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Candida auris is an emerging fungal pathogen that is often resistant to major classes of antifungal drugs. It is considered a serious global health threat because it can cause severe infections with frequent mortality in more than a dozen countries. It can survive on healthcare environmental surfaces for at least 7 days and can cause outbreaks in healthcare facilities. Clearly, infection prevention strategies, such as surface disinfection, will be essential to controlling Candida transmission. Unfortunately, data on the activity of antiseptics and disinfectants used in healthcare to inactivate this pathogen are limited.1–5 In this study, we investigated 12 different disinfectants (ie, 8 low- and intermediate-level disinfectants in 2 dilutions of sodium hypochlorite and 5 high-level disinfectants/chemical sterilants) and 9 antiseptics commonly used in healthcare facilities for their antimicrobial activity against C. auris and C. albicans.
Hospital environmental surfaces are frequently contaminated by microorganisms. However, the causal mechanism of bacterial contamination of the environment as a source of transmission is still debated. This prospective study was performed to characterize the nature of multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) transmission between the environment and patients using standard microbiological and molecular techniques.
Prospective cohort study at 2 academic medical centers.
A prospective multicenter study to characterize the nature of bacterial transfer events between patients and environmental surfaces in rooms that previously housed patients with 1 of 4 ‘marker’ MDROs: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant enterococci, Clostridium difficile, and MDR Acinetobacter baumannii. Environmental and patient microbiological samples were obtained on admission into a freshly disinfected inpatient room. Repeat samples from room surfaces and patients were taken on days 3 and 7 and each week the patient stayed in the same room. The bacterial identity, antibiotic susceptibility, and molecular sequences were compared between organisms found in the environment samples and patient sources.
We enrolled 80 patient–room admissions; 9 of these patients (11.3%) were asymptomatically colonized with MDROs at study entry. Hospital room surfaces were contaminated with MDROs despite terminal disinfection in 44 cases (55%). Microbiological Bacterial Transfer events either to the patient, the environment, or both occurred in 12 patient encounters (18.5%) from the microbiologically evaluable cohort.
Microbiological Bacterial Transfer events between patients and the environment were observed in 18.5% of patient encounters and occurred early in the admission. This study suggests that research on prevention methods beyond the standard practice of room disinfection at the end of a patient’s stay is needed to better prevent acquisition of MDROs through the environment.
We evaluated the ability of high-intensity visible violet light with a peak output of 405 nm to kill epidemiologically important pathogens. The high irradiant light significantly reduced both vegetative bacteria and spores at some time points over a 72-hour exposure period.
In this prospective study, we monitored 4 epidemiologically important pathogens (EIPs): methicillin-resistane Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), Clostridium difficile, and multidrug-resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter to assess the effectiveness of 3 enhanced disinfection strategies for terminal room disinfection against standard practice. Our data demonstrated that a decrease in room contamination with EIPs of 94% was associated with a 35% decrease in subsequent patient colonization and/or infection.
We measured the disinfection of MRSA and Clostridium difficile spores using an ultraviolet C (UV-C) device, and we correlated those results to measurements and computer simulations of UV-C surface intensity. The results demonstrate both large differences in UV light intensity across various surfaces and how this leads to significant differences in disinfection.
To summarize and discuss logistic and administrative challenges we encountered during the Benefits of Enhanced Terminal Room (BETR) Disinfection Study and lessons learned that are pertinent to future utilization of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection devices in other hospitals
Multicenter cluster randomized trial
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS
Nine hospitals in the southeastern United States
All participating hospitals developed systems to implement 4 different strategies for terminal room disinfection. We measured compliance with disinfection strategy, barriers to implementation, and perceptions from nurse managers and environmental services (EVS) supervisors throughout the 28-month trial.
Implementation of enhanced terminal disinfection with UV disinfection devices provides unique challenges, including time pressures from bed control personnel, efficient room identification, negative perceptions from nurse managers, and discharge volume. In the course of the BETR Disinfection Study, we utilized several strategies to overcome these barriers: (1) establishing safety as the priority; (2) improving communication between EVS, bed control, and hospital administration; (3) ensuring availability of necessary resources; and (4) tracking and providing feedback on compliance. Using these strategies, we deployed ultraviolet (UV) disinfection devices in 16,220 (88%) of 18,411 eligible rooms during our trial (median per hospital, 89%; IQR, 86%–92%).
Implementation of enhanced terminal room disinfection strategies using UV devices requires recognition and mitigation of 2 key barriers: (1) timely and accurate identification of rooms that would benefit from enhanced terminal disinfection and (2) overcoming time constraints to allow EVS cleaning staff sufficient time to properly employ enhanced terminal disinfection methods.
Burn patients are particularly vulnerable to infection, and an estimated half of all burn deaths are due to infections. This study explored risk factors for healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in adult burn patients.
Retrospective cohort study.
Tertiary-care burn center.
Adults (≥18 years old) admitted with burn injury for at least 2 days between 2004 and 2013.
HAIs were determined in real-time by infection preventionists using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate the direct effect of each risk factor on time to HAI, with inverse probability of censor weights to address potentially informative censoring. Effect measure modification by burn size was also assessed.
Overall, 4,426 patients met inclusion criteria, and 349 (7.9%) patients had at least 1 HAI within 60 days of admission. Compared to <5% total body surface area (TBSA), patients with 5%–10% TBSA were almost 3 times as likely to acquire an HAI (hazard ratio [HR], 2.92; 95% CI, 1.63–5.23); patients with 10%–20% TBSA were >6 times as likely to acquire an HAI (HR, 6.38; 95% CI, 3.64–11.17); and patients with >20% TBSA were >10 times as likely to acquire an HAI (HR, 10.33; 95% CI, 5.74–18.60). Patients with inhalational injury were 1.5 times as likely to acquire an HAI (HR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.17–2.22). The effect of inhalational injury (P=.09) appeared to be larger among patients with ≤20% TBSA.
