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1.  An In Vitro Deletion in ribE Encoding Lumazine Synthase Contributes to Nitrofurantoin Resistance in Escherichia coli 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2014;58(12):7225-7233.
Nitrofurantoin has been used for decades for the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs), but clinically significant resistance in Escherichia coli is uncommon. Nitrofurantoin concentrations in the gastrointestinal tract tend to be low, which might facilitate selection of nitrofurantoin-resistant (NIT-R) strains in the gut flora. We subjected two nitrofurantoin-susceptible intestinal E. coli strains (ST540-p and ST2747-p) to increasing nitrofurantoin concentrations under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Whole-genome sequencing was performed for both susceptible isolates and selected mutants that exhibited the highest nitrofurantoin resistance levels aerobically (ST540-a and ST2747-a) and anaerobically (ST540-an and ST2747-an). ST540-a/ST540-an and ST2747-a (aerobic MICs of >64 μg/ml) harbored mutations in the known nitrofurantoin resistance determinants nfsA and/or nfsB, which encode oxygen-insensitive nitroreductases. ST2747-an showed reduced nitrofurantoin susceptibility (aerobic MIC of 32 μg/ml) and exhibited remarkable growth deficits but did not harbor nfsA/nfsB mutations. We identified a 12-nucleotide deletion in ribE, encoding lumazine synthase, an essential enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of flavin mononucleotide (FMN), which is an important cofactor for NfsA and NfsB. Complementing ST2747-an with a functional wild-type lumazine synthase restored nitrofurantoin susceptibility. Six NIT-R E. coli isolates (NRCI-1 to NRCI-6) from stools of UTI patients treated with nitrofurantoin, cefuroxime, or a fluoroquinolone harbored mutations in nfsA and/or nfsB but not ribE. Sequencing of the ribE gene in six intestinal and three urinary E. coli strains showing reduced nitrofurantoin susceptibility (MICs of 16 to 48 μg/ml) also did not identify any relevant mutations. NRCI-1, NRCI-2, and NRCI-5 exhibited up to 4-fold higher anaerobic MICs, compared to the mutants generated in vitro, presumably because of additional mutations in oxygen-sensitive nitroreductases.
PMCID: PMC4249564  PMID: 25246406
2.  Hydrogen peroxide room disinfection – ready for prime time? 
Critical Care  2015;19(1):216.
Non-manual techniques for terminal disinfection of hospital rooms have gained increasing interest in recent years as means to reduce transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs). A prospective crossover study by Blazejewski and colleagues in five ICUs of a French academic hospital with a high prevalence of MDRO carriers showed that two different hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-based non-touch disinfection techniques reduced environmental contamination with MDROs after routine cleaning. This study provides further evidence of the ‘in use’ bioburden reduction offered by these techniques. Before H2O2-based non-touch disinfection can be recommended for routine clinical use outside specific outbreak situations, further studies need to show whether the environmental contamination reduction provided by these techniques is clinically relevant and results in reduced cross-infections with MDROs.
PMCID: PMC4424519  PMID: 25953384
3.  Mupirocin-Induced Mutations in ileS in Various Genetic Backgrounds of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(10):3749-3754.
Topical mupirocin is widely used for the decolonization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriers. We evaluated the capacity of various MRSA clonotypes to develop mutations in the ileS gene associated with low-level mupirocin resistance. Twenty-four mupirocin-sensitive MRSA isolates from a variety of genotypes (determined by a multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat assay) were selected. Mupirocin MICs were determined by Etest. The isolates were then incubated in subinhibitory concentrations of mupirocin for 7 to 14 days. Repeat MIC determinations and sequencing of the ileS gene were then performed. Doubling times of isolates exposed to mupirocin and of unexposed isolates were compared. We found that exposure to mupirocin led to rapid induction of low-level resistance (MICs of 8 to 24 μg/ml) in 11 of 24 (46%) MRSA isolates. This phenomenon was observed in strains with diverse genetic backgrounds. Various mutations were detected in 18 of 24 (75%) MRSA isolates. Acquisition of mutations appeared to be a stepwise process during prolonged incubation with the drug. Among the five isolates exhibiting low-level resistance and the highest MICs, four tested sensitive after incubation in the absence of mupirocin but there was no reversion to the susceptible wild-type primary sequence. Resistance was not associated with significant fitness cost, suggesting that MRSA strains with low-level mupirocin resistance may have a selective advantage in facilities where mupirocin is commonly used. Our findings emphasize the importance of the judicious use of this topical agent and the need to closely monitor for the emergence of resistance.
