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In Québec, Canada, we evaluated the risk of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection associated with (1) the demographic and employment characteristics among healthcare workers (HCWs) and (2) the workplace and household exposures and the infection prevention and control (IPC) measures among patient-facing HCWs.
Test-negative case-control study.
Provincial health system.
HCWs with PCR-confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnosed between November 15, 2020, and May 29, 2021 (ie, cases), were compared to HCWs with compatible symptoms who tested negative during the same period (ie, controls).
Adjusted odds ratios (aORs) of infection were estimated using regression logistic models evaluating demographic and employment characteristics (all 4,919 cases and 4,803 controls) or household and workplace exposures and IPC measures (2,046 patient-facing cases and 1,362 controls).
COVID-19 risk was associated with working as housekeeping staff (aOR, 3.6), as a patient-support assistant (aOR, 1.9), and as nursing staff (aOR, 1.4), compared to administrative staff. Other risk factors included being unexperienced (aOR, 1.5) and working in private seniors’ homes (aOR, 2.1) or long-term care facilities (aOR, 1.5), compared to acute-care hospitals. Among patient-facing HCWs, exposure to a household contact was reported by 9% of cases and was associated with the highest risk of infection (aOR, 7.8). Most infections were likely attributable to more frequent exposure to infected patients (aOR, 2.7) and coworkers (aOR, 2.2). Wearing an N95 respirator during contacts with COVID-19 patients (aOR, 0.7) and vaccination (aOR, 0.2) were the measures associated with risk reduction.
In the context of the everchanging SARS-CoV-2 virus with increasing transmissibility, measures to ensure HCW protection, including vaccination and respiratory protection, and patient safety will require ongoing evaluation.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has placed significant burden on healthcare systems. We compared Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) epidemiology before and during the pandemic across 71 hospitals participating in the Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program. Using an interrupted time series analysis, we showed that CDI rates significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We performed viral culture of nasopharyngeal specimens in individuals aged 79 and older, infected with severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), 10 days after symptom onset. A positive viral culture was obtained in 10 (45%) of 22 participants, including 4 (33%) of 12 individuals with improving symptoms. The results of this small study suggest that infectivity may be prolonged among older individuals.
We performed viral culture of respiratory specimens in 118 severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)–infected healthcare workers (HCWs), ∼2 weeks after symptom onset. Only 1 HCW (0.8%) had a positive culture. No factors for prolonged viral shedding were identified. Infectivity is resolved in nearly all HCWs ∼2 weeks after symptom onset.
Background: Healthcare services are increasingly shifting from inpatient to outpatient settings. Outpatient settings such as emergency departments (EDs), oncology clinics, dialysis clinics, and day surgery often involve invasive procedures with the risk of acquiring healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). As a leading cause of HAI, Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) in outpatient settings has not been sufficiently described in Canada. The Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program (CNISP) aims to describe the epidemiology, molecular characterization, and antimicrobial susceptibility of outpatient CDI across Canada. Methods: Epidemiologic data were collected from patients diagnosed with CDI from a network of 47 adult and pediatric CNISP hospitals. Patients presenting to an outpatient setting such as the ED or outpatient clinics were considered as outpatient CDI. Cases were considered HAIs if the patient had had a healthcare intervention within the previous 4 weeks, and they were considered community-associated if there was no history of hospitalization within the previous 12 weeks. Clostridioides difficile isolates were submitted to the National Microbiology Laboratory for testing during an annual 2-month targeted surveillance period. National and regional rates of CDI were stratified by outpatient location. Results: Between January 1, 2015, and June 30, 2019, 2,691 cases of outpatient-CDI were reported, and 348 isolates were available for testing. Most cases (1,475 of 2,691, 54.8%) were identified in outpatient clinics, and 72.8% (1,960 of 2,691) were classified as community associated. CDI cases per 100,000 ED visits were highest in 2015, at 10.3, and decreased to 8.1 in 2018. Rates from outpatient clinics decreased from 3.5 in 2016 to 2.7 in 2018 (Fig. 1). Regionally, CDI rates in the ED declined in Central Canada and increased in the West after 2016. Rates in outpatient clinics were >2 times higher in the West compared to other regions. RT027 associated with NAP1 was most common among ED patients (26 of 195, 13.3%), whereas RT106 associated with NAP11 was predominant in outpatient clinics (22 of 189, 11.6%). Overall, 10.4% of isolates were resistant to moxifloxacin, 0.5% were resistant to rifampin, and 24.2% were resistant to clindamycin. No resistance was observed for metronidazole, vancomycin, or tigecycline. Compared to CNISP inpatient CDI data, outpatients with CDI were younger (51.8 ± 23.3 vs 64.2 ± 21.6; P < .001), included more females (56.4% vs 50.9%; P < .001), and were more often treated with metronidazole (63.0% vs 56.1%; P < .001). Conclusions: For the first time, CDI cases identified in outpatient settings were characterized in a Canadian context. Outpatient CDI rates are decreasing overall, but they vary by region. Predominant ribotypes vary based on outpatient location. Outpatients with CDI are younger and are more likely female than inpatients with CDI.
