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Background:Candida auris is an emerging multidrug-resistant yeast that is transmitted in healthcare facilities and is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Environmental contamination is suspected to play an important role in transmission but additional information is needed to inform environmental cleaning recommendations to prevent spread. Methods: We conducted a multiregional (Chicago, IL; Irvine, CA) prospective study of environmental contamination associated with C. auris colonization of patients and residents of 4 long-term care facilities and 1 acute-care hospital. Participants were identified by screening or clinical cultures. Samples were collected from participants’ body sites (eg, nares, axillae, inguinal creases, palms and fingertips, and perianal skin) and their environment before room cleaning. Daily room cleaning and disinfection by facility environmental service workers was followed by targeted cleaning of high-touch surfaces by research staff using hydrogen peroxide wipes (see EPA-approved product for C. auris, List P). Samples were collected immediately after cleaning from high-touch surfaces and repeated at 4-hour intervals up to 12 hours. A pilot phase (n = 12 patients) was conducted to identify the value of testing specific high-touch surfaces to assess environmental contamination. High-yield surfaces were included in the full evaluation phase (n = 20 patients) (Fig. 1). Samples were submitted for semiquantitative culture of C. auris and other multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing Enterobacterales (ESBLs), and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE). Times to room surface contamination with C. auris and other MDROs after effective cleaning were analyzed. Results:Candida auris colonization was most frequently detected in the nares (72%) and palms and fingertips (72%). Cocolonization of body sites with other MDROs was common (Fig. 2). Surfaces located close to the patient were commonly recontaminated with C. auris by 4 hours after cleaning, including the overbed table (24%), bed handrail (24%), and TV remote or call button (19%). Environmental cocontamination was more common with resistant gram-positive organisms (MRSA and, VRE) than resistant gram-negative organisms (Fig. 3). C. auris was rarely detected on surfaces located outside a patient’s room (1 of 120 swabs; <1%). Conclusions: Environmental surfaces near C. auris–colonized patients were rapidly recontaminated after cleaning and disinfection. Cocolonization of skin and environment with other MDROs was common, with resistant gram-positive organisms predominating over gram-negative organisms on environmental surfaces. Limitations include lack of organism sequencing or typing to confirm environmental contamination was from the room resident. Rapid recontamination of environmental surfaces after manual cleaning and disinfection suggests that alternate mitigation strategies should be evaluated.
Background: Contact tracing alone is often inadequate to determine the source of healthcare personnel (HCP) COVID-19 when SARS-CoV-2 is widespread in the community. We combined whole-genome sequencing (WGS) with traditional epidemiologic analysis to investigate the frequency with which patients or other HCP with symptomatic COVID-19 acted as the source of HCP infection at a large tertiary-care center early in the pandemic. Methods: Cohort samples were selected from patients and HCP with PCR-positive SARS-CoV-2 infection from a period with complete retention of samples (March 14, 2021–April 10, 2020) at Rush University Medical Center, a 664-bed hospital in Chicago, Illinois. During this period, testing was limited to symptomatic patients and HCP. Recommended respiratory equipment for HCP evolved under guidance, including a 19-day period when medical face masks were recommended for COVID-19 care except for aerosol-generating procedures. Viral RNA was extracted and sequenced (NovaSeq, Illumina) from remnant nasopharyngeal swab samples in M4RT viral transport medium. Genomes with >90% coverage underwent cluster detection using a 2 single-nucleotide variant genetic distance cutoff. Genomic clusters were independently evaluated for valid epidemiologic links by 2 infectious diseases physicians (with a third adjudicator) using metadata extracted from the electronic medical record and according to predetermined criteria (Table 1). Results: In total, 1,031 SARS-CoV-2 sequences were analyzed, identifying 49 genomic clusters with HCP (median, 8; range, 2–43 members per cluster; total, 268 patients and 115 HCP) (Fig. 1). Also, 20,190 flowsheet activities were documented for cohort HCP and patient interactions, including 686 instances in which a cohort HCP contributed to a cohort patient’s chart. Most HCP infections were considered not healthcare associated (88 of 115, 76.5%). We did not identify any strong linkages for patient-to-HCP transmission. Moreover, 13 HCP cases (11.3%) were attributed to patient source (weak linkage). Also, 14 HCP cases (12.2%) were attributed to HCP source (11 strong and 3 weak linkages). Weak linkages were due to lack of epidemiologic data for HCP location, particularly nonclinical staff (eg, an environmental service worker who lacked location documentation to rule out patient-specific contact). Agreement for epidemiologic linkage between the 2 evaluators was high (κ, 0.91). Conclusions: Using genomic and epidemiologic data, we found that most HCP COVID-19 infections were not healthcare associated. We found weak evidence to support symptomatic patient-to-HCP transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and stronger evidence for HCP-to-HCP transmission. Large genomic clusters without plausible epidemiologic links were identified, reflecting the limited utility of genomic surveillance alone to characterize chains of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during extensive community spread.
