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We investigated whether and how infection prevention programs monitor for health disparities as part of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) surveillance through a survey of healthcare epidemiology leaders. Most facilities are not assessing for disparities in HAI rates. Professional society and national guidance should focus on addressing this gap.
Testing of asymptomatic patients for severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (ie, “asymptomatic screening) to attempt to reduce the risk of nosocomial transmission has been extensive and resource intensive, and such testing is of unclear benefit when added to other layers of infection prevention mitigation controls. In addition, the logistic challenges and costs related to screening program implementation, data noting the lack of substantial aerosol generation with elective controlled intubation, extubation, and other procedures, and the adverse patient and facility consequences of asymptomatic screening call into question the utility of this infection prevention intervention. Consequently, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) recommends against routine universal use of asymptomatic screening for SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare facilities. Specifically, preprocedure asymptomatic screening is unlikely to provide incremental benefit in preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the procedural and perioperative environment when other infection prevention strategies are in place, and it should not be considered a requirement for all patients. Admission screening may be beneficial during times of increased virus transmission in some settings where other layers of controls are limited (eg, behavioral health, congregate care, or shared patient rooms), but widespread routine use of admission asymptomatic screening is not recommended over strengthening other infection prevention controls. In this commentary, we outline the challenges surrounding the use of asymptomatic screening, including logistics and costs of implementing a screening program, and adverse patient and facility consequences. We review data pertaining to the lack of substantial aerosol generation during elective controlled intubation, extubation, and other procedures, and we provide guidance for when asymptomatic screening for SARS-CoV-2 may be considered in a limited scope.
Background: Inequities are seen in many health-related outcomes, and systemic and structural factors result in inequitable care based on social determinants of health (SDOH). However, whether disparities exist specifically in healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) based on these factors has not been well described. Furthermore, there are no national standards on whether information related to equity and SDOH should be included in HAI surveillance and how such information could be used. Methods: We surveyed US members of the SHEA Research Network (SRN), a consortium of healthcare facilities with leaders interested in healthcare epidemiology and infection prevention, via an online REDCap survey from October to December 2021. Results: Of the 68 eligible US SRN facilities, 28 (41%) responded. Among them, 27 institutions provide direct patient care and were analyzed. Of these 27 facilities, 8 (30%) collected data regarding variables related to equity including language for care, race or ethnicity, insurance status, and other. Of these faclilities, 38% are collecting but not otherwise using this information; other facilities use this information for a variety of reporting and intervention purposes (Fig. 2). Only 3 facilities (11%) analyzed whether disparities exist in any HAI rates. The most common barrier to collecting SDOH information is that facilities have not considered doing this work (Fig. 3). Of the 15 facilities not yet undertaking such work, 10 (67%) were interested in doing so. Specific recommendations about how to operationalize such collection are needed (Table 1). Conclusions: Most institutions in this sample are not collecting data that would allow for assessment of disparities in the rates of HAIs; however, there is interest in doing so. A minority of early adopter facilities are assessing whether disparities exist and are designing interventions. National guidance can play a key role in standardizing the collection of this information and translating early findings to identify and subsequently improve disparities within HAIs.
Infectious diseases outbreaks are a cause of significant morbidity and mortality among hospitalized patients. Infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are particularly vulnerable to infectious complications during hospitalization. Thus, rapid recognition of and response to outbreaks in the NICU is essential. At Rush University Medical Center, whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has been utilized since early 2016 as an adjunctive method for outbreak investigations. The use of WGS and potential lessons learned are illustrated for 3 different NICU outbreak investigations involving methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), group B Streptococcus (GBS), and Serratia marcescens. WGS has contributed to the understanding of the epidemiology of outbreaks in our NICU, and it has also provided further insight in settings of unusual diseases or when lower-resolution typing methods have been inadequate. WGS has emerged as the new gold standard for evaluating strain relatedness. As barriers to implementation are overcome, WGS has the potential to transform outbreak investigation in healthcare settings.
To develop a pediatric research agenda focused on pediatric healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial stewardship topics that will yield the highest impact on child health.
The study included 26 geographically diverse adult and pediatric infectious diseases clinicians with expertise in healthcare-associated infection prevention and/or antimicrobial stewardship (topic identification and ranking of priorities), as well as members of the Division of Healthcare Quality and Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (topic identification).
Using a modified Delphi approach, expert recommendations were generated through an iterative process for identifying pediatric research priorities in healthcare associated infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship. The multistep, 7-month process included a literature review, interactive teleconferences, web-based surveys, and 2 in-person meetings.
A final list of 12 high-priority research topics were generated in the 2 domains. High-priority healthcare-associated infection topics included judicious testing for Clostridioides difficile infection, chlorhexidine (CHG) bathing, measuring and preventing hospital-onset bloodstream infection rates, surgical site infection prevention, surveillance and prevention of multidrug resistant gram-negative rod infections. Antimicrobial stewardship topics included β-lactam allergy de-labeling, judicious use of perioperative antibiotics, intravenous to oral conversion of antimicrobial therapy, developing a patient-level “harm index” for antibiotic exposure, and benchmarking and or peer comparison of antibiotic use for common inpatient conditions.
We identified 6 healthcare-associated infection topics and 6 antimicrobial stewardship topics as potentially high-impact targets for pediatric research.
Background:Candida auris and carbapenemase-producing organisms (CPO) are multidrug-resistant organisms that can colonize people for prolonged periods and can cause invasive infections and spread in healthcare settings, particularly in high-acuity long-term care facilities. Point-prevalence surveys (PPSs) conducted in long-term acute-care hospitals in the Chicago region identified median prevalence of colonization to be 31% for C. auris and 24% for CPO. Prevalence of C. auris colonization has not been described in pediatric populations in the United States, and limited data exist on CPO colonization in children outside intensive care units. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) conducted a PPS to assess C. auris and CPO colonization in a pediatric hospital serving high-acuity patients with extended lengths of stay (LOS). Methods: CDPH conducted a PPS in August 2019 in a pediatric hospital with extended LOS to screen for C. auris and CPO colonization. Medical devices (ie, gastrostomy tubes, tracheostomies, mechanical ventilators, and central venous catheters [CVC]) and LOS were documented. Screening specimens consisted of composite bilateral axillae and groin swabs for C. auris and rectal swabs for CPO testing. The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene tested all specimens. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays were used to detect C. auris DNA and carbapenemase genes: blaKPC, blaNDM, blaVIM, blaOXA-48, and blaIMP (Xpert Carba-R Assay, Cepheid, Sunnyvale, CA). All axillae and groin swabs were processed by PCR and culture to identify C. auris. For CPO, culture was only performed on PCR-positive specimens. Results: Of the 29 patients hospitalized, 26 (90%) had gastrostomy tubes, 24 (83%) had tracheostomies, 20 (69%) required mechanical ventilation, and 3 (10%) had CVCs. Also, 25 (86%) were screened for C. auris and CPO; 4 (14%) lacked parental consent and were not swabbed. Two rectal specimens were unsatisfactory, producing invalid CPO test results. Median LOS was 35 days (range, 1–300 days). No patients were positive for C. auris. From CPO screening, blaOXA-48 was detected in 1 patient sample, yielding a CPO prevalence of 3.4% (1 of 29). No organism was recovered from the blaOXA-48 positive specimen. Conclusions: This is the first documented screening of C. auris colonization in a pediatric hospital with extended LOS. Despite a high prevalence of C. auris and CPOs in adult healthcare settings of similar acuity in the region, C. auris was not identified and CPOs were rare at this pediatric facility. Additional evaluations in pediatric hospitals should be conducted to further understand C. auris and CPO prevalence in this population.