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Sink drainage systems are not amenable to standard methods of cleaning and disinfection. Disinfectants applied as a foam might enhance efficacy of drain decontamination due to greater persistence and increased penetration into sites harboring microorganisms.
To examine the efficacy and persistence of foam-based products in reducing sink drain colonization with gram-negative bacilli.
During a 5-month period, different methods for sink drain disinfection in patient rooms were evaluated in a hospital and its affiliated long-term care facility. We compared the efficacy of a single treatment with 4 different foam products in reducing the burden of gram-negative bacilli in the sink drain to a depth of 2.4 cm (1 inch) below the strainer. For the most effective product, the effectiveness of foam versus liquid-pouring applications, and the effectiveness of repeated foam treatments were evaluated.
A foam product containing 3.13% hydrogen peroxide and 0.05% peracetic acid was significantly more effective than the other 3 foam products. In comparison to pouring the hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid disinfectant, the foam application resulted in significantly reduced recovery of gram-negative bacilli on days 1, 2, and 3 after treatment with a return to baseline by day 7. With repeated treatments every 3 days, a progressive decrease in the bacterial load recovered from sink drains was achieved.
An easy-to-use foaming application of a hydrogen peroxide- and peracetic acid-based disinfectant suppressed sink-drain colonization for at least 3 days. Intermittent application of the foaming disinfectant could potentially reduce the risk for dissemination of pathogens from sink drains.
Medical procedures and patient care activities may facilitate environmental dissemination of healthcare-associated pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Observational cohort study of MRSA-colonized patients to determine the frequency of and risk factors for environmental shedding of MRSA during procedures and care activities in carriers with positive nares and/or wound cultures. Bivariate analyses were performed to identify factors associated with environmental shedding.
A Veterans Affairs hospital.
This study included 75 patients in contact precautions for MRSA colonization or infection.
Of 75 patients in contact precautions for MRSA, 55 (73%) had MRSA in nares and/or wounds and 25 (33%) had positive skin cultures. For the 52 patients with MRSA in nares and/or wounds and at least 1 observed procedure, environmental shedding of MRSA occurred more frequently during procedures and care activities than in the absence of a procedure (59 of 138, 43% vs 8 of 83, 10%; P < .001). During procedures, increased shedding occurred ≤0.9 m versus >0.9 m from the patient (52 of 138, 38% vs 25 of 138, 18%; P = .0004). Contamination occurred frequently on surfaces touched by personnel (12 of 38, 32%) and on portable equipment used for procedures (25 of 101, 25%). By bivariate analysis, the presence of a wound with MRSA was associated with shedding (17 of 29, 59% versus 6 of 23, 26%; P = .04).
Environmental shedding of MRSA occurs frequently during medical procedures and patient care activities. There is a need for effective strategies to disinfect surfaces and equipment after procedures.
We demonstrated that hand washing resulted in frequent dispersal of gram-negative bacilli from colonized sink drains in hospitals to cover gowns and hands. A plastic drain cover reduced but did not eliminate the risk for contamination. This mechanism of dispersal could result in contamination of healthcare personnel and patients.
To evaluate the efficacy of multiple ultraviolet (UV) light decontamination devices in a radiology procedure room.
We compared the efficacy of 8 UV decontamination devices with a 4-minute UV exposure time in reducing recovery of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), and Clostridium difficile spores on steel disk carriers placed at 5 sites on a computed tomography patient table. Analysis of variance was used to compare reductions for the different devices. A spectrometer was used to obtain irradiance measurements for the devices.
Four standard vertical tower low-pressure mercury devices achieved 2 log10CFU or greater reductions in VRE and MRSA and ~1 log10CFU reductions in C. difficile spores, whereas a pulsed-xenon device resulted in less reduction in the pathogens (P<.001). In comparison to the vertical tower low-pressure mercury devices, equal or greater reductions in the pathogens were achieved by 3 nonstandard low-pressure mercury devices that included either adjustable bulbs that could be oriented directly over the exam table, a robotic base allowing movement along the side of the table during operation, or 3 vertical towers operated simultaneously. The low-pressure mercury devices produced primarily UV-C light, whereas the pulsed-xenon device produced primarily UV-A and UV-B light. The time required to move the devices from the corner of the room and set up for operation varied from 18 to 59 seconds.
