To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
To determine whether colonization with extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-PE) predicts the risk for subsequent infection and impacts carbapenem-consumption and outcome in intensive care unit (ICU) patients.
Prospective cohort study.
The 2 ICUs in the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland.
All patients admitted to the 2 ICUs providing mechanical ventilation and an expected ICU stay >48 hours.
Patients were routinely screened for ESBL-PE carriage by rectal swab on admission. Competing risk regression analyses were applied to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) for infection with ESBL-PE and mortality. Length of hospital stay, length of ICU stay, and duration of carbapenem exposure were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test.
Among 302 patients, 24 (8.0%) were colonized with ESBL-PE on ICU admission. Infections with ESBL-PE occurred in 4 patients, of whom 3 (75%) were identified as ESBL-PE colonized on admission. ESBL-PE colonization on admission was associated with subsequent ESBL-PE infection (hazard ratio [HR], 25.52; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.40–271.41; P = .007) and exposure to carbapenems (HR, 2.42; 95% CI, 1.01–5.79; P = .047), whereas duration of carbapenem exposure did not differ in relation to ESBL-PE colonization (median, 7 days [IQR, 3–8 days] vs median, 6 days [IQR 3–9 days]; P = 0.983). Patients colonized with ESBL-PE were not at increased risk for death overall (HR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.44–2.30; P = .993) or death attributable to infection (HR, 1.20; 95% CI, 0.28–5.11; P = .808).
Screening strategies for detection of ESBL-PE colonization on ICU admission may allow the identification of patients at highest risk for ESBL-PE infection and the correct allocation of empiric carbapenem treatment.
Worldwide, Mycobacterium chimaera infections have been linked to contaminated aerosols from heater-cooler units (HCUs) during open-heart surgery. These infections have mainly been associated with the 3T HCU (LivaNova, formerly Sorin). The reasons for this and the risk of transmission from other HCUs have not been systematically assessed.
Prospective observational study.
University Hospital Basel, Switzerland.
Continuous microbiological surveillance of 3 types of HCUs in use (3T from LivaNova/Sorin and HCU30 and HCU40 from Maquet) was initiated in June 2014, coupled with an epidemiologic workup. Monthly water and air samples were taken. Construction design was analyzed, and exhausted airflow was measured.
Mycobacterium chimaera grew in 8 of 12 water samples (66%) and 22 of 24 air samples (91%) of initial 3T HCUs in use, and in 2 of 83 water samples (2%) and 0 of 41 (0%) air samples of new replacement 3T HCUs. Moreover, 7 of 12 water samples (58%) and 0 of 4 (0%) air samples from the HCU30 were positive, and 0 of 64 (0%) water samples and 0 of 50 (0%) air samples from the HCU40 were positive. We identified 4 relevant differences in HCU design compared to the 3T: air flow direction, location of cooling ventilators, continuous cooling of the water tank at 4°C, and an electronic alarm in the HCU40 reminding the user of the next disinfection cycle.
All infected patients were associated with a 3T HCU. The individual HCU design may explain the different risk of disseminating M. chimaera into the air of the operating room. These observations can help the construction of improved devices to ensure patient safety during cardiac surgery.
To evaluate host characteristics, mode of infection acquisition, and infection control procedures in patients with a positive respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) test result after the introduction of the GenXpert Influenza/RSV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay.
Retrospective cohort study.
Adults with a positive PCR test result for RSV who were hospitalized in a tertiary academic medical center between January 2015 and December 2016 were included in this study. Our infection control policy applies contact isolation precautions only for immunocompromised patients.
Patients were identified through 2 databases, 1 consisting of patients isolated because of RSV infection and 1 with automatically collected laboratory results. Baseline and clinical characteristics were collected through a retrospective medical chart review. The rate of and clinical factors associated with healthcare-associated RSV infections were evaluated.
In total, 108 episodes in 106 patients hospitalized with a positive Xpert RSV test result were recorded during the study period. Among them, 11 episodes were healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and 97 were community-acquired infections (CAIs). The mean length of hospital stay (LOS, 40.2 vs 11.2 days), the mean number of room switches (3.5 vs 1.7) and ward switches (1.5 vs 0.4), and the mean numbers of contact patients (9.9 vs 3.8) were significantly longer and higher in the HAI group than in the CAI group (P<.0001). Surveillance of microbiology records and clinical data did not reveal evidence for a cluster or an epidemic during the 2-year observation period.