Disclosures: Susy Hota reports contract research for Finch Therapeutics.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays based on the detection of the toxin B gene are replacing enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)–based toxin production detection or cell cytotoxicity assay in most laboratories.
To determine the proportion of pediatric patients diagnosed withClostridium difficile infection by PCR who would have also been diagnosed by ELISA and to compare the clinical characteristics of PCR+/ELISA+ vs PCR+/ELISA− patients.
Using the microbiology laboratory information system, stool samples positive for C. difficile by PCR between October 2010 and July 2014 were identified. Using frozen stool specimens, an ELISA for toxin A and B was performed. A retrospective medical chart review was conducted to obtain demographic and clinical data. Duplicate samples were excluded.
A total of 136 PCR-positive samples underwent ELISA testing: 54 (40%) were positive for toxin A or B. The mean (SD) age of the entire cohort was 8.5 (6.2) years. There was no difference in age, gender, clinical manifestation, previous medical problems, and management between patients positive or negative by ELISA. However, patients positive by ELISA were more likely to have had a recent exposure to antibiotics (67.9% vs 50%; crude odds ratio, 2.1 [95% CI, 1.03–4.28]).
In our pediatric population, 60% of patients with C. difficile diagnosed by PCR had no toxin detectable by ELISA. ELISA-negative patients were less likely to have received an antibiotic recently compared with ELISA-positive patients. These results highlight the need to standardize laboratory criteria for the diagnosis of C. difficile infections in children.
The degree of bacterial contamination of stethoscopes can vary significantly following a physical examination.
To conduct a prospective study to investigate the impact of various environmental and patient characteristics on stethoscope contamination.
Following a standardized examination, the levels of bacterial contamination of 4 regions of the physicians’ hands and 2 sections of the stethoscopes, and the presence of different pathogenic bacteria, were assessed. Predictors of heavy stethoscope contamination were identified through multivariate logistic regression.
In total, 392 surfaces were sampled following examination of 56 patients. The microorganisms most frequently recovered from hands and stethoscopes were Enterococcus spp. (29% and 20%, respectively) and Enterobacteriaceae (16% and 7%, respectively). Staphylococcus aureus (either methicillin susceptible or resistant), extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing Enterobacteriaceae, and Acinetobacter baumannii were recovered from 4%-9% of the samples from either hands or stethoscopes. There was a correlation between the likelihood of recovering these pathogens from the stethoscopes vs from the physicians’ hands (ρ=0.79; P=.04). The level of patient’s skin contamination was an independent predictor of contamination of the stethoscope diaphragm (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.001; P=.007) and tube (aOR, 1.001; P=.003). Male sex (aOR, 28.24; P=.01) and reception of a bed bath (aOR, 7.52; P=.048) were also independently associated with heavy tube contamination.
Stethoscope contamination following a single physical examination is not negligible and is associated with the level of contamination of the patient’s skin. Prevention of pathogen dissemination is needed.
Research suggests that patients could improve healthcare workers' compliance with hand hygiene recommendations by reminding them to cleanse their hands.
To assess patients' perceptions of a patient-participation program to improve healthcare workers' compliance with hand hygiene.
Cross-sectional survey of patient knowledge and perceptions of healthcare-associated infections, hand hygiene, and patient participation, defined as the active involvement of patients in various aspects of their health care.
Large Swiss teaching hospital.
Of 194 patients who participated, most responded that they would not feel comfortable asking a nurse (148 respondents [76%]) or a physician (150 [77%]) to perform hand hygiene, and 57 (29%) believed that this would help prevent healthcare-associated infections. In contrast, an explicit invitation from a healthcare worker to ask about hand hygiene doubled the intention to ask a nurse (from 34% to 83% of respondents; P < .001) and to ask a physician (from 30% to 78%; P < .001). In multivariate analysis, being nonreligious, having an expansive personality, being concerned about healthcare-associated infections, and believing that patient participation would prevent healthcare-associated infections were associated with the intention to ask a nurse or a physician to perform hand hygiene (P < .05). Being of Jewish, Eastern Orthodox, or Buddhist faith was associated also with increased intention to ask a nurse (P < .05), compared with being of Christian faith.
This study identifies several sociodemographic characteristics associated with the intention to ask nurses and physicians about hand hygiene and underscores the importance of a direct invitation from healthcare workers to increase patient participation and foster patient empowerment. These findings could guide the development of future hand hygiene-promotion strategies.
We developed a patient-based survey to evaluate the impact of a respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette implementation strategy on infection control practices in the emergency department. The frequency of self-reported mask use by coughing patients was low (27%) and often inconsistent. The frequency of use was highest among patients who presented with myalgia (odds ratio, 14.7; P = .02) and among patients who visited the emergency department during January (odds ratio, 4.1; P = .04).
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