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We compared the effectiveness of 4 sampling methods to recover Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Clostridioides difficile from contaminated environmental surfaces: cotton swabs, RODAC culture plates, sponge sticks with manual agitation, and sponge sticks with a stomacher. Organism type was the most important factor in bacterial recovery.
The rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) required swift preparation to protect healthcare personnel (HCP) and patients, especially considering shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). Due to the lack of a pre-existing biocontainment unit, we needed to develop a novel approach to placing patients in isolation cohorts while working with the pre-existing physical space.
To prevent disease transmission to non–COVID-19 patients and HCP caring for COVID-19 patients, to optimize PPE usage, and to provide a comfortable and safe working environment.
An interdisciplinary workgroup developed a combination of approaches to convert existing spaces into COVID-19 containment units with high-risk zones (HRZs). We developed standard workflow and visual management in conjunction with updated staff training and workflows. The infection prevention team created PPE standard practices for ease of use, conservation, and staff safety.
The interventions resulted in 1 possible case of patient-to-HCP transmission and zero cases of patient-to-patient transmission. PPE usage decreased with the HRZ model while maintaining a safe environment of care. Staff on the COVID-19 units were extremely satisfied with PPE availability (76.7%) and efforts to protect them from COVID-19 (72.7%). Moreover, 54.8% of HCP working in the COVID-19 unit agreed that PPE monitors played an essential role in staff safety.
The HRZ model of containment unit is an effective method to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with several benefits. It is easily implemented and scaled to accommodate census changes. Our experience suggests that other institutions do not need to modify existing physical structures to create similarly protective spaces.
The surface environment in rooms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients may be persistently contaminated despite disinfection. A continuously active disinfectant demonstrated excellent sustained antiviral activity following a 48-hour period of wear and abrasion exposures with reinoculations. Reductions of >4-log10 were achieved within a 1-minute contact time for severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the human coronavirus, 229E.
We evaluated the ability of an ultraviolet-C (UV-C) room decontamination device to kill Candida auris and C. albicans. With an organic challenge (fetal calf serum), the UV-C device demonstrated the following log10 reductions for C. auris of 4.57 and for C. albicans of 5.26 with direct line of sight, and log10 reductions for C. auris of 2.41 and for C. ablicans of 3.96 with indirect line of sight.
We evaluated the robustness of sterilization technologies when spores and bacteria were placed on “dirty” instruments and overlaid with blood. The results illustrate that steam sterilization is the most effective sterilization technology with the largest margin of safety, followed by ethylene oxide and hydrogen peroxide gas plasma.
SHEA endorses adhering to the recommendations by the CDC and ACIP for immunizations of all children and adults. All persons providing clinical care should be familiar with these recommendations and should routinely assess immunization compliance of their patients and strongly recommend all routine immunizations to patients. All healthcare personnel (HCP) should be immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases as recommended by the CDC/ACIP (unless immunity is demonstrated by another recommended method). SHEA endorses the policy that immunization should be a condition of employment or functioning (students, contract workers, volunteers, etc) at a healthcare facility. Only recognized medical contraindications should be accepted for not receiving recommended immunizations.
To compare the microbicidal activity of low-temperature sterilization technologies (vaporized hydrogen peroxide [VHP], ethylene oxide [ETO], and hydrogen peroxide gas plasma [HPGP]) to steam sterilization in the presence of salt and serum to simulate inadequate precleaning.
Test carriers were inoculated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, Mycobacterium terrae, Bacillus atrophaeus spores, Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores, or Clostridiodes difficile spores in the presence of salt and serum and then subjected to 4 sterilization technologies: steam, ETO, VHP and HPGP.
Steam, ETO, and HPGP sterilization techniques were capable of inactivating the test organisms on stainless steel carriers with a failure rate of 0% (0 of 220), 1.9% (6 of 310), and 1.9% (5 of 270), respectively. The failure rate for VHP was 76.3% (206 of 270).
