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The COVID-19 pandemic led to an initial increase in the incidence of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) from clinical cultures in South-East Asia hospitals, which was unsustained as the pandemic progressed. Conversely, there was a decrease in CRE incidence from surveillance cultures and overall combined incidence. Further studies are needed for future pandemic preparedness.
Objectives: Influenza vaccination is encouraged for all healthcare workers (HCWs) to reduce the risk of acquiring the infection and onward transmission to colleagues and patients during the influenza season. Thus, vaccination was introduced at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) in 2007 and has been offered to all HCWs at no cost. The HCW influenza vaccination program is conducted annually in October and biannually during years with vaccine mismatch. However, influenza vaccine uptake remained low among HCWs. We sought to determine the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on influenza vaccine uptake among HCWs. Methods: At SGH, 2 methods of vaccine delivery are offered: centralized (1-month drop-in system during office hours) and decentralized (administered by vaccination teams in offices or ward staff in inpatient locations). In the 4-year study period between 2018 and 2021, 6 influenza vaccination exercise campaigns were conducted during 8 influenza seasons. During each exercise, ~9,000 HCWs were eligible for vaccination. Results: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine uptake in the Southern Hemisphere was 77.6% (6,964 of 8,977) in 2018 and 84.2% (7,296 of 8,670) in 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, vaccine uptake in the Southern Hemisphere increased by 10% to 94.1% (8,361 of 8,889). In the Northern Hemisphere, vaccine uptake was 79.2% (7,114 of 8,977) in 2018, and this increased by 17.9% to 97.1% (8,926 of 9,194) during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. During the 2021 Southern Hemisphere influenza season, no vaccination program was conducted because the risk of influenza was considered low due to the closure of international borders and the implementation of public health measures. In addition, priority was given to COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Conclusions: Increased uptake of the influenza vaccination was observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anxiety created by the respiratory disease pandemic and debate surrounding vaccines likely contributed to increased awareness and uptake in influenza vaccine among HCWs.
Objectives: Over the past 2 years, many infection prevention and control (IPC) resources have been diverted to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Its impact on the incidence of antimicrobial-resistant organisms has not been adequately studied. We investigated the impact of the pandemic on the incidence of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) in Singapore. Methods: We extracted data on unique CRE isolates (clinical and/or surveillance cultures) and patient days for 6 public hospitals in Singapore from the carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CaPES) study group database, and we calculated the monthly incidence of CRE (per 10,000 patient days). Interrupted time-series (ITS) analysis was conducted with the pre–COVID-19 period defined as before February 2020, and the COVID-19 period defined as after February 2020. Statistical analyses were performed using Stata version 15 software. Results: From January 2017 to March 2021, 6,770 CRE isolates and 9,126,704 patient days were documented. The trend in CRE monthly incidence increased significantly during the pre–COVID-19 period (0.060; 95% CI, 0.033–0.094; P < .001) but decreased during the COVID-19 period (−0.183; 95% CI, −0.390 to 0.023; P = .080) without stepwise change in the incidence (−1.496; 95% CI, −3.477 to 0.485; P = .135). The trend in monthly incidence rate of CRE clinical cultures increased significantly during the pre–COVID-19 period (0.046; 95% CI, 0.028–0.064; P < .001) and decreased significantly during COVID-19 period (−0.148; 95% CI, −0.249 to −0.048; P = .048) with no stepwise change in the incidence (−0.063; 95% CI, −0.803 to 0.677; P = .864). The trend in monthly incidence rate of CRE surveillance cultures decreased during the pre–COVID-19 period (−0.020; 95% CI, −0.062 to 0.022; P = .341) and the COVID-19 period (−0.067; 95% CI, −0.291to 0.158; P = .552) without stepwise change in the incidence (−1.327; 95% CI, −3.535 to 0.881; P = .233). Conclusions: The rate of CRE in clinical cultures decreased during COVID-19 but not the rate in surveillance cultures. Further studies are warranted to study the impact of COVID-19 on CREs.
Background: Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is the largest acute tertiary-care hospital in Singapore. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at risk of acquiring COVID-19 in both the community and workplaces. SGH has a robust exposure management process including prompt contact tracing, immediate ring fencing, lock down of affected cubicles or single room isolation for patient contacts, and home isolation orders for staff contacts of COVID-19 cases during the containment phase of the pandemic. Contacts were also placed on enhanced surveillance with PCR testing on days 1 and 4 as well as daily antigen rapid tests (ARTs) for 10 days after exposure. Here, we describe the characteristic of HCWs with COVID-19 during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: This retrospective observational study included all SGH HCWs who acquired COVID-19 during the third wave (ie, the 18-week period from September 1 to December 31, 2021) of the COVID-19 pandemic. Univariate analysis was used to compare characteristics of work-associated infection (WAI) and community-acquired infection (CAI) among HCWs. Results: Among a workforce of >10,000 at SGH, 335 HCWs acquired COVID-19 during study period. CAI (exposure to known clusters or household contact) accounted for 111 HCW infections (33.1%). Also, 48 HCWs (14.3%) had a WAI (ie, acquired at their work places where there was no patient contact). Among WAsI, only 5 HCWs had hospital-acquired infection (confirmed by phylogenetic analysis). The sources of exposure for the remaining 176 HCWs were unknown. Weekly incidence of COVID-19 among HCWs was comparable to the epidemiology curve of all cases in Singapore (Fig. 1 and 2). The mean age of HCWs with COVID-19 was 39.6 years, and most were women. At the time of positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test, 223 HCWs were symptomatic, and 67 (20.0%) of them had comorbidities. Only 16 HCWs (4.8%) required hospitalization, and all recovered fully with no mortality (Table 1). Being female was associated with community COVID-19 acquisition (OR, 4.6, P Conclusions: During the thrid wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a higher percentage of HCWs at SGH acquired the infection from the community than from the workplace. Safe management measures, such as universal masking, social distancing, and robust exposure management processes including prompt contact tracing and environmental disinfection, can reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the hospital work environment.
