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To describe the identification, management, and clinical characteristics of hospitalized patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) during the peak period of activity of the 2009 pandemic strain of influenza A virus subtype H1N1 (2009 H1N1).
Retrospective review of electronic medical records.
Patients and Setting.
Hospitalized patients who presented to the emergency department during the period October 18 through November 14, 2009, at 4 hospitals in Cook County, Illinois, with the capacity to perform real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction testing for influenza.
Vital signs and notes recorded within 1 calendar day after emergency department arrival were reviewed for signs and symptoms consistent with ILI. Cases of ILI were classified as recognized by healthcare providers if an influenza test was performed or if influenza was mentioned as a possible diagnosis in the physician notes. Logistic regression was used to determine the patient attributes and symptoms that were associated with ILI recognition and with influenza infection.
We identified 460 ILI case patients, of whom 412 (90%) had ILI recognized by healthcare providers, 389 (85%) were placed under airborne or droplet isolation precautions, and 243 (53%) were treated with antiviral medication. Of 401 ILI case patients tested for influenza, 91 (23%) had a positive result. Fourteen (3%) ILI case patients and none of the case patients who tested positive for influenza had sore throat in the absence of cough.
Healthcare providers identified a high proportion of hospitalized ILI case patients. Further improvements in disease detection can be made through the use of advanced electronic health records and efficient diagnostic tests. Future studies should evaluate the inclusion of sore throat in the ILI case definition.
Alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHRs) are an effective means of decreasing the transmission of bacterial pathogens. Alcohol is not effective against Clostridium difficile spores. We examined the retention of C. difficile spores on the hands of volunteers after ABHR use and the subsequent transfer of these spores through physical contact.
Nontoxigenic C. difficile spores were spread on the bare palms of 10 volunteers. Use of 3 ABHRs and chlorhexidine soap-and-water washing were compared with plain water rubbing alone for removal of C. difficile spores. Palmar cultures were performed before and after hand decontamination by means of a plate stamping method. Transferability of C. difficile after application of ABHR was tested by having each volunteer shake hands with an uninoculated volunteer.
Plain water rubbing reduced palmar culture counts by a mean (± standard deviation [SD]) of 1.57 ± 0.11 log10 colony-forming units (CFU) per cm2, and this value was set as the zero point for the other products. Compared with water washing, chlorhexidine soap washing reduced spore counts by a mean ( ± SD) of 0.89 ± 0.34 log10 CFU per cm2; among the ABHRs, Isagel accounted for a reduction of 0.11 ± 0.20 log10 CFU per cm2 (P = .005), Endure for a reduction of 0.37 ± 0.42 log10 CFU per cm2 (P = .010), and Purell for a reduction of 0.14 ± 0.33 log10 CFU per cm2 (P = .005). There were no statistically significant differences between the reductions achieved by the ABHRs; only Endure had a reduction statistically different from that for water control rubbing (P = .040). After ABHR use, handshaking transferred a mean of 30% of the residual C. difficile spores to the hands of recipients.
Hand washing with soap and water is significantly more effective at removing C. difficile spores from the hands of volunteers than are ABHRs. Residual spores are readily transferred by a handshake after use of ABHR.
To describe the epidemiology of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) in veterans with spinal cord injury and disorder (SCI&D).
Retrospective medical record review.
Midwestern Department of Veterans Affairs spinal cord injury center.
A total of 226 patients with SCI&D hospitalized at least once during a 2-year period (October 1, 2001, through September 30, 2003).
A total of 549 hospitalizations were included in the analysis (mean duration of hospitalization, 33.7 days); an HAI occurred during 182 (33.2%) of these hospitalizations. A total of 657 HAIs occurred during 18,517 patient-days in the hospital (incidence rate, 35.5 HAIs per 1,000 patient-days). Almost half of the 226 patients had at least 1 HAI; the mean number of HAIs among these patients was 6.0 HAIs per patient. The most common HAIs were urinary tract infection (164 [25.0%] of the 657 HAIs; incidence rate, 8.9 cases per 1,000 patient-days), bloodstream infection (111 [16.9%]; incidence rate, 6.0 cases per 1,000 patient-days), and bone and joint infection (103 [15.7%]; incidence rate, 5.6 cases per 1,000 patient-days). The most common culture isolates were gram-positive bacteria (1,082 [45.6%] of 2,307 isolates), including Staphylococcus aureus, and gram-negative bacteria (1,033 [43.6%] of isolates), including Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Multivariate regression demonstrated that predictors of HAI were longer length of hospital stay (P = .002), community-acquired infection (P = .007), and use of a urinary invasive device (P = .01) or respiratory invasive device (P = .04).
The overall incidence of HAIs in persons with SCI&D was higher than that reported for other populations, confirming the increased risk of HAI in persons with spinal cord injury. The increased risk associated with longer length of stay and with community-acquired infection suggests that strategies are needed to reduce the duration of hospitalization and to effectively treat community-acquired infection, to decrease infection rates. There is significant room for improvement in reducing the incidence of HAIs in this population.
To identify patients with a diagnosis of Clostridium difficile–associated disease (CDAD) in the ambulatory care setting and determine the relationship of symptom onset and diagnosis to prior hospitalization and exposure to antimicrobials.
Single-center, retrospective study.
Medical records were reviewed for outpatients and hospitalized patients with a stool assay positive for C. difficile toxin A from January 1998 through March 2005. Patients with recurrent CDAD or residing in an extended-care facility were excluded. CDAD in patients who had been hospitalized in the 100 days prior to diagnosis was considered potentially hospital-associated.
Of the 84 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 75 (89%) received a diagnosis 1-60 days after hospital discharge (median, 12 days), and 71 (85%) received a diagnosis within 30 days after discharge. Of the 69 patients whose records contained information regarding time of symptom onset, 62 (90%) developed diarrhea within 30 days of a previous hospital discharge, including 7 patients with symptom onset prior to discharge and 9 with onset on the day of discharge. The median time from symptom onset to diagnosis was 6 days. Of 84 patients, 77 (92%) had received antimicrobials during a prior hospitalization, but 55 (65%) received antimicrobials both as inpatients and as outpatients.
If all cases of CDAD diagnosed within 100 days of hospital discharge were assumed to be hospital-associated, 71 (85%) of 84 patients with CDAD were identified within 30 days, and 75 (89%) of 84 were identified by day 60. Continued outpatient antimicrobial exposure confounds determination of whether late-onset cases are community- or hospital-associated.
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