Background: Identification of hospitalized patients with enteric multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) carriage, combined with implementation of targeted infection control interventions, may help reduce MDRO transmission. However, the optimal surveillance approach has not been defined. We sought to determine whether daily serial rectal surveillance for MDROs detects more incident cases (acquisition) of MDRO colonization in medical intensive care unit (MICU) patients than admission and discharge surveillance alone. Methods: Prospective longitudinal observational single-center study from January 11, 2017, to January 11, 2018. Inclusion criteria were ≥3 consecutive MICU days and ≥2 rectal or stool swabs per MICU admission. Daily rectal or stool swabs were collected from patients and cultured for MDROs, including vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE), third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Enterobacterales (3GCR), and extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing Enterobacterales (ESBL-E) (as a subset of 3GCR). MDRO detection at any time during the MICU stay was used to calculate prevalent colonization. Incident colonization (acquisition) was defined as new detection of an MDRO after at least 1 prior negative swab. We then determined the proportion of prevalent and incident cases detected by daily testing that were also detected when only first swabs (admission) and last swabs (discharge) were tested. Data were analyzed using SAS version 9.4 software. Results: In total, 939 MICU stays of 842 patients were analyzed. Patient characteristics were median age 64 years (interquartile range [IQR], 51–74), median MICU length of stay 5 days (IQR, 3–8), median number of samples per admission 3 (IQR, 2–5), and median Charlson index 4 (IQR, 2–7). Prevalent colonization with any MDRO was detected by daily swabbing in 401 stays (42.7%). Compared to daily serial swabbing, an admission- and discharge-only approach detected ≥86% of MDRO cases (ie, overall prevalent MDRO colonization). Detection of incident MDRO colonization by an admission- or discharge-only approach would have detected fewer cases than daily swabbing (Figure 1); ≥34% of total MDRO acquisitions would have been missed. Conclusions: Testing patients upon admission and discharge to an MICU may fail to detect MDRO acquisition in more than one-third of patients, thereby reducing the effectiveness of MDRO control programs that are targeted against known MDRO carriers. The poor performance of a single discharge swab may be due to intermittent or low-level MDRO shedding, inadequate sampling, or transient MDRO colonization. Additional research is needed to determine the optimal surveillance approach of enteric MDRO carriage.
Infectious diseases outbreaks are a cause of significant morbidity and mortality among hospitalized patients. Infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are particularly vulnerable to infectious complications during hospitalization. Thus, rapid recognition of and response to outbreaks in the NICU is essential. At Rush University Medical Center, whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has been utilized since early 2016 as an adjunctive method for outbreak investigations. The use of WGS and potential lessons learned are illustrated for 3 different NICU outbreak investigations involving methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), group B Streptococcus (GBS), and Serratia marcescens. WGS has contributed to the understanding of the epidemiology of outbreaks in our NICU, and it has also provided further insight in settings of unusual diseases or when lower-resolution typing methods have been inadequate. WGS has emerged as the new gold standard for evaluating strain relatedness. As barriers to implementation are overcome, WGS has the potential to transform outbreak investigation in healthcare settings.
The euarthropod Luohuilinella deletres sp. nov. is described from rare material from the Chengjiang biota, Cambrian Series 2, Stage 3, of Yunnan Province, China. Phylogenetic analysis recovers a xandarellid affinity for L. deletres, representing only the fifth described species of this clade. L. deletres possesses a head shield that is about one-fifth of the total body length and a trunk with 30 tergites, the reduced anterior-most tergite and terminal three tergites lacking pleural elongations. Anteriorly situated notches in the head shield are associated with stalked eyes, in contrast to the more posterior, enclosed eye slits present in Xandarella. Posterior to the antennae there are at least 11 pairs of biramous appendages preserved, including three pairs in the head. The morphology of the midline gut of L. deletres, in which lateral, unbranched diverticula are wider towards the front of the body, is a characteristic also found in various trilobites. The dorsoventrally flattened exoskeleton suggests a benthic or nektobenthic mode of life for L. deletres, as for other trilobitomorphs, and it likely used its well-developed anteriorly positioned eyes for searching out food, either to scavenge or to find prey.
Objectives: Some countries make considerable effort to involve patients and patient groups in their health technology assessment (HTA) processes; others are only just considering or are yet to consider patient involvement in HTA.
Methods: This commentary offers four arguments why patient involvement should be prioritized by those HTA agencies that do not yet involve patients: (1) from a patients’ rights perspective, (2) based on patient and community values, (3) centering on evidentiary contributions, and (4) from a methodological perspective.
Results: The first argument builds on the Alma-Ata Declaration, which holds that patients have a right and duty to have a say in the planning and delivery of their health care, individually and collectively. Where HTA is used to determine access to technologies and services, we argue that patients have a right to be heard. The second argues that decisions about treatments and services need to be aligned with the core values and morals of the patients whom the health system serves. The third argues that patients have unique knowledge and insights about living with a health condition and their needs for services and treatments regarding that condition, which can add to the knowledge base and value of the HTA process. The fourth argues that involvement of patients can facilitate methodological advancement of HTA, in areas such as early scientific advice and managed entry with evidence development.
Conclusions: An HTA process that includes patient perspectives can, therefore, provide added value to patients, policy makers and healthcare professionals alike.
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