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Background: Data regarding the effects of the SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic on healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in Canadian acute-care hospitals are limited. We examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HAIs and antimicrobial resistant organisms in hospitals participating in the Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program. Methods: We analyzed 13,406 HAIs including adult mixed intensive care unit (ICU) central-line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), and healthcare-associated (HA) Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections (BSI), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) BSI, and carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (CPE) infections collected using standardized case definitions and questionnaires from 29–64 hospitals participating in the Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program (CNISP) from January 2018 to December 2021. We used a generalized linear mixed model with quasi-Poisson distribution to assess step and slope changes in monthly HAI rates between the pre–COVID-19 pandemic period (January 1, 2018–February 29, 2020; 26 time points) and the COVID-19 pandemic period (March 1, 2020–December 31, 2021; 22 time points). Results were reported as incidence rate ratios (IRRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and adjusted for seasonality, hospital clustering, and hospital characteristics of interest. Results: In the CNISP network, 7,352 (55%) HAIs were reported in the prepandemic period and 6,054 (45%) in the pandemic period. Median age was significantly younger during the pandemic period compared to the prepandemic period among patients with HA-CDI, HA-MRSA BSI, and adult mixed ICU CLABSIs, and more than half of cases among all reported HAIs were male (range, 52%–65%). The 30-day all-cause in-hospital mortality rate did not significantly change between the prepandemic and pandemic periods for all reported HAIs and was highest among HA-VRE BSIs (34%). Modeling results indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with an immediate increase in HA-CDI and adult mixed ICU CLABSI rates whereas HA-MRSA BSI, HA-CPE and HA-VRE BSI rates immediately decreased. However, pandemic status did not have a statistically significant lasting impact on monthly rate trends for all reported HAIs after adjusting for seasonality, clustering, and hospital covariates (Fig. 1 and 2). Adjusted IRRs for all HAIs ranged from 1.00 to 1.01 (95% CI, 0.94–0.99 to 1.01–1.05).
Conclusions: Although the COVID-19 pandemic placed a significant burden on the Canadian healthcare system, the immediate impact on monthly rates of HAIs in Canadian acute-care hospitals was not sustained over time. Understanding the epidemiological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of changing patient populations, and clinical and infection control practices, are essential to inform the continued management and prevention of HAIs in Canadian acute-care settings.
We sought to evaluate the impact of antibiotic selection and duration of therapy on treatment failure in older adults with catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CA-UTI).
We conducted a population-based cohort study comparing antibiotic treatment options and duration of therapy for non-hospitalized adults aged 66 and older with presumed CA-UTI (defined as an antibiotic prescription and an organism identified in urine culture in a patient with urinary catheterization documented within the prior 90 d). The primary outcome was treatment failure, a composite of repeat urinary antibiotic prescribing, positive blood culture with the same organism, all-cause hospitalization or mortality, within 60 days. We determined the risk of treatment failure accounting for age, sex, comorbidities, and healthcare exposure using log-binomial regression.
Of 4,436 CA-UTI patients, 2,709 (61.1%) experienced treatment failure. Compared to a reference of TMP-SMX (61.9% failure), of those treated with fluoroquinolones, 56.3% experienced failure (RR 0.91, 95% CI: 0.85–0.98) and 60.9% of patients treated with nitrofurantoin experienced failure (RR 1.02, 95% CI: 0.94–1.10). Compared to 5–7 days of therapy (treatment failure: 59.4%), 1–4 days was associated with 69.5% failure (RR 1.15, 95% CI: 1.05–1.27), and 8–14 days was associated with a 62.0% failure (RR 1.05, 95% CI: 0.99–1.11).
Although most treatment options for CA-UTI have a similar risk of treatment failure, fluoroquinolones, and treatment durations ≥ 5 days in duration appear to be associated with modestly improved clinical outcomes. From a duration of therapy perspective, this study provides reassurance that relatively short courses of 5–7 days may be reasonable for CA-UTI.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) hospital outbreaks have been common and devastating during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Understanding SARS-CoV-2 transmission in these environments is critical for preventing and managing outbreaks.
Outbreak investigation through epidemiological mapping and whole-genome sequencing phylogeny.