Many currently available UV devices could provide an effective and efficient adjunct to manual cleaning and disinfection in radiology procedure rooms.
A DNA marker inoculated onto portable equipment on a medical ward was disseminated to other wards when equipment was shared and to a physician work room and the hospital cafeteria by personnel. These results demonstrate the plausibility of pathogen transmission in healthcare facilities in the absence of shared ward exposure.
In 4 hospitals, we demonstrated frequent dispersal of fluorescent tracer and fluoroquinolone-resistant gram-negative bacilli from sink drains to sink bowls and to surfaces outside the bowl. Fluorescent tracer dispersal correlated inversely with the depth of the sink bowl. Modifications in sink design could substantially reduce the risk for pathogen dissemination.
In hospital sinks, a novel plastic drain cover was effective in preventing dispersal of gram-negative bacilli and fluorescent gel associated with splattering of flowing water. Our findings suggest that the sink drain covers could provide a simple means to reduce dissemination of pathogens from contaminated sinks.
To test the hypothesis that long-term care facility (LTCF) residents with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) or asymptomatic carriage of toxigenic strains are an important source of transmission in the LTCF and in the hospital during acute-care admissions.
A 6-month cohort study with identification of transmission events was conducted based on tracking of patient movement combined with restriction endonuclease analysis (REA) and whole-genome sequencing (WGS).
Veterans Affairs hospital and affiliated LTCF.
The study included 29 LTCF residents identified as asymptomatic carriers of toxigenic C. difficile based on every other week perirectal screening and 37 healthcare facility-associated CDI cases (ie, diagnosis >3 days after admission or within 4 weeks of discharge to the community), including 26 hospital-associated and 11 LTCF-associated cases.
Of the 37 CDI cases, 7 (18·9%) were linked to LTCF residents with LTCF-associated CDI or asymptomatic carriage, including 3 of 26 hospital-associated CDI cases (11·5%) and 4 of 11 LTCF-associated cases (36·4%). Of the 7 transmissions linked to LTCF residents, 5 (71·4%) were linked to asymptomatic carriers versus 2 (28·6%) to CDI cases, and all involved transmission of epidemic BI/NAP1/027 strains. No incident hospital-associated CDI cases were linked to other hospital-associated CDI cases.
Our findings suggest that LTCF residents with asymptomatic carriage of C. difficile or CDI contribute to transmission both in the LTCF and in the affiliated hospital during acute-care admissions. Greater emphasis on infection control measures and antimicrobial stewardship in LTCFs is needed, and these efforts should focus on LTCF residents during hospital admissions.
n-3 Fatty acids are associated with better cardiovascular and cognitive health. However, the concentration of EPA, DPA and DHA in different plasma lipid pools differs and factors influencing this heterogeneity are poorly understood. Our aim was to evaluate the association of oily fish intake, sex, age, BMI and APOE genotype with concentrations of EPA, DPA and DHA in plasma phosphatidylcholine (PC), NEFA, cholesteryl esters (CE) and TAG. Healthy adults (148 male, 158 female, age 20–71 years) were recruited according to APOE genotype, sex and age. The fatty acid composition was determined by GC. Oily fish intake was positively associated with EPA in PC, CE and TAG, DPA in TAG, and DHA in all fractions (P≤0·008). There was a positive association between age and EPA in PC, CE and TAG, DPA in NEFA and CE, and DHA in PC and CE (P≤0·034). DPA was higher in TAG in males than females (P<0·001). There was a positive association between BMI and DPA and DHA in TAG (P<0·006 and 0·02, respectively). APOE genotype×sex interactions were observed: the APOE4 allele associated with higher EPA in males (P=0·002), and there was also evidence for higher DPA and DHA (P≤0·032). In conclusion, EPA, DPA and DHA in plasma lipids are associated with oily fish intake, sex, age, BMI and APOE genotype. Such insights may be used to better understand the link between plasma fatty acid profiles and dietary exposure and may influence intake recommendations across population subgroups.
