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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.
Background: Antibiotic overuse has led to increasing rates of antibiotic resistant infections and unnecessary antibiotic costs. Clinical pharmacists can play a key role in optimizing appropriate use of antimicrobials and reducing antimicrobial resistance. However, the role of clinical pharmacists in antimicrobial stewardship is new and not well established in Viet Nam. Objective: We evaluated the use of clinical pharmacists for improved antimicrobial prescribing. Methods: We assembled an antibiotic stewardship program (ASP) team consisting of a clinical pharmacist and a specialist in infection prevention and control in a 60-bed medical intensive care unit (MICU) at Hue Central Hospital in central Viet Nam. During January–September 2018, the ASP team collected baseline antibiotic prescribing days of therapy (DOT) for all antibiotics administered in the MICU. Then, from October 2018 through June 2019, the ASP team reviewed daily positive clinical bacterial cultures and susceptibility results for all patients present in the MICU. They reviewed medical charts, including antimicrobial prescriptions, during week days and only if patient was still in the ICU at the time of ASP rounds. The team recommended changes to antibiotic therapy verbally to physicians and left the decision to change antibiotic therapy to their discretion. The ASP team documented whether their recommendations were accepted or rejected. Statistical significance was determined using the Student t test. Results: The ASP team reviewed 160 medical charts and made 169 ASP recommendations: 122 (72%) to continue current treatment; 24 (14%) to monitor drug levels or obtain diagnostic tests; 10 (6%) to discontinue therapy; 6 (4%) to de-escalate therapy; 5 (3%) to adjust doses; and 2 (1%) to broaden therapy. Only 8 of the recommended changes (5%) were declined by the clinicians. The average monthly DOT for all types of antibiotics declined significantly from 2,213 to 1,681 (24% decrease; P = .04). Reductions in DOT for the most common broad-spectrum antibiotics included colistin from 303 to 276 (P = .75); imipenem-cilastatin 434 to 248 (P = .06); doripenem 150 to 144 (P = .85). Piperacillin-tazobactam increased from 122 to 142 (P = 0.75). Conclusions: We demonstrated that daily review of cultures and antibiotic use decreased overall antibiotic prescribing. Given that few recommendations included discontinuation of therapy, ASP rounds likely raised awareness for clinicians to optimize antibiotic use.
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.
Hydropower dams are back in the spotlight owing to a shifting preference for low carbon energy generation and their possible contribution to mitigating climate change. At the forefront of the renaissance of large hydropower dams are Chinese companies, as the builders of the world's largest dams at home and abroad, opening up opportunities for low- and middle-income countries. However, large hydropower dams, despite their possible developmental and carbon reduction contributions, are accompanied by huge economic costs, profound negative environmental changes and social impacts. Using fieldwork data from four hydropower projects in Ghana, Nigeria, Cambodia and Malaysia, this paper evaluates the behaviour of Chinese stakeholders engaged in large hydropower projects in Asia and Africa. We do this by first exploring the interests of the different Chinese stakeholders and then by investigating the wider implications of these Chinese dams on the local, national and international contexts. The paper concludes that hydropower dams will continue to play a prominent role in future efforts to increase energy security and reduce energy poverty worldwide, therefore the planning, building and mitigation strategies need to be implemented in a more sustainable way that takes into account national development priorities, the needs of local people and the impacts on natural habitats.
The aims of the present study were to provide nationally representative data on fruit and vegetable consumption in Vietnam, and to assess the accuracy of the reported numbers of ‘standard servings’ consumed. Data analysed were from a multi-stage stratified cluster survey of 14 706 participants (46·5 % males, response proportion 64·1 %) aged 25−64 years in Vietnam. Measurements were made in accordance with the WHO STEPwise approach to surveillance of non-communicable diseases (STEPS) protocols. Approximately 80 % of Vietnamese people reported having less than five servings of fruit and vegetables daily in a typical week. Fruit and vegetable intake reported in ‘standard serving’ sizes was positively correlated with levels of education completed and household income (P<0·001 for trend). The correlations between summary values for each province reflect some known demographic, geographical and climatic characteristics of the country. For example, provinces at higher latitude had higher mean servings of vegetables (r 0·90), and provinces with higher proportions of urban population had higher mean servings of fruit (r 0·40). In conclusion, about eight in ten Vietnamese people aged 25–64 years did not meet WHO recommendations for daily consumption of at least five servings of fruit and vegetables. On the basis of the consistency of the data collected with other estimates and with physical and demographic characteristics of the country, the WHO STEPS instrument has construct validity for measuring fruit and vegetable intake, but with two issues identified. The issues were seasonal variation in reporting and a limitation on the usefulness of the information for associative analyses.