Hospital in-patient medical unit outbreak in Toronto, Canada, from November 2020 to January 2021.
The outbreak involved 8 patients and 10 staff and was associated with 3 patient deaths.
Patients being cared for in geriatric chairs at the nursing station were at high risk for both acquiring and transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to other patients and staff. Furthermore, given the informal nature of these transmissions, they were not initially recognized, which led to further transmission and missing the opportunity for preventative COVID-19 therapies.
During outbreak prevention and management, the risk of informal patient care settings, such as geriatric chairs, should be considered. During high-risk periods or during outbreaks, efforts should be made to care for patients in their rooms when possible.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has placed significant burden on healthcare systems. We compared Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) epidemiology before and during the pandemic across 71 hospitals participating in the Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program. Using an interrupted time series analysis, we showed that CDI rates significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An accurate estimate of the average number of hand hygiene opportunities per patient hour (HHO rate) is required to implement group electronic hand hygiene monitoring systems (GEHHMSs). We sought to identify predictors of HHOs to validate and implement a GEHHMS across a network of critical care units.
Multicenter, observational study (10 hospitals) followed by quality improvement intervention involving 24 critical care units across 12 hospitals in Ontario, Canada.
Critical care patient beds were randomized to receive 1 hour of continuous direct observation to determine the HHO rate. A Poisson regression model determined unit-level predictors of HHOs. Estimates of average HHO rates across different types of critical care units were derived and used to implement and evaluate use of GEHHMS.
During 2,812 hours of observation, we identified 25,417 HHOs. There was significant variability in HHO rate across critical care units. Time of day, day of the week, unit acuity, patient acuity, patient population and use of transmission-based precautions were significantly associated with HHO rate. Using unit-specific estimates of average HHO rate, aggregate HH adherence was 30.0% (1,084,329 of 3,614,908) at baseline with GEHHMS and improved to 38.5% (740,660 of 1,921,656) within 2 months of continuous feedback to units (P < .0001).
Unit-specific estimates based on known predictors of HHO rate enabled broad implementation of GEHHMS. Further longitudinal quality improvement efforts using this system are required to assess the impact of GEHHMS on both HH adherence and clinical outcomes within critically ill patient populations.
Background: Severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), able to cause pneumonia in humans, was discovered in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Investigations related to transmissibility are ongoing, but human-to-human transmission involving healthcare workers providing patient care and close contacts of infected patients have been confirmed. Infection control procedures are necessary to prevent transmission during delivery of health care in healthcare settings. Public health in Canada is a shared responsibility among municipal, provincial, territorial, and federal governments. Significant public health events require coordination between all levels of government and a consistent approach across jurisdictions. The objective of this summary is to describe the Public Health Agency (PHAC)’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guideline on SARS-CoV-2. Methods: The PHAC’s interim guideline for infection prevention and control of 2019-nCoV in acute healthcare settings was informed by the currently limited evidence available, and adapted to the context of healthcare delivery in Canada. The guideline is based upon Canadian guidance developed for previous coronavirus outbreaks (eg, SARS and MERS), as well as the World Health Organization (WHO)’s interim guidance. Technical advice was provided by the National Advisory Committee on Infection Prevention and Control (NAC-IPC) of the Government of Canada. Interjurisdictional collaboration and decision making between multiple authorities and levels of government was facilitated using PHACs federal/provincial/territorial (FPT) Public Health Response Plan for Biological events (Fig. 1). Results: In the absence of effective drugs or vaccines, IPC strategies to prevent or limit SARS-CoV-2 transmission in healthcare settings include the following: prompt identification of signs, symptoms and exposure criteria, implementation of appropriate IPC measures (eg, contact and droplet precautions, patient isolation, N95 respirator plus eye protection when performing aerosol-generating medical procedures on a person under investigation), and etiologic diagnosis. Guideline recommendations are informed by collective expert interpretation of available evidence. Recommendations cover all relevant areas including screening and assessment, public health surveillance and notification, laboratory testing and reporting, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene, patient placement and flow, management of visitors, use of personal protective equipment, environmental cleaning and discontinuation of precautions. Conclusions: This guideline is an ever-changing document. Changes in recommendations provided may be warranted with new evidence, changes in WHO guidelines, or other identified concerns. FPT governments continue to work collaboratively to ensure that Canada is ready to respond to public health events and is prepared to protect the health of Canadians. Opportunities for international collaboration on IPC products, as well as knowledge exchange and mobilization, continue to thrive.
