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Targeted screening for carbapenem-resistant organisms (CROs), including carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and carbapenemase-producing organisms (CPOs), remains limited; recent data suggest that existing policies miss many carriers.
Our objective was to measure the prevalence of CRO and CPO perirectal colonization at hospital unit admission and to use machine learning methods to predict probability of CRO and/or CPO carriage.
We performed an observational cohort study of all patients admitted to the medical intensive care unit (MICU) or solid organ transplant (SOT) unit at The Johns Hopkins Hospital between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017. Admission perirectal swabs were screened for CROs and CPOs. More than 125 variables capturing preadmission clinical and demographic characteristics were collected from the electronic medical record (EMR) system. We developed models to predict colonization probabilities using decision tree learning.
Evaluating 2,878 admission swabs from 2,165 patients, we found that 7.5% and 1.3% of swabs were CRO and CPO positive, respectively. Organism and carbapenemase diversity among CPO isolates was high. Despite including many characteristics commonly associated with CRO/CPO carriage or infection, overall, decision tree models poorly predicted CRO and CPO colonization (C statistics, 0.57 and 0.58, respectively). In subgroup analyses, however, models did accurately identify patients with recent CRO-positive cultures who use proton-pump inhibitors as having a high likelihood of CRO colonization.
In this inpatient population, CRO carriage was infrequent but was higher than previously published estimates. Despite including many variables associated with CRO/CPO carriage, models poorly predicted colonization status, likely due to significant host and organism heterogeneity.
Using samples collected for VRE surveillance, we evaluated unit admission prevalence of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) perirectal colonization and whether CRE carriers (unknown to staff) were on contact precautions for other indications. CRE colonization at unit admission was infrequent (3.9%). Most CRE carriers were not on contact precautions, representing a reservoir for healthcare-associated CRE transmission.
The longstanding association between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus and schizophrenia (SZ) risk has recently been accounted for, partially, by structural variation at the complement component 4 (C4) gene. This structural variation generates varying levels of C4 RNA expression, and genetic information from the MHC region can now be used to predict C4 RNA expression in the brain. Increased predicted C4A RNA expression is associated with the risk of SZ, and C4 is reported to influence synaptic pruning in animal models.
Based on our previous studies associating MHC SZ risk variants with poorer memory performance, we tested whether increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with reduced memory function in a large (n = 1238) dataset of psychosis cases and healthy participants, and with altered task-dependent cortical activation in a subset of these samples.
We observed that increased predicted C4A RNA expression predicted poorer performance on measures of memory recall (p = 0.016, corrected). Furthermore, in healthy participants, we found that increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with a pattern of reduced cortical activity in middle temporal cortex during a measure of visual processing (p < 0.05, corrected).
These data suggest that the effects of C4 on cognition were observable at both a cortical and behavioural level, and may represent one mechanism by which illness risk is mediated. As such, deficits in learning and memory may represent a therapeutic target for new molecular developments aimed at altering C4’s developmental role.
We have used field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) to study the high-resolution organization of cellulose microfibrils in onion epidermal cell walls. We frequently found that conventional “rule of thumb” conditions for imaging of biological samples did not yield high-resolution images of cellulose organization and often resulted in artifacts or distortions of cell wall structure. Here we detail our method of one-step fixation and dehydration with 100% ethanol, followed by critical point drying, ultrathin iridium (Ir) sputter coating (3 s), and FESEM imaging at a moderate accelerating voltage (10 kV) with an In-lens detector. We compare results obtained with our improved protocol with images obtained with samples processed by conventional aldehyde fixation, graded dehydration, sputter coating with Au, Au/Pd, or carbon, and low-voltage FESEM imaging. The results demonstrated that our protocol is simpler, causes little artifact, and is more suitable for high-resolution imaging of cell wall cellulose microfibrils whereas such imaging is very challenging by conventional methods.
Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health. Resistance is largely driven by antibiotic usage, which in many cases is unnecessary and can be improved. The impact of decreasing overall antibiotic usage on resistance is unknown and difficult to assess using standard study designs. The objective of this study was to explore the potential impact of reducing antibiotic usage on the transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs).
We used agent-based modeling to simulate interactions between patients and healthcare workers (HCWs) using model inputs informed by the literature. We modeled the effect of antibiotic usage as (1) a microbiome effect, for which antibiotic usage decreases competing bacteria and increases the MDRO transmission probability between patients and HCWs and (2) a mutation effect that designates a proportion of patients who receive antibiotics to subsequently develop a MDRO via genetic mutation.
