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To describe an outbreak of bacteremia caused by vancomycin-sensitive Enterococcus faecalis (VSEfe).
An investigation by retrospective case control and molecular typing by whole-genome sequencing (WGS).
A tertiary-care neonatal unit in Melbourne, Australia.
Risk factors for 30 consecutive neonates with VSEfe bacteremia from June 2011 to December 2014 were analyzed using a case control study. Controls were neonates matched for gestational age, birth weight, and year of birth. Isolates were typed using WGS, and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was determined.
Bacteremia for case patients occurred at a median time after delivery of 23.5 days (interquartile range, 14.9–35.8). Previous described risk factors for nosocomial bacteremia did not contribute to excess risk for VSEfe. WGS typing results designated 43% ST179 as well as 14 other sequence types, indicating a polyclonal outbreak. A multimodal intervention that included education, insertion checklists, guidelines on maintenance and access of central lines, adjustments to the late onset sepsis antibiotic treatment, and the introduction of diaper bags for disposal of soiled diapers after being handled inside the bed, led to termination of the outbreak.
Typing using WGS identified this outbreak as predominately nonclonal and therefore not due to cross transmission. A multimodal approach was then sought to reduce the incidence of VSEfe bacteremia.
To demonstrate that nosocomial transmission of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) can be terminated and endemicity prevented despite widespread dissemination of an epidemic strain in a large tertiary-care referral hospital.
Two months after the index case was detected in the intensive care unit, 68 patients became either infected or colonized with an epidemic strain of vanB vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium despite standard infection control procedures. The following additional interventions were then introduced to control the outbreak: (1) formation of a VRE executive group; (2) rapid laboratory identification (30 to 48 hours) using culture and polymerase chain reaction detection of vanA and vanB resistance genes; (3) mass screening of all hospitalized patients with isolation of carriers and cohorting of contacts; (4) environmental screening and increased cleaning; (5) electronic flagging of medical records of contacts; and (6) antibiotic restrictions (third-generation cephalosporins and vancomycin).
A total of 19,658 patient and 24,396 environmental swabs were processed between July and December 2001. One hundred sixty-nine patients in 23 wards were colonized with a single strain of vanB vancomycin-resistant E. faecium. Introducing additional control measures rapidly brought the outbreak under control. Hospital-wide screening found 39 previously unidentified colonized patients, with only 7 more nonsegregat-ed patients being detected in the next 2 months. The outbreak was terminated within 3 months at a cost of $2.7 million (Australian dollars).
Despite widespread dissemination of VRE in a large acute care facility, eradication was achievable by a well-resourced, coordinated, multifaceted approach and was in accordance with good clinical governance.
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