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Background: The need for screening and isolation for patients colonized with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) remains controversial. In this study, we examined the effects of discontinuation and reinstatement of these practices on VRE infection and colonization incidence within a multisite, tertiary-care hospital center, including its effects on specific at-risk groups. Methods: We retrospective analyzed VRE clinical isolate, infection, and bacteremia incidence rates at our hospital (1) prior to discontinuation of universal screening and isolation (January 2010–June 2012), (2) during discontinuation (July 2012–April 2017), and (3) after reinstatement of screening and isolation in high-risk wards (intensive care and multiple-organ transplant units, June 2017–April 2019). Monthly incidence rates were calculated for each of 3 sites at our tertiary-care hospital: site A, which includes the transplant program, site B, an adult cancer hospital, and site C, which includes orthopedic and neurology programs. To understand the differential effect of screening and isolation on various risk groups, incidence rates were also calculated for individual programs within our hospital, including medicine, surgery, intensive care, oncology, and transplant programs. Results: During the period of study, 3,167 cases of VRE isolates were identified. Patient colonizations of VRE across the institution increased throughout the study period, with the monthly number of newly colonized patients increasing from 10.4 in the first period of study to 20.6 in the last period. The overall VRE clinical isolate, infection, and bacteremia incidence rates did not increase following the cessation of VRE screening and isolation precautions; however, a significant increase was seen among the patients at site B (Fig. 1, infection rates). Furthermore, there was a significant decrease in VRE clinical isolate, infection, and bacteremia incidence following the reinstatement of screening in the ICU and transplant programs at site A, but no effect was seen in the other programs (Fig. 2, infection rates). Conclusions: The risk associated with discontinuing VRE screening and isolation measures appears depend on the subgroup of patients within a hospital environment. Furthermore, risk-based or unit-based VRE screening and isolation appears to be effective at controlling VRE incidence, even after measures had previously been discontinued. Additional study of other inpatient settings is warranted to determine the effects of screening and isolation for VRE on other patient subgroups.
Disclosures: Susy Hota reports contract research for Finch Therapeutics.
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