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Nosocomial outbreaks leading to healthcare worker (HCW) infection and death have been increasingly reported during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
We implemented a strategy to reduce nosocomial acquisition.
We summarized our experience in implementing a multipronged infection control strategy in the first 300 days (December 31, 2019, to October 25, 2020) of the COVID-19 pandemic under the governance of Hospital Authority in Hong Kong.
Of 5,296 COVID-19 patients, 4,808 (90.8%) were diagnosed in the first pandemic wave (142 cases), second wave (896 cases), and third wave (3,770 cases) in Hong Kong. With the exception of 1 patient who died before admission, all COVID-19 patients were admitted to the public healthcare system for a total of 78,834 COVID-19 patient days. The median length of stay was 13 days (range, 1–128). Of 81,955 HCWs, 38 HCWs (0.05%; 2 doctors and 11 nurses and 25 nonprofessional staff) acquired COVID-19. With the exception of 5 of 38 HCWs (13.2%) infected by HCW-to-HCW transmission in the nonclinical settings, no HCW had documented transmission from COVID-19 patients in the hospitals. The incidence of COVID-19 among HCWs was significantly lower than that of our general population (0.46 per 1,000 HCWs vs 0.71 per 1,000 population; P = .008). The incidence of COVID-19 among professional staff was significantly lower than that of nonprofessional staff (0.30 vs 0.66 per 1,000 full-time equivalent; P = .022).
A hospital-based approach spared our healthcare service from being overloaded. With our multipronged infection control strategy, no nosocomial COVID-19 in was identified among HCWs in the first 300 days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong.
The relationship between the subtypes of psychotic experiences (PEs) and common mental health symptoms remains unclear. The current study aims to establish the 12-month prevalence of PEs in a representative sample of community-dwelling Chinese population in Hong Kong and explore the relationship of types of PEs and common mental health symptoms.
This is a population-based two-phase household survey of Chinese population in Hong Kong aged 16–75 (N = 5719) conducted between 2010 and 2013 and a 2-year follow-up study of PEs positive subjects (N = 152). PEs were measured with Psychosis Screening Questionnaire (PSQ) and subjects who endorsed any item on the PSQ without a clinical diagnosis of psychotic disorder were considered as PE-positive. Types of PEs were characterized using a number of PEs (single v. multiple) and latent class analysis. All PE-positive subjects were assessed with common mental health symptoms and suicidal ideations at baseline and 2-year follow-up. PE status was also assessed at 2-year follow-up.
The 12-month prevalence of PEs in Hong Kong was 2.7% with 21.1% had multiple PEs. Three latent classes of PEs were identified: hallucination, paranoia and mixed. Multiple PEs and hallucination latent class of PEs were associated with higher levels of common mental health symptoms. PE persistent rate at 2-year follow-up was 15.1%. Multiple PEs was associated with poorer mental health at 2-year follow-up.
Results highlighted the transient and heterogeneous nature of PEs, and that multiple PEs and hallucination subtype of PEs may be specific indices of poorer common mental health.
To determine the efficacy of 2 types of antimicrobial privacy curtains in clinical settings and the costs involved in replacing standard curtains with antimicrobial curtains.
A prospective, open-labeled, multicenter study with a follow-up duration of 6 months.
This study included 12 rooms of patients with multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) (668 patient bed days) and 10 cubicles (8,839 patient bed days) in the medical, surgical, neurosurgical, orthopedics, and rehabilitation units of 10 hospitals.
Culture samples were collected from curtain surfaces twice a week for 2 weeks, followed by weekly intervals.
With a median hanging time of 173 days, antimicrobial curtain B (quaternary ammonium chlorides [QAC] plus polyorganosiloxane) was highly effective in reducing the bioburden (colony-forming units/100 cm2, 1 vs 57; P < .001) compared with the standard curtain. The percentages of MDRO contamination were also significantly lower on antimicrobial curtain B than the standard curtain: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, 0.5% vs 24% (P < .001); carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter spp, 0.2% vs 22.1% (P < .001); multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter spp, 0% vs 13.2% (P < .001). Notably, the median time to first contamination by MDROs was 27.6 times longer for antimicrobial curtain B than for the standard curtain (138 days vs 5 days; P = .001).
Antimicrobial curtain B (QAC plus polyorganosiloxane) but not antimicrobial curtain A (built-in silver) effectively reduced the microbial burden and MDRO contamination compared with the standard curtain, even after extended use in an active clinical setting. The antimicrobial curtain provided an opportunity to avert indirect costs related to curtain changing and laundering in addition to improving patient safety.
A liver transplant recipient developed hospital-acquired symptomatic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 6a infection 14 months post transplant.
Standard outbreak investigation.
Patient chart review, interviews of patients and staff, observational study of patient care practices, environmental surveillance, blood collection simulation experiments, and phylogenetic study of HCV strains using partial envelope gene sequences (E1–E2) of HCV genotype 6a strains from the suspected source patient, the environment, and the index patient were performed.
Investigations and data review revealed no further cases of HCV genotype 6a infection in the transplant unit. However, a suspected source with a high HCV load was identified. HCV genotype 6a was found in a contaminated reusable blood-collection tube holder with barely visible blood and was identified as the only shared item posing risk of transmission to the index case patient. Also, 14 episodes of sequential blood collection from the source patient and the index case patient were noted on the computerized time log of the laboratory barcoding system during their 13 days of cohospitalization in the liver transplant ward. Disinfection of the tube holders was not performed after use between patients. Blood collection simulation experiments showed that HCV and technetium isotope contaminating the tip of the sleeve capping the sleeved-needle can reflux back from the vacuum-specimen tube side to the patient side.
A reusable blood-collection tube holder without disinfection between patients can cause a nosocomial HCV infection. Single-use disposable tube holders should be used according to the recommendations by Occupational Safety and Health Administration and World Health Organization.
To determine the prevalence, risk factors, and molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization at the time of admission to acute medical units and to develop a cost-effective screening strategy.
Nasal and groin screening cultures were performed for patients at admission to 15 acute medical units in all 7 catchment regions in Hong Kong. All MRSA isolates were subjected to spa typing.
The overall carriage rate of MRSA was 14.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 13.5–15.1). MRSA history within the past 12 months (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 4.60 [95% CI, 3.28–6.44]), old age home residence (adjusted OR, 3.32 [95% CI, 2.78–3.98]), and bedbound state (adjusted OR, 2.19 [95% CI, 1.75–2.74]) were risk factors selected as MRSA screening criteria that provided reasonable sensitivity (67.4%) and specificity (81.8%), with an affordable burden (25.2%). spa typing showed that 89.5% (848/948) of the isolates were clustered into the 4 spa clonal complexes (CCs): spa CC1081, spa CC032, spa CC002, and spa CC4677. Patients colonized with MRSA spa types t1081 (OR, 1.77 [95% CI, 1.49–2.09]) and t4677 (OR, 3.09 [95% CI, 1.54–6.02]) were more likely to be old age home residents.
MRSA carriage at admission to acute medical units was prevalent in Hong Kong. Our results suggest that targeted screening is a pragmatic approach to increase the detection of the MRSA reservoir. Molecular typing suggests that old age homes are epicenters in amplifying the MRSA burden in acute hospitals. Enhancement of infection control measures in old age homes is important for the control of MRSA in hospitals.