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To describe an outbreak of invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection after percutaneous needle procedures (acupuncture and joint injection) performed by a single medical practitioner.
A medical practitioner's office and 4 hospitals in Perth, Western Australia.
Eight individuals who developed invasive MRSA infection after acupuncture or joint injection performed by the medical practitioner.
We performed a prospective and retrospective outbreak investigation, including MRSA colonization surveillance, environmental sampling for MRSA, and detailed molecular typing of MRSA isolates. We performed an infection control audit of the medical practitioner's premises and practices and administered MRSA decolonization therapy to the medical practitioner.
Eight cases of invasive MRSA infection were identified. Seven cases occurred as a cluster in May 2004; another case (identified retrospectively) occurred approximately 15 months earlier in February 2003. The primary sites of infection were the neck, shoulder, lower back, and hip: 5 patients had septic arthritis and bursitis, and 3 had pyomyositis; 3 patients had bacteremia, including 1 patient with possible endocarditis. The medical practitioner was found to be colonized with the same MRSA clone [ST22-MRSA-IV (EMRSA-15)] at 2 time points: shortly after the first case of infection in March 2003 and again in May 2004. After the medical practitioner's premises and practices were audited and he himself received MRSA decolonization therapy, no further cases were identified.
This outbreak most likely resulted from a breakdown in sterile technique during percutaneous needle procedures, resulting in the transmission of MRSA from the medical practitioner to the patients. This report demonstrates the importance of surveillance and molecular typing in the identification and control of outbreaks of MRSA infection.
To demonstrate that nosocomial transmission of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) can be terminated and endemicity prevented despite widespread dissemination of an epidemic strain in a large tertiary-care referral hospital.
Two months after the index case was detected in the intensive care unit, 68 patients became either infected or colonized with an epidemic strain of vanB vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium despite standard infection control procedures. The following additional interventions were then introduced to control the outbreak: (1) formation of a VRE executive group; (2) rapid laboratory identification (30 to 48 hours) using culture and polymerase chain reaction detection of vanA and vanB resistance genes; (3) mass screening of all hospitalized patients with isolation of carriers and cohorting of contacts; (4) environmental screening and increased cleaning; (5) electronic flagging of medical records of contacts; and (6) antibiotic restrictions (third-generation cephalosporins and vancomycin).
A total of 19,658 patient and 24,396 environmental swabs were processed between July and December 2001. One hundred sixty-nine patients in 23 wards were colonized with a single strain of vanB vancomycin-resistant E. faecium. Introducing additional control measures rapidly brought the outbreak under control. Hospital-wide screening found 39 previously unidentified colonized patients, with only 7 more nonsegregat-ed patients being detected in the next 2 months. The outbreak was terminated within 3 months at a cost of $2.7 million (Australian dollars).
Despite widespread dissemination of VRE in a large acute care facility, eradication was achievable by a well-resourced, coordinated, multifaceted approach and was in accordance with good clinical governance.
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