Background: Healthcare services are increasingly shifting from inpatient to outpatient settings. Outpatient settings such as emergency departments (EDs), oncology clinics, dialysis clinics, and day surgery often involve invasive procedures with the risk of acquiring healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). As a leading cause of HAI, Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) in outpatient settings has not been sufficiently described in Canada. The Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program (CNISP) aims to describe the epidemiology, molecular characterization, and antimicrobial susceptibility of outpatient CDI across Canada. Methods: Epidemiologic data were collected from patients diagnosed with CDI from a network of 47 adult and pediatric CNISP hospitals. Patients presenting to an outpatient setting such as the ED or outpatient clinics were considered as outpatient CDI. Cases were considered HAIs if the patient had had a healthcare intervention within the previous 4 weeks, and they were considered community-associated if there was no history of hospitalization within the previous 12 weeks. Clostridioides difficile isolates were submitted to the National Microbiology Laboratory for testing during an annual 2-month targeted surveillance period. National and regional rates of CDI were stratified by outpatient location. Results: Between January 1, 2015, and June 30, 2019, 2,691 cases of outpatient-CDI were reported, and 348 isolates were available for testing. Most cases (1,475 of 2,691, 54.8%) were identified in outpatient clinics, and 72.8% (1,960 of 2,691) were classified as community associated. CDI cases per 100,000 ED visits were highest in 2015, at 10.3, and decreased to 8.1 in 2018. Rates from outpatient clinics decreased from 3.5 in 2016 to 2.7 in 2018 (Fig. 1). Regionally, CDI rates in the ED declined in Central Canada and increased in the West after 2016. Rates in outpatient clinics were >2 times higher in the West compared to other regions. RT027 associated with NAP1 was most common among ED patients (26 of 195, 13.3%), whereas RT106 associated with NAP11 was predominant in outpatient clinics (22 of 189, 11.6%). Overall, 10.4% of isolates were resistant to moxifloxacin, 0.5% were resistant to rifampin, and 24.2% were resistant to clindamycin. No resistance was observed for metronidazole, vancomycin, or tigecycline. Compared to CNISP inpatient CDI data, outpatients with CDI were younger (51.8 ± 23.3 vs 64.2 ± 21.6; P < .001), included more females (56.4% vs 50.9%; P < .001), and were more often treated with metronidazole (63.0% vs 56.1%; P < .001). Conclusions: For the first time, CDI cases identified in outpatient settings were characterized in a Canadian context. Outpatient CDI rates are decreasing overall, but they vary by region. Predominant ribotypes vary based on outpatient location. Outpatients with CDI are younger and are more likely female than inpatients with CDI.
Disclosures: Susy Hota reports contract research for Finch Therapeutics.
Interfacility patient movement plays an important role in the dissemination of antimicrobial-resistant organisms throughout healthcare systems. We evaluated how 3 alternative measures of interfacility patient sharing were associated with C. difficile infection incidence in Ontario acute-care facilities.
The cohort included adult acute-care facility stays of ≥3 days between April 2003 and March 2016. We measured 3 facility-level metrics of patient sharing: general patient importation, incidence-weighted patient importation, and C. difficile case importation. Each of the 3 patient-sharing metrics were examined against the incidence of C. difficile infection in the facility per 1,000 stays, using Poisson regression models.
The analyzed cohort included 6.70 million stays at risk of C. difficile infection across 120 facilities. Over the 13-year period, we included 62,189 new cases of healthcare-associated CDI (incidence, 9.3 per 1,000 stays). After adjustment for facility characteristics, general importation was not strongly associated with C. difficile infection incidence (risk ratio [RR] per doubling, 1.10; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.97–1.24; proportional change in variance [PCV], −2.0%). Incidence-weighted (RR per doubling, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.06–1.30; PCV, −8.4%) and C. difficile case importation (RR per doubling, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.29–1.58; PCV, −30.1%) were strongly associated with C. difficile infection incidence.