The introduction of a rapid molecular diagnostic test systematically applied to patients with influenza-like illness may challenge current infection control policies. In our study, patients with HAIs had a prolonged hospital stay and a high number of contact patients, and they switched rooms and wards frequently.
Distinguishing recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), defined as CDI caused by the same genotype, from reinfection with a different genotype, has important implications for surveillance and clinical trials investigating treatment effectiveness. We validated the proposed 8-week period for distinguishing “same genotype CDI” from “different genotype CDI,” and we aimed to identify clinical variables with distinctiveness to propose an improved definition.
From January 2004 to December 2013, a cohort of all inpatients with CDI at the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, was established, and respective strains were collected. In patients with a second episode of CDI, both strains were compared using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) ribotyping. The standard definition of recurrence (within 8 weeks after initial diagnosis) was evaluated for its performance to predict CDI caused by the same genotype.
Among 750 patients with CDI, 130 (17.3%) were diagnosed with recurrence or reinfection. Strains from both episodes were available from 106 patients. Identical strains were identified in 36 patients with recurrence (36 of 47) and 27 patients with reinfection (27 of 59). Sensitivity, specificity, and negative and positive predictive values of the standard definition were 56%, 74%, 53%, and 76%, respectively. An extended period of 20 weeks resulted in the best match for both sensitivity and specificity (83% and 58%, respectively), while none of the clinical characteristics revealed independent distinctive power.
Our results challenge the utility of the 8-week cutoff for distinguishing recurrent CDI from reinfection. An extended period of 20 weeks may result in improved overall performance characteristics, but this finding requires external validation.
Infections and colonization with multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) identified >48 hours after hospital admission are considered healthcare-acquired according to the definition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some may originate from delayed diagnosis rather than true acquisition in the hospital, potentially diluting the impact of infection control programs. In addition, such infections are not necessarily reimbursed in a healthcare system based on the diagnosis-related groups (DRGs).
The goal of the study was to estimate the preventable proportion of healthcare-acquired infections in a tertiary care hospital in Switzerland by analyzing patients colonized or infected with MDROs.
All hospitalized patients with healthcare-acquired MDRO infection or colonization (HAMIC) or according to the CDC definition (CDC-HAMIC) were prospectively assessed from 2002 to 2011 to determine whether there was evidence for nosocomial transmission. We utilized an additional work-up with epidemiological, microbiological, and molecular typing data to determine the true preventable proportion of HAMICs.
Overall, 1,190 cases with infection or colonization with MDROs were analyzed; 274 (23.0%) were classified as CDC-HAMICs. Only 51.8% of CDC-HAMICs had confirmed evidence of hospital-acquisition and were considered preventable. Specifically, 57% of MRSA infections, 83.3% of VRE infections, 43.9% of ESBL infections, and 74.1% of non-ESBL MDRO infections were preventable HAMICs.
The CDC definition overestimates the preventable proportion of HAMICs with MDROs by more than 50%. Relying only on the CDC definition of HAMICs may lead to inaccurate measurement of the impact of infection control interventions and to inadequate reimbursement under the DRG system.
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in hospitalized patients is generally attributed to the current stay, but recent studies reveal high C. difficile colonization rates on admission.
To determine the rate of colonization with toxigenic C. difficile among intensive care unit patients upon admission as well as acquired during hospitalization, and the risk of subsequent CDI.
Prospective cohort study from April 15 through July 8, 2013. Adults admitted to an intensive care unit within 48 hours of admission to the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, were screened for colonization with toxigenic C. difficile. The primary outcome was risk of developing CDI.
Among 542 patients, 17 (3.1%) were colonized with toxigenic C. difficile on admission and an additional 3 patients were found to be colonized during hospitalization. Both colonization with toxigenic C. difficile on admission and colonization during hospitalization were associated with an increased risk for development of CDI (relative risk, 10.29 [95% CI, 2.24–47.40], P=.003; and 15.66 [4.01–61.08], P<.001, respectively). Using multivariable analysis, colonization on admission and colonization during hospitalization were independent predictors of CDI (relative risk, 8.62 [95% CI, 1.48–50.25], P=.017; and 10.93 [1.49–80.20], P=.019, respectively), while adjusting for potential confounders.
