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Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has yielded new insights into the transmission patterns of healthcare facility-onset Clostridioides difficile infection (HO-CDI). WGS results prompted a focused diagnostic stewardship program, which was associated with a significant and sustained decrease in HO-CDI at large, urban hospital.
To determine whether a mandatory seasonal influenza vaccination program will increase vaccination rates among healthcare personnel (HCP) and affiliated physicians.
MedStar Health is a not-for-profit regional healthcare organization that includes 9 hospitals with approximately 25,000 HCP and approximately 4,000 affiliated physicians. HCP describes any person employed by MedStar Health.
With previous vaccination rates parallel to reported national rates of 54% among HCP, MedStar Health introduced a mandatory seasonal influenza vaccination program promulgated during the 2009–2010 influenza season. HCP and affiliated physicians were given an opportunity to apply for medical or religious exemptions. Noncompliant HCP were terminated. Noncompliant physicians had their privileges administratively suspended for the influenza season.
HCP compliance (vaccinated and exempt) was 99.9%. The influenza vaccination rate among HCP was 98.5%. There were 338 approved medical exemptions and 18 approved religious exemptions. Only 0.01% of HCP (9 full-time, 2 part-time, and 17 per diem employees) were terminated. Overall, 93% of the affiliated physicians were vaccinated; 7 religious and 99 medical exemptions were granted. In total, 149 physicians (4%) had their admitting privileges suspended during the influenza season.
A mandatory influenza vaccination program achieves high rates of vaccination among HCP and affiliated physicians.
To investigate an outbreak of scabies in an inner-city teaching hospital, identify pathways of transmission, institute effective control measures to end the outbreak, and prevent future occurrences.
Outbreak investigation, case-control study, and chart review.
Large tertiary acute-care hospital.
A patient with unrecognized Norwegian (crusted) scabies was admitted to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) service of a 940-bed acute-care hospital. Over 4 months, 773 healthcare workers (HCWs) and 204 patients were exposed to scabies. Of the exposed HCWs, 147 (19%) worked on the AIDS service. Risk factors for being infested with scabies among HCWs included working on the AIDS service (odds ratio [OR], 5.3; 95% confidence interval [CI95], 2.17-13.15) and being a nurse, physical therapist, or HCW with extensive physical contact with infected patients (OR, 4.5; CI95, 1.26-17.45). Aggressive infection control precautions beyond Centers for Disease Control and Prevention barrier and isolation recommendations were instituted, including the following: (1) early identification of infected patients; (2) prophylactic treatment with topical applications for all exposed HCWs; (3) use of two treatments 1 week apart for all cases of Norwegian scabies; (4) maintaining isolation for 8 days and barrier precautions for 24 hours after completing second treatment for a diagnosis of Norwegian scabies; and (5) oral ivermectin for treatment of patients who failed conventional therapy.
HCWs with the most patient contact are at highest risk of acquiring scabies. Because HCWs who used traditionally accepted barriers while caring for patients with Norwegian scabies continued to develop scabies, we found additional measures were required in the acute-care hospital. HCWs with skin exposure to patients with scabies should receive prophylactic treatment. We recommend (1) using heightened barrier precautions for care of patients with scabies and (2) extending the isolation period for 8 days or 24 hours after the second treatment with a scabicide for those patients with Norwegian scabies. Oral ivermectin was well tolerated for treating patients and HCWs who failed conventional treatment. Finally, we developed a surveillance system that provides a “barometric measure” of the infection rate in the community. If scabies increases in the community, a tiered triage system is activated to protect against transmission among HCWs or hospital patients.
To describe the epidemiology of a cluster of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VAREC) in a cardiothoracic surgery intensive care unit.
A case series of patients identified through review of surveillance data on nosocomial infections, review of microbiologic records, and culture survey of patients in the unit.
Six patients in the cardiothoracic surgery intensive care unit had VAREC with identical antimicrobic susceptibility patterns over a 6-month period. Four patients were identified with VAREC through prospective surveillance and 2 through retrospective review. Prior vancomycin use was seen more commonly in patients with VAREC (6/6,100%) than in those without VAREC (3/12, 25%) (Fisher’s exact test, p= .01). Six of the 7 patients with prior infection developed VAREC (85.7%). A prior nosocomial infection and prior exposure to vancomycin were found to be important variables in a logistic regression analysis. VAREC also was isolated from the environment. Acombination of cohorting of patients and staff, and modifications of standard contact isolation practices eliminated the presence of VAREC from the cardiothoracic surgery intensive care unit.
The results suggest that prior administration of vancomycin, especially in the patient who develops nosocomial infection, can influence the acquisition of vancomycin-resistant enterococci and that VAREC may be transmitted from patient to patient. Using a modification of the standard infection control practice of isolation, we were able to control the spread of this resistant strain of E faecium.
Medical patients receiving IV therapy were randomly assigned to one of two IV tubing change groups. One group had a 48-hour tubing change and the other had no tubing change for the remainder of the cannula placement. A daily IV fluid specimen was processed microbiologically. To complete the study, a minimum of 3 continuous days of therapy and three fluid specimens was required. There were two contaminated specimens, one in each tubing change group. The contamination rate in the 48-hour change group was 0.87% and 0.96% in the no change group. The rate difference of 0.09% has a 95% confidence interval (−0.035 to +0.036) which includes zero. Survival analysis also revealed no significant difference in the cumulative probability of survival, however the mean duration of continuous tubing use of 4.3 days in the no change group and 1.8 days in the 48 hour change group were significantly different (p<0.05). The cumulative probability of surviving contamination free was 0.988 in the 48-hour group and 0.987 in the no-change group. We conclude that it is safe to change IV tubing at intervals up to but not exceeding 4 days.
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