In this 13-year study of acute-care facilities in Ontario, interfacility variation in C. difficile infection incidence was associated with importation of patients from other high-incidence acute-care facilities or specifically of patients with a recent history of C. difficile infection. Regional infection control strategies should consider the potential impact of importation of patients at high risk of C. difficile shedding from outside facilities.
To determine infection prevention and control (IPAC) practices for carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), an emerging threat, at acute-care hospitals in Ontario, Canada.
A descriptive cross-sectional survey.
We surveyed IPAC directors and managers at all acute-care hospitals in Ontario, Canada, to gather information on IPAC practices related to CPE, including admission screening, other patient screening, environmental testing, use of precautions to prevent transmission, and outbreak management.
Of 116 acute-care hospitals, 105 (91%) responded. Admission screening included patients previously colonized or infected with CPE (n = 64, 61%), patients recently hospitalized outside of Canada (Indian subcontinent, n = 62, 59%; other countries, n = 56, 53%), and patients recently hospitalized in Canada (n = 22, 21%). Fifty-one hospitals (49%) screened patients for colonization during an outbreak. Almost all hospitals (n = 101, 96%) used precautions to prevent transmission from patients with CPE colonization or infection; most hospitals (n = 54, 53%) continued precautions indefinitely. Few hospitals (n = 19, 18%) performed environmental cultures. Eight hospitals (8%) reported at least 1 outbreak, and 6 hospitals (6%) reported transmission from sink or shower drains to patients.
Variability in practices may result from lack of evidence and challenges in updating guidelines as evidence emerges. A coordinated approach to slow the emergence of CPE should be considered in our population.
Clostridium difficile spores play an important role in transmission and can survive in the environment for several months. Optimal methods for measuring environmental C. difficile are unknown. We sought to determine whether increased sample surface area improved detection of C. difficile from environmental samples.
Samples were collected from 12 patient rooms in a tertiary-care hospital in Toronto, Canada.
Samples represented small surface-area and large surface-area floor and bedrail pairs from single-bed rooms of patients with low (without prior antibiotics), medium (with prior antibiotics), and high (C. difficile infected) shedding risk. Presence of C. difficile in samples was measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) with targets on the 16S rRNA and toxin B genes and using enrichment culture.
Of the 48 samples, 64·6% were positive by 16S qPCR (geometric mean, 13·8 spores); 39·6% were positive by toxin B qPCR (geometric mean, 1·9 spores); and 43·8% were positive by enrichment culture. By 16S qPCR, each 10-fold increase in sample surface area yielded 6·6 times (95% CI, 3·2–13) more spores. Floor surfaces yielded 27 times (95% CI, 4·9–181) more spores than bedrails, and rooms of C. difficile–positive patients yielded 11 times (95% CI, 0·55–164) more spores than those of patients without prior antibiotics. Toxin B qPCR and enrichment culture returned analogous findings.
Clostridium difficile spores were identified in most floor and bedrail samples, and increased surface area improved detection. Future research aiming to understand the role of environmental C. difficile in transmission should prefer samples with large surface areas.
Women experience a rapid rise in the incidence of wrist fracture after age 50. Accordingly, this study aimed to (1) determine the internal and environmental fall-related circumstances resulting in a wrist fracture, and (2) examine the relationship of functional status to these circumstances. Women aged 50 to 94 years reported on the nature of the injury (n = 99) and underwent testing for physical activity status, balance, strength, and mobility (n = 72). The majority of falls causing wrist fracture occurred outdoors, during winter months, as a result of a slip or trip while walking. Half of these falls resulted in other injuries including head, neck, and spine injuries. Faster walking speed, lower grip strength, and higher balance confidence were significantly associated with outdoor versus indoor falls and slips and trips versus other causes. This study provides insights into potential screening and preventive measures for fall-related wrist fractures in women.
Prior data suggest that vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) bacteremia is associated with worse outcomes than vancomycin-sensitive Enterococcus (VSE) bacteremia. However, many studies evaluating such outcomes were conducted prior to the availability of effective VRE therapies.