Intensive care unit
Absolute reduction in overall antibiotic usage by experimental values of 10% and 25%
Reducing antibiotic usage absolutely by 10% (from 75% to 65%) and 25% (from 75% to 50%) reduced acquisition rates of high-prevalence MDROs by 11.2% (P<.001) and 28.3% (P<.001), respectively. We observed similar effect sizes for low-prevalence MDROs.
In a critical care setting, where up to 50% of antibiotic courses may be inappropriate, even a moderate reduction in antibiotic usage can reduce MDRO transmission.
Introduction: Hospitalization due to ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSC) is a proxy measure for access to primary care. Emergency medical services (EMS) are increasingly called when primary care cannot be accessed. A novel paramedic-nurse EMS Mobile Care Team (MCT) was implemented in an under-serviced community. The MCT responds in a non-transport unit to bookings from EMS, emergency and primary care and to low-acuity 911 calls in a defined geographic region. Our objective was to compare the prevalence of ACSC in ground ambulance (GA) responses before and after the introduction of the MCT. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of GA and MCT patients with ACSC (determined by chief complaint, clinical impression, treatment protocol and medical history) one year pre- and one year post-MCT implementation was conducted for the period Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2014. Demographics were described. Predictors of ACSC were identified via logistic regression. Prevalence was compared with chi-squared analysis. Results: There were 975 calls pre- and 1208 GA/95 MCT calls post-MCT. ACSC in GA patients pre- and post-MCT was similar: n=122, 12.5% vs. n=185, 15.3%; p=0.06. ACSC in patients seen by EMS (GA plus MCT) increased in the post-period: 122 (12.5%) vs. 204 (15.7%) p=0.04. Pre vs post, GA calls differed by sex (p=0.007) but not age (65.38 ± 15.12 vs. 62.51 ± 20.48; p=0.16). Post-MCT, prevalence of specific ACSC increased for GA: hypertension (p<0.001) and congestive heart failure (p=0.04). MCT patients with ACSC were less likely to have a primary care provider compared to GA (90.2% and 87.6% vs. 63.2%; p=0.003, p=0.004). Conclusion: The prevalence of ACSC did not decrease for GA with the introduction of the MCT, but ACSC in the overall patient population served by EMS increased. It is possible more patients with ACSC call or are referred to EMS for the new MCT service. Given that MCT patients were less likely to have a primary care provider this may represent an increase in access to care, or a shift away from other emergency/episodic care. These associations must be further studied to inform the ideal utility of adding such services to EMS and healthcare systems.
To identify Choosing Wisely items for the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation.
The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) elicited potential items from a hospital epidemiology listserv, SHEA committee members, and a SHEA–Infectious Diseases Society of America compendium with SHEA Research Network members ranking items by Delphi method voting. The SHEA Guidelines Committee reviewed the top 10 items for appropriateness for Choosing Wisely. Five final recommendations were approved via individual member vote by committees and the SHEA Board.
Ninety-six items were proposed by 87 listserv members and 99 SHEA committee members. Top 40 items were ranked by 24 committee members and 64 of 226 SHEA Research Network members. The 5 final recommendations follow: 1. Don’t continue antibiotics beyond 72 hours in hospitalized patients unless patient has clear evidence of infection. 2. Avoid invasive devices (including central venous catheters, endotracheal tubes, and urinary catheters)and, if required, use no longer than necessary. They pose a major risk for infections. 3. Don’t perform urinalysis, urine culture, blood culture, or Clostridium difficile testing unless patients have signs or symptoms of infection. Tests can be falsely positive leading to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. 4. Do not use antibiotics in patients with recent C. difficile without convincing evidence of need. Antibiotics pose a high risk of C. difficile recurrence. 5. Don’t continue surgical prophylactic antibiotics after the patient has left the operating room. Five runner-up recommendations are included.
These 5 SHEA Choosing Wisely and 5 runner-up items limit medical overuse.
On the death of Nicholas of Ely on 12 February 1280 attempts were made to secure the rich see of Winchester for the royal chancellor, Robert Burnell. Nicholas Hamme, sub-prior of the convent, and two other monks were assigned to seek licence to elect on 17 February and received it on the following day. Four days later prior Adam of Winchester wrote to Burnell about the election. He had originally intended to seek the king’s advice on the matter immediately after the death of the former bishop, but on the chancellor’s advice he had postponed his visit until the licence elect had been granted. Now he was prevented by the pressure of other business from coming in person to consult the king or Burnell, and he therefore requested the latter to send a reply in writing giving his views on how ‘status noster . . . melius valeat reformari.’
