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To evaluate the use of a perianal swab to detect CDI.
A perianal swab was collected from each inpatient with a positive stool sample for C. difficile (by polymerase chain reaction [PCR] test) and was tested for C. difficile by PCR and by culture. The variables evaluated included demographics, CDI severity, bathing before perianal swab collection, hours between stool sample and perianal swab, cycle threshold (Ct) to PCR positivity, and doses of CDI treatment before stool sample and before perianal swab.
Of 83 perianal swabs, 59 (71.1%) tested positive for C. difficile by PCR when perianal swabs were collected an average of 21 hours after the stool sample. Compared with the respective stool sample, the perianal sample was less likely to grow C. difficile (P=.005) and had a higher PCR Ct (P<.001). A direct, significant but weak correlation was detected between the Ct for a positive perianal sample and the respective stool sample (r=0.36; P=.006). An inverse dose relationship was detected between PCR positivity and CDI treatment doses before perianal swab collection (P=.27).
Perianal swabs are a simple method to detect C. difficile tcdB gene by PCR, with a sensitivity of 71%. These data were limited because stool samples and perianal swabs were not collected simultaneously. Compared with stool samples, the perianal Ct values and culture results were consistent with a lower bacterial load on the perianal sample due to the receipt of more CDI treatment before collection or unknown factors affecting perianal skin colonization.
To determine the natural history of colonization with vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and resistant gram-negative bacilli among long-term–care facility (LTCF) residents.
Observational cohort study.
A 355-bed LTCF with a ventilator unit and a subacute unit.
Residents with colonization or infection with VRE, MRSA or resistant gram-negative bacilli housed at the LTCF between December 1,1999, and February 29, 2000.
Cultures of clinical and surveillance sites were performed at regular intervals. Charts were reviewed for clinical characteristics associated with clearance of colonization. Kaplan–Meier curves were constructed to analyze the number of days to clearance of colonization.
Forty-nine residents had 65 episodes of colonization (27 VRE, 30 MRSA and 8 resistant gram-negative bacilli). Eighteen (28%) of the episodes cleared. The clearance rate was 2.7 episodes per 1,000 person-days. Clearance occurred significantly more often with resistant gram-negative bacilli colonization compared with VRE or MRSA colonization (6 [75%] vs 12 [21%]; P = .007; relative risk, 4.17; 95% confidence interval, 1.26 to 11.8). There was a trend toward longer use of antimicrobial agents among residents with persistent colonization. Infections occurred most frequently with MRSA The urinary tract was the most common site of infection.
Among LTCF residents, colonization with resistant gram-negative bacilli is four times more likely to clear than colonization with VRE or MRSA. Performance of surveillance cultures at regular intervals may reduce the need for contact precautions for LTCF residents with resistant gram-negative bacilli colonization.
To determine the costs and savings of a 15-component infection control program that reduced transmission of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in an endemic setting.
Evaluation of costs and savings, using historical control data.
Adult oncology unit of a 650-bed hospital.
Patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and solid tumors, excluding bone marrow transplant recipients.
Costs and savings with estimated ranges were calculated. Excess length of stay (LOS) associated with VRE bloodstream infection (BSI) was determined by matching VRE BSI patients with VRE-negative patients by oncology diagnosis. Differences in LOS between the matched groups were evaluated using a mixed-effect analysis of variance linear-regression model.
The cost of enhanced infection control strategies for 1 year was $116,515. VRE BSI was associated with an increased LOS of 13.7 days. The savings associated with fewer VRE BSI ($123,081), fewer patients with VRE colonization ($2,755), and reductions in antimicrobial use ($179,997) totaled $305,833. Estimated ranges of costs and savings for enhanced infection control strategies were $97,939 to $148,883 for costs and $271,531 to $421,461 for savings.
The net savings due to enhanced infection control strategies for 1 year was $189,318. Estimates suggest that these strategies would be cost-beneficial for hospital units where the number of patients with VRE BSI is at least see to nine patients per year or if the savings from fewer VRE BSI patients in combination with decreased antimicrobial use equalled $100,000 to $150,000 per year.
To determine the incidence, duration, and genetic diversity of colonization with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREF).
Oncology unit of a 650-bed university hospital.
Surveillance perianal swab cultures were performed on admission and weekly. The molecular relatedness of VREF isolates was determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and by the hybridization pattern of the vanA resistance determinant.
