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Since the initial publication of A Compendium of Strategies to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections in Acute Care Hospitals in 2008, the prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) has continued to be a national priority. Progress in healthcare epidemiology, infection prevention, antimicrobial stewardship, and implementation science research has led to improvements in our understanding of effective strategies for HAI prevention. Despite these advances, HAIs continue to affect ∼1 of every 31 hospitalized patients,1 leading to substantial morbidity, mortality, and excess healthcare expenditures,1 and persistent gaps remain between what is recommended and what is practiced.
The widespread impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on HAI outcomes2 in acute-care hospitals has further highlighted the essential role of infection prevention programs and the critical importance of prioritizing efforts that can be sustained even in the face of resource requirements from COVID-19 and future infectious diseases crises.3
The Compendium: 2022 Updates document provides acute-care hospitals with up-to-date, practical expert guidance to assist in prioritizing and implementing HAI prevention efforts. It is the product of a highly collaborative effort led by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), the American Hospital Association (AHA), and The Joint Commission, with major contributions from representatives of organizations and societies with content expertise, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society (PIDS), the Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), the Society for Hospital Medicine (SHM), the Surgical Infection Society (SIS), and others.
Background: Directing COVID-19 diagnostic testing to healthcare workers (HCWs) who are likely to be infected has potential to reduce staffing shortages and decrease opportunity for in-hospital transmission; however, HCWs with COVID-19 may exhibit a range of symptoms. We assessed the burden of symptoms in relation to cycle threshold (Ct) values as a surrogate for viral shedding in vaccinated healthcare workers. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed employee health records of COVID-19–vaccinated employees who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 between December 2020 and January 2022 at 2 academic hospital systems. We reviewed demographic data, reasons for testing including symptoms, exposure history, medical history, vaccination dates, Ct values, and genotypes when available. We compared mean Ct values between symptomatic and minimally symptomatic cases using independent sample t tests. Patients were defined as minimally symptomatic if they had no symptoms or a single symptom that is not cough, fever, or anosmia at the time of testing. Patients were defined as more symptomatic if they reported >1 symptom or cough, fever, or anosmia. Results: In total, 298 HCWs tested positive for COVID-19. Most positive cases were female (73%), white (78%), and had patient-facing roles (77%). Genotypic testing (n = 109) revealed that most genotypes belonged to the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant (AY lineages, B1.617.2). More cases were minimally symptomatic (62%) than were more symptomatic (38%). None required hospitalization during the study period. Mean Ct values (n = 141) showed no significant difference between more symptomatic and minimally symptomatic cases (19.8 vs 20.6; P = .40) (Fig. 1). Also, there was no significant difference in mean Ct value, comparing those with vaccination 90 days prior to positive (20.52 vs 19.88; P = .537). Conclusions: Our study shows no significant difference in cycle threshold values between minimally symptomatic and more symptomatic infections in vaccinated HCWs. In addition, HCWs exhibit high viral load even when infected within 90 days after vaccination. When considering whether to attend work, HCWs should be aware that mild symptoms and recent vaccination do not necessarily reflect low transmissibility and that they should follow CDC guidance regarding when to return to work.
From April 1, 2016, through March 31, 2022, growth of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia from clinical specimens at our academic medical center was significantly more likely during July–September than during other calendar quarters.
Insertion of an external ventricular drain (EVD) is a common neurosurgical procedure which may lead to serious complications including infection. Some risk factors associated with EVD infection are well established. Others remain less certain, including specific indications for placement, prior neurosurgery, and prior EVD placement.
To identify risk factors for EVD infections.
We reviewed all EVD insertions at our institution from March 2015 through May 2019 following implementation of a standardized infection control protocol for EVD insertion and maintenance. Cox regression was used to identify risk factors for EVD infections.
479 EVDs placed in 409 patients met inclusion criteria, and 9 culture-positive infections were observed during the study period. The risk of infection within 30 days of EVD placement was 2.2% (2.3 infections/1,000 EVD days). Coagulase-negative staphylococci were identified in 6 of the 9 EVD infections). EVD infection led to prolonged length of stay post–EVD-placement (23 days vs 16 days; P = .045). Cox regression demonstrated increased infection risk in patients with prior brain surgery associated with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion (HR, 8.08; 95% CI, 1.7–39.4; P = .010), CSF leak around the catheter (HR, 21.0; 95% CI, 7.0–145.1; P = .0007), and insertion site dehiscence (HR, 7.53; 95% CI, 1.04–37.1; P = .0407). Duration of EVD use >7 days was not associated with infection risk (HR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.07–5.45; P = .669).
Risk factors associated with EVD infection include prior brain surgery, CSF leak, and insertion site dehiscence. We found no significant association between infection risk and duration of EVD placement.
Contamination of ventriculoperitoneal shunts (VPS) by cutaneous flora, particularly coagulase-negative staphylococci, is a common cause of shunt infection and failure, leading to prolonged hospital stay, higher costs of care, and poor outcomes. Glove contamination may occur during VPS insertion, increasing risk of such infections.
We performed a systematic search of the PubMed database for studies published January 1, 1970, through August 31, 2021 that documented VPS infection rates before and after implementing a practice of double gloving with change or removal of the outer glove immediately prior to shunt insertion.
Among 272 reports screened, 4 were eligible for review based on our inclusion criteria. The incidence of VPS infection was reduced in all 4 quasi-experimental studies with an aggregate incidence of VPS infection of 11.8% before the change in intraoperative protocol and 4.9% after protocol change. One study documented reduced hospital stay with this change in protocol.
The risk of VPS infection is reduced by removal or replacement of the outer surgical gloves immediately prior to intraoperative insertion of a VPS as part of an infection control bundle.
Cutaneous antisepsis with chlorhexidine or povidone-iodine, usually with alcohol, has been extensively studied. This review of published studies reveals that sequential use of povidone-iodine and chlorhexidine leads to a greater reduction in the bioburden of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria on the skin, lower risk of intravascular catheter colonization, and lower risk of surgical site infection compared to use of either agent alone. As such, sequential use of cutaneous antiseptic agents may further reduce risk of surgical site infections, as well as infections associated with insertion of transdermal devices such as nephrostomy tubes, left-ventricular assistance devices, and intravascular catheters.
Gastrointestinal and respiratory viruses are particularly common during winter months, and reducing risk of transmission is challenging. Transfer of bacteria from the hands of one person to another is dramatically reduced with a fist bump compared to a handshake. If the same is true for viruses, should we recommend this change in greeting in the winter?
Studies published between 1999 and 2011 demonstrated increased blood culture contamination with catheter-drawn cultures compared with percutaneously-drawn cultures. Studies published between 2012 and 2015 reported that use of antiseptic barrier caps on central venous catheter hubs significantly reduces the incidence of catheter-drawn blood culture contamination. Local guidelines regarding sites for blood culture collection should reflect institution-level blood culture contamination rates for percutaneously-drawn and catheter-drawn cultures using currently available technologies that reduce contamination at both sites.
A multimodal program focused on preventing nosocomial respiratory viral infections. Definite cases per 1,000 discharges increased 1.3-fold in hospital units screening visitors for respiratory viral symptoms during the 2017–2018 respiratory virus season but not during the 2016–2017 season. Definite cases per 1,000 discharges increased 3.1-fold in hospital units that did not screen visitors either season.