Combination antibiograms can be used to evaluate organism cross-resistance among multiple antibiotics. As combination therapy is generally favored for the treatment of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), combination antibiograms provide valuable information about the combination of antibiotics that achieve the highest likelihood of adequate antibiotic coverage against CPE.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(12):1458–1460
Antimicrobial stewardship programs are increasingly recognized as critical in optimizing the use of antimicrobials. Consequently, more physicians, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers are developing and implementing such programs in a variety of healthcare settings. The purpose of this guidance document is to outline the knowledge and skills that are needed to lead an antimicrobial stewardship program. It was developed by antimicrobial stewardship experts from organizations that are engaged in advancing the field of antimicrobial stewardship.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(12):1444–1451
We describe two cases of infant botulism due to Clostridium butyricum producing botulinum type E neurotoxin (BoNT/E) and a previously unreported environmental source. The infants presented at age 11 days with poor feeding and lethargy, hypotonia, dilated pupils and absent reflexes. Faecal samples were positive for C. butyricum BoNT/E. The infants recovered after treatment including botulism immune globulin intravenous (BIG-IV). C. butyricum BoNT/E was isolated from water from tanks housing pet ‘yellow-bellied’ terrapins (Trachemys scripta scripta): in case A the terrapins were in the infant's home; in case B a relative fed the terrapin prior to holding and feeding the infant when both visited another relative. C. butyricum isolates from the infants and the respective terrapin tank waters were indistinguishable by molecular typing. Review of a case of C. butyricum BoNT/E botulism in the UK found that there was a pet terrapin where the infant was living. It is concluded that the C. butyricum-producing BoNT type E in these cases of infant botulism most likely originated from pet terrapins. These findings reinforce public health advice that reptiles, including terrapins, are not suitable pets for children aged <5 years, and highlight the importance of hand washing after handling these pets.
To explore current practices and decision making regarding antimicrobial prescribing among emergency department (ED) clinical providers.
We conducted a survey of ED providers recruited from 8 sites in 3 cities. Using purposeful sampling, we then recruited 21 providers for in-depth interviews. Additionally, we observed 10 patient-provider interactions at one of the ED sites. SAS 9.3 was used for descriptive and predictive statistics. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using a thematic, constructivist approach with consensus coding using NVivo 10.0. Field and interview notes collected during the observational study were aligned with themes identified through individual interviews.
Of 150 survey respondents, 76% agreed or strongly agreed that antibiotics are overused in the ED, while half believed they personally did not overprescribe. Eighty-nine percent used a smartphone or tablet in the ED for antibiotic prescribing decisions. Several significant differences were found between attending and resident physicians. Interview analysis identified 42 codes aggregated into the following themes: (1) resource and environmental factors that affect care; (2) access to and quality of care received outside of the ED consult; (3) patient-provider relationships; (4) clinical inertia; and (5) local knowledge generation. The observational study revealed limited patient understanding of antibiotic use. Providers relied heavily upon diagnostics and provided limited education to patients. Most patients denied a priori expectations of being prescribed antibiotics.
Patient, provider, and healthcare system factors should be considered when designing interventions to improve antimicrobial stewardship in the ED setting.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(9):1114-1125
Several studies demonstrating that central line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) are preventable prompted a national initiative to reduce the incidence of these infections.
We conducted a collaborative cohort study to evaluate the impact of the national “On the CUSP: Stop BSI” program on CLABSI rates among participating adult intensive care units (ICUs). The program goal was to achieve a unit-level mean CLABSI rate of less than 1 case per 1,000 catheter-days using standardized definitions from the National Healthcare Safety Network. Multilevel Poisson regression modeling compared infection rates before, during, and up to 18 months after the intervention was implemented.
A total of 1,071 ICUs from 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, reporting 27,153 ICU-months and 4,454,324 catheter-days of data, were included in the analysis. The overall mean CLABSI rate significantly decreased from 1.96 cases per 1,000 catheter-days at baseline to 1.15 at 16–18 months after implementation. CLABSI rates decreased during all observation periods compared with baseline, with adjusted incidence rate ratios steadily decreasing to 0.57 (95% confidence intervals, 0.50–0.65) at 16–18 months after implementation.
Coincident with the implementation of the national “On the CUSP: Stop BSI” program was a significant and sustained decrease in CLABSIs among a large and diverse cohort of ICUs, demonstrating an overall 43% decrease and suggesting the majority of ICUs in the United States can achieve additional reductions in CLABSI rates.
No U.S. general population-based study has characterized the epidemiology and risk factors, including skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI), for healthcare-associated (HA) and community-associated (CA) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). We estimated the incidence of HA- and CA-MRSA and SSTI over a 9-year period using electronic health record data from the Geisinger Clinic in Pennsylvania. MRSA cases were frequency-matched to SSTI cases and controls in a nested case-control analysis. Logistic regression was used to assess risk factors, while accounting for antibiotic administration. We identified 1713 incident CA- and 1506 HA-MRSA cases and 78 216 SSTI cases. On average, from 2005 to 2009, the annual incidence of CA-MRSA increased by 34%, HA-MRSA by 7%, and SSTI by 4%. Age, season, community socioeconomic deprivation, obesity, smoking, previous SSTI, and antibiotic administration were identified as independent risk factors for CA-MRSA.