During 8 months of surveillance, the VREF colonization rate was 16.6 patients per 1,000 patient-hospital days, which was 10.6 times greater than the VREF infection rate. Eighty-six patients with VREF colonization were identified. Colonization persisted for at least 7 weeks in the majority of patients. Of 36 colonized patients discharged from the hospital and then readmitted, an average of 2½ weeks later, 22 (61%) patients still were colonized with VREF. Of the 14 patients who were VREF-negative at readmission, only three patients remained culture-negative throughout hospitalizations. PFGE demonstrated that colonization with the same VREF isolate may persist for at least 1 year, and patients may be colonized with more than one strain of VREF.
VREF colonization is at least 10-fold more prevalent than infection among oncology patients. Colonization often persists throughout lengthy hospitalizations and may continue for long periods following hospitalization.
To determine the proportion of major surgical procedures that involve patients having serologic evidence of infection with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) in a single center in Westchester County, New York.
Blood samples sent for transfusion screening or cross-match were tested blindly for HIV antibody (anti-HIV), HBV core antibody, HBV surface antigen (HBsAg), and HCV antibody (anti-HCV). Demographic characteristics and operation category were correlated with serologic results by univariate and regression analyses.
Of 1,062 operations evaluated, 71 (6.7%, 95% confidence interval [CI95], 5.2% to 8.4%) were performed on patients with either anti-HIV, HBsAg, or anti-HCV. In 17 (1.6%, CI95, .93% to 2.5%) of these operations, the patient evidenced anti-HIV; in 15 (1.4%, CI95, .79% to 2.3%), HBsAg; and in 55 (5.2%, CI95, 3.9% to 6.7%), anti-HCV. Anti-HCV was detected significantly more often than anti-HIV (5.2% versus 1.6%, P<.001) or HBsAg (5.2% versus 1.4%, P<.001). Operations involving women aged 25 to 44 years had the highest proportion with serologic evidence of at least one of the three viruses (17.2%); of anti-HCV (15.3%); and of anti-HIV (6.7%). Logistic regression analysis found that being in the 25- to 44-year age group was associated significantly with infection with any virus (P<.001) and with anti-HCV (P<.001). The strongest logistic predictors of anti-HIV seropositivity were having anti-HCV seropositivity (P<.001), being age 25 to 44 years (P<.001), and having a general surgery operation (P=.002).
The prevalences of serologic evidence of at least one of the three viruses (16.7%), of anti-HCV (14.5%), and of anti-HIV (5.6%) are high in patients aged 25 to 44 years undergoing major surgery at a tertiary-care medical center located in Westchester County, New York. Anti-HCV is more prevalent than anti-HIV or HBsAg and is predictive of anti-HIV seropositivity. Testing for anti-HIV alone would have detected only 24% of patients infected with a bloodborne pathogen. These data strongly underscore the importance of universal precautions.
The epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has provided a major impetus to strengthen infection control practices in health care and laboratory settings. The widespread nature of blood contamination in the hospital environment, however, is often underappreciated. In this study, we evaluated the frequency and origin of blood contamination of medical records.
We reviewed the records of the microbiology laboratory of the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Bronx, New York in order to determine the prevalence, epidemiology and complete antibiotic susceptibility profile of amikacin-resistant aerobic and facultative gram-negative bacilli isolated from clinical specimens submitted for culture between January 1,1980 and May 1,1981. Of more than 5000 gram-negative rods isolated during this 16-month period, 2.8% were determined to be resistant to amikacin by the disc diffusion method. Eighty-eight of the amikacin-resistant organisms were unique isolates derived from cultures on 74 patients located throughout the hospital. Urine (51%) and sputum (27%) were the predominant sources of specimens yielding resistant strains. These organisms represented seven different genera of Enterobacteriaceae (58%) or Pseudomonas aeruginosa (31%) and other glucose non-fermenting species (11%). Resistance to amikacin was usually associated with resistance to gentamicin, tobramycin and most of the other antimicrobials tested. Twenty percent of isolates were susceptible to only a single antimicrobial, and another 5% were resistant to every agent routinely tested. Although geographic clustering of a small number of amikacin-resistant organisms occurred twice (a strain of Proteus mirabilis on the spinal cord injury service and a strain of P. aeruginosa on one medical ward), the vast majority of isolations were consistent with a pattern of endemic resistance.
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