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Between 2010 and 2012, 3 outbreaks of nosocomial infections in German neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) attracted considerable public interest. Headlines on national television channels and in newspapers had important consequences for the involved institutions and a negative impact on the relationship between families and staff in many German NICUs.
To determine whether NICU outbreaks reported in the media influenced provider behavior in the community of neonatal care and led to more third-line antibiotic prescribing.
Observational cohort study.
To investigate secular trends, we evaluated data for very-low-birth-weight infants (VLBWIs, birth weight <1,500 g) enrolled in the German Neonatal Network (GNN) between 2009 and 2014 (N=10,253). For outbreak effects, we specifically analyzed data for VLBWIs discharged 6 months before (n=2,428) and 6 months after outbreaks (n=2,508).
The exposure of all VLBWIs to third-line antibiotics increased after outbreaks (19.4% before vs 22.5% after; P=.007). This trend particularly affected male infants (4.6% increase; P=.005) and infants with a birth weight between 1,000 and 1,499 g (3.5% increase; P=.001)
In a logistic regression analysis, month of discharge as linear variable of time was associated with increased exposure to third-line antibiotics (odds ratio [OR], 1.01; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.009–1.014; P<.001), and discharge within the 6-month period after outbreak reports independently contributed to this long-term trend (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.017–1.270; P=.024).
Media reports directly affect medical practice, eg, overuse of third-line antibiotics. Future communication and management strategies must be based on objective dialogues between the scientific community and investigative journalists.
To compare sharp-device injury rates among hospital staff nurses in 4 Western countries.
Acute-care hospital nurses in the United States (Pennsylvania), Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario), the United Kingdom (England and Scotland), and Germany.
A total of 34,318 acute-care hospital staff nurses in 1998-1999.
Survey-based rates of retrospectively-reported needlestick injuries in the previous year for medical-surgical unit nurses ranged from 146 injuries per 1,000 full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) in the US sample to 488 injuries per 1,000 FTEs in Germany. In the United States and Canada, very high rates of sharp-device injury among nurses working in the operating room and/or perioperative care were observed (255 and 569 injuries per 1,000 FTEs per year, respectively). Reported use of safety-engineered sharp devices was considerably lower in Germany and Canada than it was in the United States. Some variation in injury rates was seen across nursing specialties among North American nurses, mostly in line with the frequency of risky procedures in the nurses' work.
Studies conducted in the United States over the past 15 years suggest that the rates of sharp-device injuries to front-line nurses have fallen over the past decade, probably at least in part because of increased awareness and adoption of safer technologies, suggesting that regulatory strategies have improved nurse safety. The much higher injury rate in Germany may be due to slow adoption of safety devices. Wider diffusion of safer technologies, as well as introduction and stronger enforcement of occupational safety and health regulations, are likely to decrease sharp-device injury rates in various countries even further.
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