PMCID: PMC4187773  PMID: 25122856
4.  Multisite Infection with Mycobacterium abscessus after Replacement of Breast Implants and Gluteal Lipofilling 
Introduction. Medical tourism for aesthetic surgery is popular. Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) occasionally cause surgical-site infections. As NTM grow in biofilms, implantations of foreign bodies are at risk. Due to late manifestation, infections occur when patients are back home, where they must be managed properly. Case Report. A 39-year-old healthy female was referred for acute infection of the right gluteal area. Five months before, she had breast implants replacement, abdominal liposuction, and gluteal lipofilling in Mexico. Three months postoperatively, implants were removed for NTM-infection in Switzerland. Adequate antibiotic treatment was stopped after seven days for drug-related hepatitis. At entrance, gluteal puncture for bacterial analysis was performed. MRI showed large subcutaneous collection. Debridement under general anaesthesia was followed by open wound management. Total antibiotic treatment was 20 weeks. Methods. Bacterial analysis of periprosthetic and gluteal liquids included Gram-stain plus acid-fast stain, and aerobic, anaerobic and mycobacterial cultures.  Results. In periprosthetic fluid, Mycobacterium abscessus, Propionibacterium, and Staphylococcus epidermidis were identified. The same M. abscessus strain was found gluteally. The gluteal wound healed within six weeks. At ten months' follow-up, gluteal asymmetry persists for deep scarring. Conclusion. This case presents major complications of multisite aesthetic surgery. Surgical-site infections in context of medical tourism need appropriate bacteriological investigations, considering potential NTM-infections.
PMCID: PMC4393936  PMID: 25893122
5.  Variable performance of models for predicting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage in European surgical wards 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:105.
Predictive models to identify unknown methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriage on admission may optimise targeted MRSA screening and efficient use of resources. However, common approaches to model selection can result in overconfident estimates and poor predictive performance. We aimed to compare the performance of various models to predict previously unknown MRSA carriage on admission to surgical wards.
The study analysed data collected during a prospective cohort study which enrolled consecutive adult patients admitted to 13 surgical wards in 4 European hospitals. The participating hospitals were located in Athens (Greece), Barcelona (Spain), Cremona (Italy) and Paris (France). Universal admission MRSA screening was performed in the surgical wards. Data regarding demographic characteristics and potential risk factors for MRSA carriage were prospectively collected during the study period. Four logistic regression models were used to predict probabilities of unknown MRSA carriage using risk factor data: “Stepwise” (variables selected by backward elimination); “Best BMA” (model with highest posterior probability using Bayesian model averaging which accounts for uncertainty in model choice); “BMA” (average of all models selected with BMA); and “Simple” (model including variables selected >50% of the time by both Stepwise and BMA approaches applied to repeated random sub-samples of 50% of the data). To assess model performance, cross-validation against data not used for model fitting was conducted and net reclassification improvement (NRI) was calculated.
Of 2,901 patients enrolled, 111 (3.8%) were newly identified MRSA carriers. Recent hospitalisation and presence of a wound/ulcer were significantly associated with MRSA carriage in all models. While all models demonstrated limited predictive ability (mean c-statistics <0.7) the Simple model consistently detected more MRSA-positive individuals despite screening fewer patients than the Stepwise model. Moreover, the Simple model improved reclassification of patients into appropriate risk strata compared with the Stepwise model (NRI 6.6%, P = .07).
Though commonly used, models developed using stepwise variable selection can have relatively poor predictive value. When developing MRSA risk indices, simpler models, which account for uncertainty in model selection, may better stratify patients’ risk of unknown MRSA carriage.
PMCID: PMC4347652  PMID: 25880328
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Screening; Predictive models
6.  The effect of improved hand hygiene on nosocomial MRSA control 
The purpose of this review is to examine studies that have assessed the association between hand hygiene enhancement and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rates and to explore controversies surrounding this association. Many studies have been published confirming the link between improved hand hygiene compliance and reduction in MRSA acquisition and infections, including bacteremia. These studies have also shown the cost-beneficial nature of these programmes. Despite considerable research some issues remain unanswered still, including the temporal relationship between hand hygiene enhancement strategies and decrease in MRSA rates, association between hand hygiene enhancement and MRSA-related surgical site infections, diminishing effect of hand hygiene compliance on MRSA rates after reaching a threshold and the role of instituting contact precautions in the setting of low MRSA rates and sufficient hand hygiene compliance. In conclusion, enhancement of hand hygiene compliance has been shown to reduce MRSA rates; however, some open issues warrant further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4417535  PMID: 25937922
Hand hygiene; Hand washing; Multimodal strategy; Alcohol-based handrubs; Nosocomial MRSA; MRSA control; MRSA bacteremia
7.  Complete Genome Sequences of Nitrofurantoin-Sensitive and -Resistant Escherichia coli ST540 and ST2747 Strains 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(2):e00239-14.