Sporadic clusters of healthcare-associated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) occurred despite intense rostered routine surveillance and a highly vaccinated healthcare worker (HCW) population, during a community surge of the severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) B.1.617.2 δ (delta) variant. Genomic analysis facilitated timely cluster detection and uncovered additional linkages via HCWs moving between clinical areas and among HCWs sharing a common lunch area, enabling early intervention.
To describe OXA-48–like carbapenem-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) outbreaks at Singapore General Hospital between 2018 and 2020 and to determine the risk associated with OXA-48 carriage in the 2020 outbreak.
Outbreak report and case–control study.
Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is a tertiary-care academic medical center in Singapore with 1,750 beds.
Active surveillance for CPE is conducted for selected high-risk patient cohorts through molecular testing on rectal swabs or stool samples. Patients with CPE are isolated or placed in cohorts under contact precautions. During outbreak investigations, rectal swabs are repeated for culture. For the 2020 outbreak, a retrospective case–control study was conducted in which controls were inpatients who tested negative for OXA-48 and were selected at a 1:3 case-to-control ratio.
Hospital wide, the median number of patients with healthcare-associated OXA-48 was 2 per month. In the 3-year period between 2018 and 2020, 3 OXA-48 outbreaks were investigated and managed, involving 4 patients with Klebsiella pneumoniae in 2018, 55 patients with K. pneumoniae or Escherichia coli in 2019, and 49 patients with multispecies Enterobacterales in 2020. During the 2020 outbreak, independent risk factors for OXA-48 carriage on multivariate analysis (49 patients and 147 controls) were diarrhea within the preceding 2 weeks (OR, 3.3; 95% CI, 1.1–10.7; P = .039), contact with an OXA-48–carrying patient (OR, 8.7; 95% CI, 1.9–39.3; P = .005), and exposure to carbapenems (OR, 17.2; 95% CI, 2.2–136; P = .007) or penicillin (OR, 16.6; 95% CI, 3.8–71.0; P < .001).
Multispecies OXA-48 outbreaks in our institution are likely related to a favorable ecological condition and selective pressure exerted by antimicrobial use. The integration of molecular surveillance epidemiology of the healthcare environment is important in understanding the risk of healthcare–associated infection to patients.
We estimated the annual bed days lost and economic burden of healthcare-associated infections to Singapore hospitals using Monte Carlo simulation. The mean (standard deviation) cost of a single healthcare-associated infection was S$1,809 (S$440) [or US$1,362 (US$331)]. This translated to annual lost bed days and economic burden of 55,978 (20,506) days and S$152.0 million (S$37.1 million) [or US$114.4 million (US$27.9 million)], respectively.
Background: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization conveys a higher risk of invasive infection. The transplant cohort is a group of immunocompromised patients who are at higher risk of infection. We conducted an outbreak investigation of hospital-acquired MRSA colonization within the transplant unit, which led to the discovery of positive isolates within our environment and to changes in our hospital disinfection policies. Methods: Our transplant unit consists of 8 single, positive-pressure rooms housed separately at the side of a larger ward. Staffing from this unit differs from the rest of the shared ward that houses up to 60 patients. As part of hospital screening, we found that a patient admitted for a stem-cell transplant had acquired nosocomial MRSA colonization. Given the unusual occurrence of such an event, a root-cause analysis was conducted. Results: A meeting was convened together with nursing, medical staff, and ancillary staff. Identified areas of potential transmission were deemed equipment, staff, and patients, and screening was performed. Shared equipment included the portable electrocardiogram (ECG) machines and portable x-ray machines and boards. In particular, ECG machines were shared with the adjoining nontransplant oncology ward. The usual practice was to clean the machine after use but not prior to the next use. This was deemed a possible exposure risk in view of a recent MRSA outbreak in a separate section of the ward. Positive isolates were found on both the x-ray and ECG machines. All healthcare workers were screened and were negative for MRSA. Furthermore, 7 patients admitted during the same time period were also screened for MRSA and were negative. Given the concurrent outbreak within the ward, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was performed for all MRSA isolates obtained and the outbreak strain. These were found to be nonclonal (Table 1). Work processes for both the cleaning of ECG and x-ray machines were enhanced and modified. Hand hygiene measures to ward and radiology staff were reinforced. Thus far, no further cases have been detected. Conclusions: The environment is an important part of outbreak investigation. Shared equipment is often overlooked during day to day processes but should not be neglected. This can result in changes to hospital disinfection policy.