Steam sterilization is the most effective and had the largest margin of safety, followed by ETO and HPGP, but VHP showed much less efficacy.
Glyphosate-resistant (GR) canola is a widely grown crop across western Canada and has quickly become a prolific volunteer weed. Glyphosate-resistant soybean is rapidly gaining acreage in western Canada. Thus, there is a need to evaluate herbicide options to manage volunteer GR canola in GR soybean crops. We conducted an experiment to evaluate the efficacy of various PRE and POST herbicides applied sequentially to volunteer GR canola and to evaluate soybean injury caused by these herbicides. Trials were conducted across Saskatchewan and Manitoba in 2014 and 2015. All treatments provided a range of suppression (>70%) to control (>80%) of volunteer canola. All treatments with the exception of the glyphosate-treated control reduced aboveground canola biomass by an average of 96%. As well, canola seed contamination was reduced from 36% to less than 5% when a PRE and POST herbicide were both used. Moreover, all combinations of herbicides used had excellent crop safety (<10%). All PRE and POST herbicide combinations provided better control of volunteer canola compared with the glyphosate-only control, but tribenuron followed by bentazon and tribenuron followed by imazamox plus bentazon provided solutions that were low cost, currently available (registered in western Canada), and had the potential to minimize development of herbicide resistance in other weeds.
Clonal Mycobacterium mucogenicum isolates (determined by molecular typing) were recovered from 19 bronchoscopic specimens from 15 patients. None of these patients had evidence of mycobacterial infection. Laboratory culture materials and bronchoscopes were negative for Mycobacteria. This pseudo-outbreak was caused by contaminated ice used to provide bronchoscopic lavage. Control was achieved by transitioning to sterile ice.
In recent years, soybean acreage has increased significantly in western Canada. One of the challenges associated with growing soybean in western Canada is the control of volunteer glyphosate-resistant (GR) canola, because most soybean cultivars are also glyphosate resistant. The objective of this research was to determine the impact of soybean seeding rate and planting date on competition with volunteer canola. We also attempted to determine how high seeding rate could be raised while still being economically feasible for producers. Soybean was seeded at five different seeding rates (targeted 10, 20, 40, 80, and 160 plants m−2) and three planting dates (targeted mid-May, late May, and early June) at four sites across western Canada in 2014 and 2015. Soybean yield consistently increased with higher seeding rates, whereas volunteer canola biomass decreased. Planting date generally produced variable results across site-years. An economic analysis determined that the optimal rate was 40 to 60 plants m−2, depending on market price, and the optimal planting date range was from May 20 to June 1.
The effort to develop metallic alloys with increased structural strength and improved radiation performance has focused on the incorporation of either solute elements or microstructural inhomogeneities to mitigate damage. The recent discovery and development of single-phase concentrated solid-solution alloys (SP-CSAs) has prompted fundamental questions that challenge established theories and models currently applicable to conventional alloys. The current understanding of electronic and atomic effects, defect evolution, and microstructure progression suggests that radiation energy dissipates in SP-CSAs at different interaction strengths via energy carriers (electrons, phonons, and magnons). Modification of electronic- and atomic-level heterogeneities and tailoring of atomic transport processes can be realized through tuning of the chemical complexity of SP-CSAs by the selection of appropriate elements and their concentrations. Fundamental understanding of controlling energy dissipation via site-to-site chemical complexity reveals new design principles for predictive discovery and guided synthesis of new alloys with targeted functionalities, including radiation tolerance.
A novel disinfectant studied using an EPA protocol demonstrated sustained antimicrobial activity (ie, 3–5 log10 reduction) in 5 minutes after 24 hours for Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, Candida auris, carbapenem-resistant Escherichia coli and antibiotic-susceptible E. coli, and Enterobacter spp. Only ∼2 log10 reduction occurred with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacter spp and K. pneumoniae, and antibiotic-susceptible K. pneumoniae.
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.