Widespread multidrug resistance in Escherichia coli has necessitated the reintroduction of older antibiotics, such as nitrofurantoin. However, mechanisms by which resistance to nitrofurantoin emerges in E. coli are not well elucidated. Toward this aim, we sequenced two nitrofurantoin-sensitive E. coli sequence types (ST540 and ST2747) and their four nitrofurantoin-resistant derivatives generated in vitro under aerobic and anaerobic growth conditions.
PMCID: PMC3983296  PMID: 24723707
8.  Multilevel competing risk models to evaluate the risk of nosocomial infection 
Critical Care  2014;18(2):R64.
Risk factor analyses for nosocomial infections (NIs) are complex. First, due to competing events for NI, the association between risk factors of NI as measured using hazard rates may not coincide with the association using cumulative probability (risk). Second, patients from the same intensive care unit (ICU) who share the same environmental exposure are likely to be more similar with regard to risk factors predisposing to a NI than patients from different ICUs. We aimed to develop an analytical approach to account for both features and to use it to evaluate associations between patient- and ICU-level characteristics with both rates of NI and competing risks and with the cumulative probability of infection.
We considered a multicenter database of 159 intensive care units containing 109,216 admissions (813,739 admission-days) from the Spanish HELICS-ENVIN ICU network. We analyzed the data using two models: an etiologic model (rate based) and a predictive model (risk based). In both models, random effects (shared frailties) were introduced to assess heterogeneity. Death and discharge without NI are treated as competing events for NI.
There was a large heterogeneity across ICUs in NI hazard rates, which remained after accounting for multilevel risk factors, meaning that there are remaining unobserved ICU-specific factors that influence NI occurrence. Heterogeneity across ICUs in terms of cumulative probability of NI was even more pronounced. Several risk factors had markedly different associations in the rate-based and risk-based models. For some, the associations differed in magnitude. For example, high Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) scores were associated with modest increases in the rate of nosocomial bacteremia, but large increases in the risk. Others differed in sign, for example respiratory vs cardiovascular diagnostic categories were associated with a reduced rate of nosocomial bacteremia, but an increased risk.
A combination of competing risks and multilevel models is required to understand direct and indirect risk factors for NI and distinguish patient-level from ICU-level factors.
PMCID: PMC4056071  PMID: 24713511
9.  Epidemiological Interpretation of Studies Examining the Effect of Antibiotic Usage on Resistance 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(2):289-307.
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a growing clinical problem and public health threat. Antibiotic use is a known risk factor for the emergence of antibiotic resistance, but demonstrating the causal link between antibiotic use and resistance is challenging. This review describes different study designs for assessing the association between antibiotic use and resistance and discusses strengths and limitations of each. Approaches to measuring antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance are presented. Important methodological issues such as confounding, establishing temporality, and control group selection are examined.
PMCID: PMC3623381  PMID: 23554418
10.  Infection control interventions in small rural hospitals with limited resources: results of a cluster-randomized feasibility trial 
There are few reports on the feasibility of conducting successful infection control (IC) interventions in rural community hospitals.
Ten small rural community hospitals in Idaho and Utah were recruited to participate in a cluster-randomized trial of multidimensional IC interventions to determine their feasibility in the setting of limited resources. Five hospitals were randomized to develop individualized campaigns to promote HH, isolation compliance, and outbreak control. Five hospitals were randomized to continue with current IC practices. Regular blinded observations of hand hygiene (HH) compliance were conducted in all hospitals as the primary outcome measure. Additionally, periodic prevalence studies of patient colonization with resistant pathogens were performed. The 5-months intervention time period was compared to a 4-months baseline period, using a multi-level logistic regression model.
The intervention hospitals implemented a variety of strategies. The estimated average absolute change in “complete HH compliance” in intervention hospitals was 20.1% (range, 7.8% to 35.5%) compared to −3.1% (range −6.3% to 5.9%) in control hospitals (p = 0.001). There was an estimated average absolute change in “any HH compliance” of 28.4% (range 17.8% to 38.2%) in intervention hospitals compared to 0.7% (range −16.7 to 20.7%) in control hospitals (p = 0.010). Active surveillance culturing demonstrated an overall prevalence of MRSA carriage of 9.7%.