Disclosures: Indumathi Venkatachalam reports receiving honoraria for speaking engagements for bioMérieux and Pfizer and serving on an expert panel for MSD Pharma.
Methods that include the time-varying nature of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) avoid biases when estimating increased risk of death and excess length of stay. We determined the excess mortality risk and length of stay associated with HAIs among inpatients in Singapore using a multistate model that accommodates the timing of key events.
Analysis of existing prospective cohort study data.
Seven public acute-care hospitals in Singapore.
Inpatients reviewed in a HAI point-prevalence survey (PPS) conducted between June 2015 and February 2016.
We modeled each patient’s admission over time using 4 states: susceptible with no HAI, infected, died, and discharged alive. We estimated the excess mortality risk and length of stay associated with HAIs, with adjustment for the baseline characteristics between the groups for mortality risk.
We included 4,428 patients, of whom 469 had ≥1 HAI. Using a multistate model, the expected excess length of stay due to any HAI was 1.68 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.15–2.21 days). Surgical site infections were associated with the longest excess length of stay of 4.68 days (95% CI, 2.60–6.76 days). After adjusting for baseline differences, HAIs were associated with increased hazards of in-hospital mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.32; 95% CI, 1.09–1.65) and decreased hazards in being discharged (aHR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.67–0.84).
HAIs are associated with increased length of hospital stay and mortality in hospitalized patients. Avoiding nosocomial infections can improve patient outcomes and free valuable bed days.
Staff surveillance is crucial during the containment phase of a pandemic to help reduce potential healthcare-associated transmission and sustain good staff morale. During an outbreak of SARS-COV-2 with community transmission, our institution used an integrated strategy for early detection and containment of COVID-19 cases among healthcare workers (HCWs).
Our strategy comprised 3 key components: (1) enforcing reporting of HCWs with acute respiratory illness (ARI) to our institution’s staff clinic for monitoring; (2) conducting ongoing syndromic surveillance to obtain early warning of potential clusters of COVID-19; and (3) outbreak investigation and management.
Over a 16-week surveillance period, we detected 14 cases of COVID-19 among HCWs with ARI symptoms. Two of the cases were linked epidemiologically and thus constituted a COVID-19 cluster with intrahospital HCW–HCW transmission; we also detected 1 family cluster and 2 clusters among HCWs who shared accommodation. No transmission to HCWs or patients was detected after containment measures were instituted. Early detection minimized the number of HCWs requiring quarantine, hence preserving continuity of service during an ongoing pandemic.
An integrated surveillance strategy, outbreak management, and encouraging individual responsibility were successful in early detection of clusters of COVID-19 among HCWs. With ongoing local transmission, vigilance must be maintained for intrahospital spread in nonclinical areas where social mingling of HCWs occurs. Because most individuals with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, addressing presenteeism is crucial to minimize potential staff and patient exposure.
Prevalence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) gram-negative (GN) bacteria is increasing globally and is complicated by patient movement between acute and long-term care facilities (LTCFs). In Asia, the contribution of LTCFs as a source of MDR GN infections is poorly described. We aimed to define the association between residence in LTCFs and MDR GN bloodstream infections (BSIs).
Secondary analysis of data from an observational cohort.
Two tertiary referral hospitals in Singapore, including the 1,400-bed Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the 1,600-bed Singapore General Hospital.
Adult patients with healthcare-onset (HCO) or hospital-onset (HO) GN BSI.
Patients were identified from hospital databases using standard definitions. Risk factors for both MDR GN HCO and HO BSI were analyzed using a multivariable logistic regression model.
A total of 675 episodes of GN BSI occurred over a 31-month period. Residence in a LTCF was an independent risk factor for developing MDR GN BSI (odds ratio [OR], 5.1 [95% confidence interval (CI), 2.2–11.9]; P < .01) when antibiotics were not used within the preceding 30 days. This risk persisted beyond the first 48 hours of hospitalization (OR, 3.4 [95% CI, 1.3–9.0]; P = .01). Previous culture growing an MDR organism (OR, 1.8 [95% CI, 1.3–2.7]; P < .01), previous antibiotic use (OR, 1.8 [95% CI, 1.2–2.6]; P < .01), and intensive care unit stay (OR, 2.2 [95% CI, 1.2–3.9]; P = .01), increased the risk of MDR GN BSI.
Residence in a LTCF is an independent risk factor for MDR GN BSI. Attempts to contain MDR GN bacteria in large Asian cities, where the proportion of the population that is elderly is projected to increase, should include infection prevention strategies that engage LTCFs.
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