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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 November 2020
Background: Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are an important cause of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in human hospitals. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) made CRE reportable in April 2018. In May 2019, the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital (MJRVH) reported an NDM-5 Escherichia coli cluster in companion animals to the PDPH. In total, 15 infected animals (14 dogs and 1 cat) were reported between July 2018 and June 2019, with no new infections after June 2019. Limited literature is available on the prevalence of CRE in companion animals, and recommendations for dealing with CRE infections currently target human healthcare settings. Methods: A collaborative containment response included assessing interspecies transmission to veterinary staff and a comprehensive evaluation of the infection control program at MJRVH. MJRVH notified all owners of affected animals verbally and via notification letters with PDPH recommendations for CRE colonization screening of high-risk individuals. CRE screening of exposed high-risk employees was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania Occupational Health service and PDPH. Human rectal swabs were analyzed at the Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network (ARLN) Maryland Laboratory. PDPH were invited to conduct an onsite infection control assessment and to suggest improvements. Results: No pet owners self-identified in high-risk groups to be screened. In total, 10 high-risk staff were screened, and no colonized individuals were detected. Recommendations made by the PDPH to MJRVH included improvement of infection prevention and control policies (eg, consolidation of the infection control manual and identification of lead staff member), improvement in hand hygiene (HH) compliance (eg, increasing amount of HH supplies), improvement of environment of care (eg, decluttering and evaluation of mulched animal relief area), and improvement of respiratory care processes (eg, standardization of care policies). MJRVH made substantial improvements across recommendation areas including revision of infection control manual, creation of a full-time infection preventionist position, individual alcohol hand sanitizers for patient cages, and environmental decluttering and decontamination. PDPH and MJRVH maintained frequent communication about infection control improvements. Conclusions: No positive transmission to high-risk staff members suggest that, like in human healthcare facilities, transmission of CRE to caretakers may not be a common event. Stronger communication and collaboration is required from Departments of Public Health (DPH) to the veterinary profession regarding the reporting requirements of emerging pathogens such as CRE. Veterinary facilities should view DPH as a valuable resource for recommendations to fill in gaps that exist in infection control “best practices,” particularly for novel pathogens in veterinary settings.
Disclosures: Jane M. Gould reports that her spouse receives salary from Incyte.
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