Larger burns and inhalational injury were associated with increased incidence of HAIs. Future research should use these risk factors to identify potential interventions.
To determine whether antimicrobial-impregnated textiles decrease the acquisition of pathogens by healthcare provider (HCP) clothing.
We completed a 3-arm randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of 2 types of antimicrobial-impregnated clothing compared to standard HCP clothing. Cultures were obtained from each nurse participant, the healthcare environment, and patients during each shift. The primary outcome was the change in total contamination on nurse scrubs, measured as the sum of colony-forming units (CFU) of bacteria.
PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING
Nurses working in medical and surgical ICUs in a 936-bed tertiary-care hospital.
Nurse subjects wore standard cotton-polyester surgical scrubs (control), scrubs that contained a complex element compound with a silver-alloy embedded in its fibers (Scrub 1), or scrubs impregnated with an organosilane-based quaternary ammonium and a hydrophobic fluoroacrylate copolymer emulsion (Scrub 2). Nurse participants were blinded to scrub type and randomly participated in all 3 arms during 3 consecutive 12-hour shifts in the intensive care unit.
In total, 40 nurses were enrolled and completed 3 shifts. Analyses of 2,919 cultures from the environment and 2,185 from HCP clothing showed that scrub type was not associated with a change in HCP clothing contamination (P=.70). Mean difference estimates were 0.118 for the Scrub 1 arm (95% confidence interval [CI], −0.206 to 0.441; P=.48) and 0.009 for the Scrub 2 rm (95% CI, −0.323 to 0.342; P=.96) compared to the control. HCP became newly contaminated with important pathogens during 19 of the 120 shifts (16%).
Antimicrobial-impregnated scrubs were not effective at reducing HCP contamination. However, the environment is an important source of HCP clothing contamination.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a frequent complication of severe burn injury. Comparing the current ventilator-associated event-possible VAP definition to the pre-2013 VAP definition, we identified considerably fewer VAP cases in our burn ICU. The new definition does not capture many VAP cases that would have been reported using the pre-2013 definition.
Here, we demonstrate the enhanced imaging capabilities of an aberration corrected scanning transmission electron microscope to advance the understanding of ion track structure in pyrochlore structured materials (i.e., Gd2Ti2O7 and Gd2TiZrO7). Track formation occurs due to the inelastic transfer of energy from incident ions to electrons, and atomic-level details of track morphology as a function of energy-loss are revealed in the present work. A comparison of imaging details obtained by varying collection angles of detectors is discussed in the present work. A quantitative analysis of phase identification using high-angle annular dark field imaging is performed on the ion tracks. Finally, a novel 3-dimensional track reconstruction method is provided that is based on depth-dependent imaging of the ion tracks. The technique is used in extracting the atomic-level details of nanoscale features, such as the disordered ion tracks, which are embedded in relatively thicker matrix. Another relevance of the method is shown by measuring the tilt of the ion tracks relative to the electron beam incidence that helps in knowing the structure and geometry of ion tracks quantitatively.
Historically, alloy development with better radiation performance has been focused on traditional alloys with one or two principal element(s) and minor alloying elements, where enhanced radiation resistance depends on microstructural or nanoscale features to mitigate displacement damage. In sharp contrast to traditional alloys, recent advances of single-phase concentrated solid solution alloys (SP-CSAs) have opened up new frontiers in materials research. In these alloys, a random arrangement of multiple elemental species on a crystalline lattice results in disordered local chemical environments and unique site-to-site lattice distortions. Based on closely integrated computational and experimental studies using a novel set of SP-CSAs in a face-centered cubic structure, we have explicitly demonstrated that increasing chemical disorder can lead to a substantial reduction in electron mean free paths, as well as electrical and thermal conductivity, which results in slower heat dissipation in SP-CSAs. The chemical disorder also has a significant impact on defect evolution under ion irradiation. Considerable improvement in radiation resistance is observed with increasing chemical disorder at electronic and atomic levels. The insights into defect dynamics may provide a basis for understanding elemental effects on evolution of radiation damage in irradiated materials and may inspire new design principles of radiation-tolerant structural alloys for advanced energy systems.
Ebola virus disease (EVD) places healthcare personnel (HCP) at high risk for infection during patient care, and personal protective equipment (PPE) is critical. Protocols for EVD PPE doffing have not been validated for prevention of viral self-contamination. Using surrogate viruses (non-enveloped MS2 and enveloped Φ6), we assessed self-contamination of skin and clothes when trained HCP doffed EVD PPE using a standardized protocol.
A total of 15 HCP donned EVD PPE for this study. Virus was applied to PPE, and a trained monitor guided them through the doffing protocol. Of the 15 participants, 10 used alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) for glove and hand hygiene and 5 used hypochlorite for glove hygiene and ABHR for hand hygiene. Inner gloves, hands, face, and scrubs were sampled after doffing.
After doffing, MS2 virus was detected on the inner glove worn on the dominant hand for 8 of 15 participants, on the non-dominant inner glove for 6 of 15 participants, and on scrubs for 2 of 15 participants. All MS2 on inner gloves was observed when ABHR was used for glove hygiene; none was observed when hypochlorite was used. When using hypochlorite for glove hygiene, 1 participant had MS2 on hands, and 1 had MS2 on scrubs.
A structured doffing protocol using a trained monitor and ABHR protects against enveloped virus self-contamination. Non-enveloped virus (MS2) contamination was detected on inner gloves, possibly due to higher resistance to ABHR. Doffing protocols protective against all viruses need to incorporate highly effective glove and hand hygiene agents.