Contaminated hands of healthcare workers (HCWs) are an important source of transmission of healthcare-associated infections. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, while effective, do not provide sustained antimicrobial activity. The objective of this study was to compare the immediate and persistent activity of 2 hand hygiene products (ethanol [61% w/v] plus chlorhexidine gluconate [CHG; 1.0% solution] and ethanol only [70% v/v]) when used in an intensive care unit (ICU).
Prospective, randomized, double-blinded, crossover study
Three ICUs at a large teaching hospital
In total, 51 HCWs involved in direct patient care were enrolled in and completed the study.
All HCWs were randomized 1:1 to either product. Hand prints were obtained immediately after the product was applied and again after spending 4–7 minutes in the ICU common areas prior to entering a patient room or leaving the area. The numbers of aerobic colony-forming units (CFU) were compared for the 2 groups after log transformation. Each participant tested the alternative product after a 3-day washout period.
On bare hands, use of ethanol plus CHG was associated with significantly lower recovery of aerobic CFU, both immediately after use (0.27 ± 0.05 and 0.88 ± 0.08 log10 CFU; P = .035) and after spending time in ICU common areas (1.81 ± 0.07 and 2.17 ± 0.05 log10 CFU; P<.0001). Both the antiseptics were well tolerated by HCWs.
In comparison to the ethanol-only product, the ethanol plus CHG sanitizer was associated with significantly lower aerobic bacterial counts on hands of HCWs, both immediately after use and after spending time in ICU common areas.
Contaminated ice machines have been linked to transmission of pathogens in healthcare facilities.
To determine the frequency and sites of contamination of ice machines in multiple healthcare facilities and to investigate potential mechanisms of microorganism dispersal from contaminated ice machines to patients.
Multicenter culture survey and simulation study.
The study took place in 5 hospitals and 2 nursing homes in northeastern Ohio.
We cultured multiple sites on ice machines from patient care areas. To investigate potential mechanisms of microbial dispersal from contaminated ice machines, we observed the use of ice machines and conducted simulations using a fluorescent tracer and cultures.
Samples from 64 ice machines in the 5 hospitals and 2 nursing homes (range, 3–16 per facility) were cultured. Gram-negative bacilli and/or Candida spp were recovered from 100% of drain pans, 52% of ice and/or water chutes, and 72% of drain-pan grilles. During the operation of ice machines, ice often fell through the grille, resulting in splattering, with dispersal of contaminated water from the drain pan to the drain-pan grille, cups, and the hands of those using the ice machine. Contamination of the inner surface of the ice chute resulted in contamination of ice cubes exiting the chute.
Our findings demonstrate that ice machines in healthcare facilities are often contaminated with gram-negative bacilli and Candida species, and provide a potential mechanism by which these organisms may be dispersed. Effective interventions are needed to reduce the risk of dissemination of pathogenic organisms from ice machines.
In a randomized trial, a gown designed to allow easy removal at the neck and with increased skin coverage and snugness of fit at the wrist significantly reduced contamination of personnel during personal protective equipment (PPE) removal. Our results suggest that simple modifications of PPE can reduce contamination of personnel.
Mobile ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light room decontamination devices are frequently used as an adjunct to standard cleaning in healthcare facilities, but their efficacy in killing Candida species is not clear. In laboratory testing, the emerging multidrug-resistant Candida auris and 2 other Candida species were significantly less susceptible to killing by UV-C than methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
Contaminated surfaces are a suspected source for dissemination of the globally emerging pathogen Candida auris. In laboratory testing, sporicidal and improved hydrogen peroxide disinfectants were highly effective against C. auris, C. glabrata, and C. albicans. The widely used quaternary ammonium disinfectants exhibited relatively poor activity against all of the Candida species.
A DNA marker inoculated onto shared portable equipment in surgical and medical intensive care units disseminated widely to surfaces in patient rooms and provider work areas and to other types of portable equipment. These results demonstrate the potential for contaminated portable equipment to serve as a vector for dissemination of pathogens.