An outbreak of viral encephalitis occurred among pig industry workers in Malaysia in September 1998 to April 1999. The encephalitis was attributed to a new paramyxovirus, Nipah virus. This is a description of the clinical features of 103 patients treated in the Seremban Hospital with characterization of the prognostic factors.
Clinical case records and laboratory investigations were reviewed. The case definition was: patients from the outbreak area, direct contact or in close proximity with pigs, clinical or CSF features of encephalitis.
The mean age was 38 years, 89% were male, 58% were ethnic Chinese, 78% were pig farm owners or hired workers. The mean incubation period was 10 days. The patients typically presented with nonspecific systemic symptoms of fever, headache, myalgia and sore throat. Seizures and focal neurological signs were seen in 16% and 5% respectively. In the more severe cases, this was followed by drowsiness and deteriorating consciousness requiring ventilation in 61%. Autonomic disturbances and myoclonic jerks were common features. The mortality was high at 41%. Systolic hypertension, tachycardia and high fever were associated with poor outcome. On the other hand, 40% recovered fully. As for the other 19%, the residual neurological signs were mostly mild.
Nipah virus caused an encephalitis illness with short incubation period and high mortality. The prognosis for the survivors was good.
The primary objective of this study was to validate a novel method of assessing hand hygiene compliance using ultrasound transmitters in patient zones and staff tagged with receivers. The secondary objective was to assess the impact of audio reminders and quantified individual feedback.
An observational comparison against manual assessment followed by assessment using an open-label randomized control method.
Patient zones were established in 3 wards of 2 large teaching hospitals, including 88 general and 18 intensive care unit ward beds.
Consented regular ward nursing, medical, and allied health staff.
Concordance between 40 hours of manual observation using trained hand hygiene auditors and automated measures of opportunities and compliance. Subsequent measured interventions were reminder beeps and written individual feedback.
When compared with manual observations, ultrasound monitoring underestimated percentage compliances by a nonsignificant mean (95% confidence interval [CI]) difference of 5.2% (−20.1% to 9.8%; P = .491). After the intervention, adjusted multivariate analysis showed mean (95% CI) overall compliance in the intervention arm was 6.8% (2.5%−11.1%; P = .002) higher than in the control arm. Results stratified by compliance at entry and exit showed that the effect of intervention was stronger for compliance at exit than at entry.
Our automated measure of hand hygiene compliance is valid when compared with the traditional gold standard of manual observations. As an interventional tool, ultrasound-based automated hand hygiene audits have significant benefit that can be built upon with enhancements and find increasing acceptance with time.
Sharper nanotips are required for application in nanoprobing systems due to a shrinking contact size with each new transistor technology node. We describe a two-step etching process to fabricate W nanotips with controllable tip dimensions. The first process is an optimized AC electrochemical etching in KOH to fabricate nanotips with a radius of curvature (ROC) down to 90 nm. This was followed by a secondary nanotip sharpening process by laser irradiation in KOH. High aspect ratio nanotips with ROC close to 20 nm were obtained. Finally we demonstrate the application of the fabricated nanotips for nanoprobing on advanced technology SRAM devices.
Environmental degradation in China, intensified by open-door reforms and industrialization, has been increasing at an alarming scale. Domestically, environmental governance has been poor, often due to institutional constraints and lack of “good practices.” However, recently there have been studies on how the “foreign factor” might have profound positive effects on capacity building in China and how international actors could lead to the successful introduction of good environmental governance. In this article, we present a study of a successful case: the World Bank Global Environmental Facility Cixi Wetlands project in Ningbo, China. The article examines the following: (a) the unique local context enabling the diffusion of international norms; (b) the factors which contribute to the World Bank's leverage role in restructuring local project governance; and (c) the changes in local environmental governance arising from the Bank's involvement. By evaluating this project, the article will demonstrate how the World Bank managed to introduce and socialize local actors into project-specific policy dialogues and procedures that enhanced local compliance with its international practices and standards.