In intensive care unit patients, colonization with toxigenic C. difficile is an independent risk factor for development of subsequent CDI. Further studies are needed to identify populations with higher toxigenic C. difficile colonization rates possibly benefiting from screening or avoidance of agents known to promote CDI.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1324–1329
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a worldwide issue associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Multiple infection control (IC) approaches have been tested to control its spread; however, the success of the majority of trials has been short-lived and many efforts have failed. We report the long-term success of MRSA control from a prospective observational study over 20 years.
University Hospital Basel is a large tertiary care center with a median bed capacity of 855 and 5 intensive care units (ICUs); currently, the facility has >32,000 admissions per year.
The IC program at the University Hospital Basel was created in 1993, after 2 MRSA outbreaks. The program has included strict contact precautions with single rooms for MRSA-colonized or -infected patients, targeted admission screening of high-risk patients and healthcare workers at risk for carriage, molecular typing of all MRSA strains and routine decolonization of MRSA carriers including healthcare workers. We used the incidence of MRSA bloodstream infections (BSIs) to assess the effectiveness of this program. All MRSA cases were prospectively classified using a standardized case report form in nosocomial and nonnosocomial cases, based on CDC definitions.
Between 1993 and 2012, 540,669 blood samples were cultured. The number of blood cultures increased from 865 per 10,000 patient days in 1993 to 1,568 per 10,000 patient days in 2012 (P<.001). We identified 1,268 episodes of S. aureus BSI from 1,204 patients. MRSA accounted for 34 episodes (2.7%) and 24 of these (1.9%) were nosocomial. MRSA BSI incidence varied between 0 and 0.27 per 10,000 patient days and remained stable with no significant variation throughout the study period (P=.882).
Long-term control of MRSA is feasible when a bundle of IC precautions is strictly enforced over time.
Food is an established source of extended-spectrum (β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae. Hand hygiene and cooking prevent transmission, but hands could be recontaminated by touching used cutting boards. ESBL-producing Escherichia coli were identified on 12% of cutting boards and 50% of gloves after poultry preparation, pointing to an important source for transmission.
We investigated whether an increase in enterococcal bloodstream infections (BSIs) depends on the emergence of Enterococcus faecium in an area with low vancomycin-resistant enterococci prevalence. From 1999 to 2012, a linear increase in E. faecium BSI rates (0.009 per 1,000 patient-days per year; P<.001) was noted. Enterococcus faecalis BSI rates remained stable.
The inanimate hospital environment has emerged as an important reservoir of nosocomial pathogens. In particular, multidrug-resistant pathogens, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter species, and Clostridium difficile, play a major role in the transmission of hospital-acquired infections. In Europe, aldehydes, chlorine, and quaternary ammonium compounds have been commonly used for environmental disinfection. Glucoprotamin, a newer active compound for disinfectants, has been clinically tested for disinfection of instruments but not for environmental disinfection.
This study evaluated the antimicrobial effectiveness of a glucoprotamin-containing product (Incidin) compared with that of an aldehyde-containing product (Deconex), the current standard at our institution.
This prospective crossover study was conducted in our access-restricted hematologic transplant unit. A total of 3,086 samples from the environment were processed and examined for overall bacterial burden as well as selectively for S. aureus, C. difficile, and gram-negative bacteria.
There was no significant difference in residual bacteria after disinfection between the 2 products in terms of overall burden and selected pathogens. Enterococci were the predominant pathogens recovered from surfaces, but no vancomycin-resistant enterococci were recovered. Similarly, C. difficile could not be found in the patients' environment, even in rooms, despite the use of selective media.
The aldehyde-containing product (Deconex) and the glucoprotamin-containing product (Incidin) demonstrated similar efficacy against environmental contamination in a hematologic transplant unit with the application of selective media for C. difficile, S. aureus, and gram-negative bacteria in addition to standard medium.
In November 2009, routine sampling of endoscopes performed to monitor the effectiveness of the endoscope-cleaning procedure at our hospital detected Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Herein we report the results of the subsequent investigation.
Design and Methods.
The investigation included environmental cultures for source investigation, molecular analysis by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to reveal the identity of the strains, and determination of the bactericidal activity of the glutaraldehyde-based disinfectant used for automated endoscope reprocessing. In addition, patient outcome was analyzed by medical chart review, and incidence rates of clinical samples with P. aeruginosa were compared.
