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Protocols designed to facilitate N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) decontamination by commercial sterilization devices do not recommend that operators verify the device’s performance against pathogens deposited on FFRs. Here, we compared the treatment efficacy of 4 hydrogen peroxide-based systems that were authorized for N95 decontamination during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Suspensions prepared from S. aureus ATCC 29213 and 44300, B. subtilis ATCC 6633, a vancomycin-resistant E. faecium isolate (VRE), E. coli ATCC 25922, and P. aeruginosa ATCC 27853 colonies were inoculated onto nine 1-cm2 areas on a 3M 1805, 1860, 1860S, 1870+, 8210, 8110S, or 9105S FFR. Contaminated respirators were treated according to protocols recommended by the STERRAD 100NX, Bioquell Z-2, Sterizone VP4, or Clēan Works Mini systems. Decontamination efficacy was determined by comparing colony counts cultured from excised segments of treated and untreated FFR.
All devices achieved a 6-log reduction in bacterial burden and met FDA sterilization criteria. The Bioquell Z-2 device demonstrated 100% efficacy against both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms with all FFRs tested. Colonies of S. aureus ATCC 29213 and 44300 and VRE were cultivable from up to 9 (100%) of 9 STERRAD 100NX– and Sterizone VP4–treated segments. Viable B. subtilis ATCC 6633 organisms were recovered from 76.0% of STERRAD 100NX–treated FFR segments.
Variability in decontamination efficacy was noted across devices and FFR types. gram-positive organisms were more difficult to completely eliminate than were gram-negative organisms. Prior to initiating FFR decontamination practices, institutions should verify the effectiveness of their devices and the safety of treated FFR.
Performance characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid detection assays are understudied within contexts of low pre-test probability, including screening asymptomatic persons without epidemiological links to confirmed cases, or asymptomatic surveillance testing. SARS-CoV-2 detection without symptoms may represent presymptomatic or asymptomatic infection, resolved infection with persistent RNA shedding, or a false positive test. This study assessed positive predictive value of SARS-CoV-2 real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assays by retesting positive specimens from five pre-test probability groups ranging from high to low with an alternate assay.
A total of 122 rRT-PCR positive specimens collected from unique patients between March and July 2020 were retested using a laboratory-developed nested RT-PCR assay targeting the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) gene followed by Sanger sequencing.
Significantly fewer (15.6%) positive results in the lowest pre-test probability group (facilities with institution-wide screening having ≤ 3 positive asymptomatic cases) were reproduced with the nested RdRp gene RT-PCR assay than in each of the four groups with higher pre-test probability (individual group range 50·0% to 85·0%).
Large-scale SARS-CoV-2 screening testing initiatives among low pre-test probability populations should be evaluated thoroughly prior to implementation given the risk of false positives and consequent potential for harm at the individual and population level.
To describe the use of zanamivir during an influenza A outbreak.
Residents of a 176-bed long-term-care facility for the elderly in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, 90% of whom received influenza vaccine in the fall of 1998.
When respiratory illness due to influenza A was confirmed, infection control measures and amantadine prophylaxis were initiated. Despite these measures, transmission of influenza A continued.
Zanamivir inhalations, 10 mg daily for prophylaxis and 10 mg twice daily for treatment of influenza.
There were 13 definite and 66 probable outbreak-associated cases of influenza A. Twelve (15%) cases developed pneumonia, 7 (9%) were hospitalized, and 2 (2.6%) died. All 12 culture-positive cases yielded influenza A/Sydney/H3N2/05/97-like virus, a 1998/99 vaccine component. The three isolates obtained prior to the initiation of amantadine were amantadine-susceptible; all nine obtained after prophylaxis was instituted were amantadine-resistant. One hundred twenty-nine (92%) of 140 residents who were offered zanamivir accepted it and were able to attempt inhalations. Of these 129, 78% (100) had no difficulty in complying with inhalations. Difficulty with inhalations was associated with decreased functional and mental status. Fifteen (58%) of 26 residents fully dependent in activities of daily living had difficulty compared to 14 (14%) of 100 others (P<.001). Twenty-two (45%) of 49 residents not oriented to person, place, or time had difficulty compared to 7 (10%) of 77 others (P<001). In the 2 weeks after zanamivir prophylaxis, only 2 new cases of respiratory illness occurred, neither confirmed as influenza. No side effects were identified in 128 zanamivir-treated residents.
A minority of nursing home residents have difficulty following instructions for zanamivir inhalations. Zanamivir was well tolerated, and its use was temporally associated with termination of an outbreak that amantadine had failed to control.
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