy.
Although multiple infection control lapses were identified, the outbreak was likely caused by improper preparation of saline flush syringes by the clinic. The outbreak demonstrates that bloodstream infections among oncology patients can result from improper infection control practices and highlights the critical need for increased attention to and oversight of infection control in outpatient oncology settings.
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