The University Hospital of Basel is an 855-bed tertiary care center in Basel, Switzerland. Approximately 1,700 flexible bronchoscopic, 2,500 gastroscopic, 1,400 colonoscopic, 140 endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatographic, and 140 endosonographic procedures are performed annually.
P. aeruginosa was detected in samples obtained from endoscopes in November 2009 for the first time since the initiation of surveillance in 2006. It was found in the rinsing water and in the drain of 1 of the 2 automated endoscope reprocessors. PFGE revealed 2 distinct P. aeruginosa strains, one in each reprocessor. The glutaraldehyde-based disinfectant showed no activity against the 2 pseudo-outbreak strains when used in the recommended concentration under standard conditions. After medical chart review, 6 patients with lower respiratory tract and bloodstream infections were identified as having a possible epidemiological link to the pseudo-outbreak strain.
This is the first description of a pseudo-outbreak caused by P. aeruginosa with reduced susceptibility to an aldehyde-based disinfectant routinely used in the automated processing of endoscopes.
Research has shown 1.5 minutes of surgical hand antisepsis with alcohol-based hand rub to be at least as effective under experimental conditions as the 3-minute reference disinfection recommended by European Norm 12791. The aim of the present study was to validate the effectiveness of 1.5 minutes of surgical hand antisepsis in a clinical setting by comparing the effectiveness of 1.5- and 3-minute applications of alcohol-based hand rub (45% vol/vol 2-propanol, 30% vol/vol 1-propanol, and 0.2% mecetronium ethylsulphate).
Prospective crossover trial in which each surgeon served as his or her own control, with individual randomization to the 1.5-or the 3-minute group during the first part of the trial.
Basel University Hospital, Switzerland.
Thirty-two surgeons with different levels of postdoctoral training.
We measured the bactericidal effectiveness of 1.5 minutes and 3 minutes of surgical hand antisepsis with alcohol-based hand rub by assessing the mean (± SD) log10 number of colony-forming units before the application of hand rub (baseline), after the application of hand rub (immediate effect), and after surgery (sustained effect) so as to follow European Norm 12791 as closely as possible.
The immediate mean (± SD) log10 reduction in colony-forming units (cfu) was 2.66 ±1.13 log10 cfu for the 1.5-minute group and 3.01 ±1.06 log10 cfu for the 3-minute group (P = .204). Similarly, there was no statistically significant difference between the 2 groups with respect to the sustained effect; the mean ( ± SD) log10 increase in bacterial density during surgery was 1.08 ± 1.13 log10 cfu for the 1.5-minute group and 0.95 ± 1.27 log10 cfu for the 3-minute group (P = .708). No adverse effects were recorded.
In this clinical trial, surgical hand antisepsis with alcohol-based hand rub resulted in a similar bacterial reduction, regardless of whether it was applied for 3 or 1.5 minutes, which confirms experimental data generated with healthy volunteers.
Use of an alcohol-based hand rub for hand hygiene has recently been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the proper technique for using hand rub has not been well described and is not routinely taught in hospitals.
To evaluate the impact of training on proper technique as outlined by the European Standard for testing alcohol-based hand rubs (European Norm 1500) in a clinical study.
Design, Setting, and Patients.
Prospective study including 180 healthcare workers (HCWs) in a 450-bed, university-affiliated geriatric hospital where alcohol-based hand rub was introduced in the late 1970s.
Structured training program in hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub. Technique for using hand rub was tested by the addition of a fluorescent dye to the disinfectant and the number of areas missed was quantified by a validated visual assessment method. In addition, the number of bacteria eradicated was estimated by calculating the difference between the log10 number of colony-forming units (cfu) of bacteria on the fingertips before and after the procedure, and reported as reduction factor (RF).
Main Outcome Measure.
Log10 cfu bacterial counts on fingertips before and after training in the appropriate technique for using hand rub.
At baseline, only 31% of HCWs used proper technique, yielding a low RF of 1.4 log10 cfu bacterial count. Training improved HCW compliance to 74% and increased the RF to 2.2 log10 cfu bacterial count, an increase of almost 50% (P < .001). Several factors, such as applying the proper amount of hand rub, were significantly associated with the increased RF.