To systematically review VRE and VSE bacteremia outcomes among hospital patients in the era of effective VRE therapy.
Electronic databases and grey literature published between January 1997 and December 2014 were searched to identify all primary research studies comparing outcomes of VRE and VSE bacteremias among hospital patients, following the availability of effective VRE therapies. The primary outcome was all-cause, in-hospital mortality, while total hospital length of stay (LOS) was a secondary outcome. All meta-analyses were conducted in Review Manager 5.3 using random-effects, inverse variance modeling.
Among all the studies reviewed, 12 cohort studies and 1 case control study met inclusion criteria. Similar study designs were combined in meta-analyses for mortality and LOS. VRE bacteremia was associated with increased mortality compared with VSE bacteremia among cohort studies (odds ratio [OR], 1.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.38–2.35; I2=0%; n=11); the case-control study estimate was similar, but not significant (OR, 1.93; 95% CI, 0.97–3.82). LOS was greater for VRE bacteremia patients than for VSE bacteremia patients (mean difference, 5.01 days; 95% CI, 0.58–9.44]; I2=0%; n=5).
Despite the availability of effective VRE therapy, VRE bacteremia remains associated with an increased risk of in-hospital mortality and LOS when compared to VSE bacteremia.
Little is known about antibiotic use in the elderly receiving home care. We found that 6,873 (5.4%) of 126,339 home care patients in Ontario received antibiotic treatment; 26% of the antibiotics administered were fluoroquinolones. Antibiotic treatment was most frequent in patients less than 65 years of age and among those with a poorer health status.
Poor functional status and high rates of anxiety and depression have been reported in individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, it is unclear whether psychiatric disorders after TBI are a cause or a consequence of functional limitations. The current study aimed to investigate the temporal relationship between anxiety, depression and functional impairment following TBI. The study has a prospective, longitudinal single-group design. Anxiety and depression, assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, and functional changes, assessed with the Glasgow Outcome Scale—Extended, were measured six and 12 months post-injury in 122 individuals who had sustained a TBI (79% male, mean age 35 years, mean duration of post-traumatic amnesia 24 days, mean Glasgow Coma Scale score 9.2). Cross-lagged analyses were conducted within a structural equation modelling framework. Functional changes six months post-injury predicted depression and anxiety one year after the injury. Anxiety and depression, in turn, were not predictive of later functional status. This study adds to our understanding of the temporal relationship between depression, anxiety and functional status after TBI. The results indicate the importance of supporting brain injured individuals in coping with the functional consequences of their injury in order promote psychological well-being. (JINS, 2011, 17, 781–787)
Carbon and nitrogen contents of two intertidal fucoid species,
Fucus serratus and Himanthalia elongata, were investigated
with respect to
variations in seasonal resource availability, growth and reproductive requirements.
The linear growth rate of F. serratus peaked in spring at
2·3 cm 28 d−1, compared with <0·1 cm
in the winter. In H. elongata, the button diameter increased slowly
throughout the year
(<0·22 cm 28 d−1) ; in contrast, the receptacle
had an elongation rate of up to 7·8 cm 28 d−1
in the spring months. There was no
difference in the nitrogen content (% dry weight, dwt) of the vegetative
tissue of both non-reproductive and fertile thalli and receptacle
tissue of F. serratus, but the nitrogen content of all three tissue
types varied seasonally. Reproductive development was initiated in May
when nitrogen content was at its peak (3 % dwt). Tissue nitrogen content
decreased rapidly through reproductive development to a
minimum of less than 1·5% dwt in August; this decrease also occurred
in non-reproductive thalli. Tissue nitrogen varied between 0·5 and
1·75% dwt in the vegetative buttons on both non-reproductive and
fertile H. elongata, but not in a distinct seasonal manner. Receptacle
development in H. elongata was initiated in October/November.
The nitrogen content of the receptacle tissue increased rapidly in the
two months of reproductive development (up to 2·5% dwt) then progressively
decreased throughout the remaining period of
reproductive development. There was no evidence of carbon storage in the
vegetative tissues of either F. serratus or H. elongata.
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