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To quantitatively evaluate relationships between infection preventionists (IPs) staffing levels, nursing hours, and rates of 10 types of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
Design and setting:
An ambidirectional observation in a 528-bed teaching hospital.
All inpatients from July 1, 2012, to February 1, 2021.
Standardized US National Health Safety Network (NHSN) definitions were used for HAIs. Staffing levels were measured in full-time equivalents (FTE) for IPs and total monthly hours worked for nurses. A time-trend analysis using control charts, t tests, Poisson tests, and regression analysis was performed using Minitab and R computing programs on rates and standardized infection ratios (SIRs) of 10 types of HAIs. An additional analysis was performed on 3 stratifications: critically low (2–3 FTE), below recommended IP levels (4–6 FTE), and at recommended IP levels (7–8 FTE).
The observation covered 1.6 million patient days of surveillance. IP staffing levels fluctuated from ≤2 IP FTE (critically low) to 7–8 IP FTE (recommended levels). Periods of highest catheter-associated urinary tract infection SIRs, hospital-onset Clostridioides difficile and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae infection rates, along with 4 of 5 types of surgical site SIRs coincided with the periods of lowest IP staffing levels and the absence of certified IPs and a healthcare epidemiologist. Central-line–associated bloodstream infections increased amid lower nursing levels despite the increased presence of an IP and a hospital epidemiologist.
Of 10 HAIs, 8 had highest incidences during periods of lowest IP staffing and experience. Some HAI rates varied inversely with levels of IP staffing and experience and others appeared to be more influenced by nursing levels or other confounders.
All patients and staff on the outbreak ward (case cluster), and randomly selected patients and staff on COVID-19 wards (positive control cluster) and a non-COVID-19 wards (negative control cluster) underwent reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing. Hand hygiene and personal protective equipment (PPE) compliance, detection of environmental SARS-COV-2 RNA, patient behavior, and SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody prevalence were assessed.
In total, 145 staff and 26 patients were exposed, resulting in 24 secondary cases. Also, 4 of 14 (29%) staff and 7 of 10 (70%) patients were asymptomatic or presymptomatic. There was no difference in mean cycle threshold between asymptomatic or presymptomatic versus symptomatic individuals. None of 32 randomly selected staff from the control wards tested positive. Environmental RNA detection levels were higher on the COVID-19 ward than on the negative control ward (OR, 19.98; 95% CI, 2.63–906.38; P < .001). RNA levels on the COVID-19 ward (where there were no outbreaks) and the outbreak ward were similar (OR, 2.38; P = .18). Mean monthly hand hygiene compliance, based on 20,146 observations (over preceding year), was lower on the outbreak ward (P < .006). Compared to both control wards, the proportion of staff with detectable antibodies was higher on the outbreak ward (OR, 3.78; 95% CI, 1.01–14.25; P = .008).
Staff seroconversion was more likely during a short-term outbreak than from sustained duty on a COVID-19 ward. Environmental contamination and PPE use were similar on the outbreak and control wards. Patient noncompliance, decreased hand hygiene, and asymptomatic or presymptomatic transmission were more frequent on the outbreak ward.
Candida auris (CA) is an emerging multidrug-resistant pathogen associated with increased mortality. The environment may play a role, but transmission dynamics remain poorly understood. We sought to limit environmental and patient CA contamination following a sustained unsuspected exposure.
A 528-bed teaching hospital.
The index case patient and 17 collocated ward mates.
Immediately after confirmation of CA in the bloodstream and urine of a patient admitted 6 days previously, active surveillance, enhanced transmission-based precautions, environmental cleaning with peracetic acid-hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet light, and patient relocation were undertaken. Pre-existing agreements and foundational relationships among internal multidisciplinary teams and external partners were leveraged to bolster detection and mitigation efforts and to provide genomic epidemiology.
Candida auris was isolated from 3 of 132 surface samples on days 8, 9, and 15 of ward occupancy, and from no patient samples (0 of 48). Environmental and patient isolates were genetically identical (4–8 single-nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) and most closely related to the 2013 India CA-6684 strain (~200 SNPs), supporting the epidemiological hypothesis that the source of environmental contamination was the index case patient, who probably acquired the South Asian strain from another New York hospital. All isolates contained a mutation associated with azole resistance (K163R) found in the India 2105 VPCI strain but not in CA-6684. The index patient remained colonized until death. No surfaces were CA-positive 1 month later.
Compared to previous descriptions, CA dissemination was minimal. Immediate access to rapid CA diagnostics facilitates early containment strategies and outbreak investigations.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2018;39:53–57
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