To evaluate the impact of postprescription review of broad-spectrum antimicrobial (study-ABX) agents on rates of antimicrobial use.
Quasi-experimental before-after study.
Five academic medical centers.
Adults receiving at least 48 hours of study-ABX.
The baseline, intervention, and follow-up periods were 6 months each in 2 units at each of 5 sites. Adults receiving at least 48 hours of study-ABX entered the cohort as case-patients. During the intervention, infectious-diseases physicians reviewed the cases after 48 hours of study-ABX. The provider was contacted with alternative recommendations if antimicrobial use was considered to be unjustified on the basis of predetermined criteria. Acceptance rates were assessed 48 hours later. The primary outcome measure was days of study-ABX per 1,000 study-patient-days in the baseline and intervention periods.
There were 1,265 patients in the baseline period and 1,163 patients in the intervention period. Study-ABX use decreased significantly during the intervention period at 2 sites: from 574.4 to 533.8 study-ABX days/1,000 patient-days (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 0.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.88-0.97; P = .002) at hospital В and from 615.6 to 514.4 study-ABX days/1,000 patient-days (IRR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.79-0.88; P < .001) at hospital D. Both had established antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASP). Study-ABX use increased at 2 sites and stayed the same at 1 site. At all institutions combined, 390 of 1,429 (27.3%) study-ABX courses were assessed as unjustified; recommendations to modify or stop therapy were accepted for 260 (66.7%) of these courses.
Postprescription review of study-ABX decreased antimicrobial utilization in some of the study hospitals and may be more effective when performed as part of an established ASP.
Fatty acid composition of the diet may influence cardiovascular risk from early childhood onwards. The objective of the present study was to perform a systematic review of dietary fat and fatty acid intakes in children and adolescents from different countries around the world and compare these with the population nutrient intake goals for prevention of chronic diseases as defined by the WHO (2003). Data on fat and fatty acid intake were mainly collected from national dietary surveys and from population studies all published during or after 1995. These were identified by searching PubMed, and through nutritionists at local Unilever offices in different countries. Fatty acid intake data from thirty countries mainly from developed countries were included. In twenty-eight of the thirty countries, mean SFA intakes were higher than the recommended maximum of 10 % energy, whereas in twenty-one out of thirty countries mean PUFA intakes were below recommended (6–10 % energy). More and better intake data are needed, in particular for developing regions of the world, and future research should determine the extent to which improvement of dietary fatty acid intake in childhood translates into lower CHD risk in later life. Despite these limitations, the available data clearly indicate that in the majority of the countries providing data on fatty acid intake, less than half of the children and adolescents meet the SFA and PUFA intake goals that are recommended for the prevention of chronic diseases.
To evaluate the impact of a multifaceted intervention on compliance with evidence-based therapies and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) rates.
Collaborative cohort before-after study.
Intensive care units (ICUs) predominantly in Michigan.
We implemented a multifaceted intervention to improve compliance with 5 evidence-based recommendations for mechanically ventilated patients and to prevent VAP. A standardized CDC definition of VAP was used and maintained at each site, and data on the number of VAPs and ventilator-days were obtained from the hospital's infection preventionists. Baseline data were reported and postimplementation data were reported for 30 months. VAP rates (in cases per 1,000 ventilator-days) were calculated as the proportion of ventilator-days per quarter in which patients received all 5 therapies in the ventilator care bundle. Two interventions to improve safety culture and communication were implemented first.
One hundred twelve ICUs reporting 3,228 ICU-months and 550,800 ventilator-days were included. The overall median VAP rate decreased from 5.5 cases (mean, 6.9 cases) per 1,000 ventilator-days at baseline to 0 cases (mean, 3.4 cases) at 16–18 months after implementation (P < .001) and 0 cases (mean, 2.4 cases) at 28-30 months after implementation (P < .001). Compared to baseline, VAP rates decreased during all observation periods, with incidence rate ratios of 0.51 (95% confidence interval, 0.41–0.64) at 16–18 months after implementation and 0.29 (95% confidence interval, 0.24–0.34) at 28–30 months after implementation. Compliance with evidence-based therapies increased from 32% at baseline to 75% at 16–18 months after implementation (P < .001) and 84% at 28–30 months after implementation (P < .001).
A multifaceted intervention was associated with an increased use of evidence-based therapies and a substantial (up to 71%) and sustained (up to 2.5 years) decrease in VAP rates.