These results demonstrate that education on the proper technique for using hand rub, as outlined in EN 1500, can significantly increase the degree of bacterial killing.
The incidence of surgical site infections (SSIs) was 24% in a district hospital in Tanzania. Wound classification was not an independent risk factor for SSI, indicating that risk scores developed in industrialized countries may require adjustments for nonindustrialized countries. The National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance system score required adjustments to reliably predict SSI, probably to account for improper hygiene and the lack of adjustment for the duration of surgery (defined as the 75th percentile of the duration for each type of operative procedure) to reflect local circumstances. Multidrug-resistant pathogens, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and gram-negative pathogens expressing broad-spectrum β-lactamases, have already emerged.
To determine the efficacy and tolerability of octenidine hydrochloride, a non-alcoholic skin antiseptic, for the care of central venous catheter (CVC) insertion sites.
Prospective, observational study.
Bone marrow transplantation unit of a university hospital.
All consecutive patients with a nontunneled CVC were enrolled prospectively after informed consent.
Octenidine hydrochloride (0.1%) was applied for disinfection at the CVC insertion site during dressing changes. The following cultures were performed weekly as well as at the occurrence of any systemic inflammatory response syndrome criteria: cultures of the skin surrounding the CVC entry site, cultures of the three-way hub connected to the CVC, blood cultures, and cultures of the CVC tip on removal. Enhanced microbiological methods (skin swabs of a 24-cm2 standardized area, roll plate, and sonication of catheter tips) were applied.
One hundred thirty-five CVCs were inserted in 62 patients during the study period and remained for a mean period of 19.1 days, corresponding to 2,462 catheter-days. Bacterial density at the insertion site declined substantially over time, and most cultures became negative 2 weeks after insertion. Only 6 patients had a documented catheter-related bloodstream infection. The incidence density was 2.39 catheter infections per 1,000 catheter-days. No side effects were noted with application of the antiseptic.
Disinfection with a skin antiseptic that contains octenidine hydrochloride is highly active and well tolerated. It leads to a decrease in skin colonization over time and may be a new option for CVC care.
To compare the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) carriage among injection drug users (IDUs) treated in an injection heroin maintenance program with that among IDUs treated in an oral methadone program, and to determine predictors of S. aureus carriage.
Two opiate maintenance programs at a psychiatrie university clinic.
A volunteer sample consisting of 94 (74%) of 127 IDUs treated in an injection opiate maintenance program with at least twice daily injections of heroin, and 70 (56%) of 125 IDUs treated in an oral methadone program.
Addicts treated in the intravenous heroin substitution program had a significantly lower overall rate of S. aureus carriage (37 of 94 [39.4%] vs 42 of 70 [60%]; P = .009) and a significantly lower rate of nasal carriage (21 of 94 [22.3%] vs 30 of 70 [42.9%]; P = .005) than did addicts treated in the oral methadone program. Being treated in the oral methadone program was the only independent predictor of S. aureus carriage (odds ratio, 2.27; 95% confidence interval, 1.19-4.31; P=.012). All S. aureus isolates were susceptible to oxacillin.
The regular use of needles under aseptic conditions did not increase the rate of S. aureus carriage among IDUs. Further studies are necessary to investigate whether the lower rate of S. aureus carriage among IDUs treated with intravenous heroin leads to a lower incidence of S. aureus infections in these patients.
To determine the in vitro efficacy of glucoprotamin for the disinfection of instruments.
Prospective observational study.
University women's hospital.
Instruments were immersed in saline solution after use, and glucoprotamin was added to a concentration of 1.5% before soaking for 60 minutes. Biocidal activity was determined by the difference in colony-forming units (CFU) on instruments before and after disinfection.
One hundred thirty-seven instruments were collected during 10 days and exposed to a 1.5% dilution of glucoprotamin without prior washing. Bioburden before disinfection ranged from 2 × 105 to 7.1 × 107 CFU per instrument. Average bacterial killing was 5.98 log10 CFU ± 0.48 under aerobic conditions and 6.75 log10 CFU ± 0.54 under anaerobic conditions, despite the presence of large amounts of proteins on instruments that were frequently bloody. No vegetative bacteria were isolated in any sample after disinfection.
This clinical study confirmed excellent in vitro efficacy of glucoprotamin without prior removal of proteins and debris.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.