A replicable intervention significantly improved hand hygiene as a primary outcome measure despite barriers of geographic distance and lack of experience with study protocols. Active surveillance culturing identified unsuspected reservoirs of MRSA colonization and further promoted IC activity.
PMCID: PMC3986470  PMID: 24678604
Hand hygiene; Epidemiology; United States; Transmission; Clinical trial; MRSA
11.  Impact of compliance with infection management guidelines on outcome in patients with severe sepsis: a prospective observational multi-center study 
Critical Care  2014;18(2):R42.
Current sepsis guidelines recommend antimicrobial treatment (AT) within one hour after onset of sepsis-related organ dysfunction (OD) and surgical source control within 12 hours. The objective of this study was to explore the association between initial infection management according to sepsis treatment recommendations and patient outcome.
In a prospective observational multi-center cohort study in 44 German ICUs, we studied 1,011 patients with severe sepsis or septic shock regarding times to AT, source control, and adequacy of AT. Primary outcome was 28-day mortality.
Median time to AT was 2.1 (IQR 0.8 – 6.0) hours and 3 hours (-0.1 – 13.7) to surgical source control. Only 370 (36.6%) patients received AT within one hour after OD in compliance with recommendation. Among 422 patients receiving surgical or interventional source control, those who received source control later than 6 hours after onset of OD had a significantly higher 28-day mortality than patients with earlier source control (42.9% versus 26.7%, P <0.001). Time to AT was significantly longer in ICU and hospital non-survivors; no linear relationship was found between time to AT and 28-day mortality. Regardless of timing, 28-day mortality rate was lower in patients with adequate than non-adequate AT (30.3% versus 40.9%, P < 0.001).
A delay in source control beyond 6 hours may have a major impact on patient mortality. Adequate AT is associated with improved patient outcome but compliance with guideline recommendation requires improvement. There was only indirect evidence about the impact of timing of AT on sepsis mortality.
PMCID: PMC4057316  PMID: 24589043
12.  Year in review 2011: Critical Care - infection 
Critical Care  2012;16(6):242.
There is an ever-growing importance for critical assessment of benefits and harms of various strategies with regards to antibiotic stewardship, infection control, molecular detection of pathogens and adequate treatment of multidrug-resistant organisms in ICUs. Ongoing financial constraints globally, changing demographics with an increasing and aging population and the slow introduction of new antibiotics make the utilisation of the best available evidence and goal-directed strategies essential in the ICU setting. This review will summarise findings from some of the recent major publications in the area of infectious diseases with emphasis on the role of behaviour change strategies for infection control purposes, the role of biomarkers such as C-reactive protein and procalcitonin, and the impact of molecular diagnostics in clinical decision-making. Furthermore, we will update readers on some recent findings in relation to invasive fungal infections, community-acquired pneumonia and ventilator-associated pneumonia in ICU patients.
PMCID: PMC3672546
13.  Epidemiology of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Carriage and MRSA Surgical Site Infections in Patients Undergoing Colorectal Surgery: A Cohort Study in Two Centers 
Surgical Infections  2012;13(6):401-405.
Surgical site infections (SSIs) after colorectal surgery usually are caused by commensal intestinal bacteria. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may be responsible for additional SSI-related morbidity. The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to describe the epidemiology of SSIs caused by MRSA after colorectal surgery in two tertiary-care centers, one in Geneva, Switzerland (G), and the other in Chicago, Illinois (C).
Adult patients undergoing colorectal resections during periods of universal screening for MRSA on admission were identified retrospectively. Demographic characteristics, surgery-related factors, and occurrence of MRSA SSI were compared in patients with and without MRSA carriage before surgery.
There were 1,069 patients (G=194, C=875) with a median age of 67 years fulfilling the inclusion criteria. Of these, 45 patients (4.2%) had a positive MRSA screening result within 30 days before surgery (G=18, C=27; p<0.001). Ten patients (0.9%; G=6, C=4) developed MRSA SSI, detected a median of 17.5 days after surgery, but only two of them were MRSA-positive before surgery. Nine of the 45 MRSA carriers identified by screening received pre-operative prophylaxis with vancomycin (G 6/18, C 3/27), and 17 of these patients (37.8%; G 7/18, C 10/27) were started on MRSA decolonization therapy before surgery. Pre-operative administration of either decolonization or vancomycin was not protective against MRSA SSI (p=0.49).
Methicillin-resistant S. aureus seems to be an infrequent cause of SSI after colorectal resections, even in MRSA carriers. Systematic universal screening for MRSA carriage prior to colorectal surgery may not be beneficial for the individual patient. Post-operative factors seem to be important in MRSA infections, as the majority of MRSA SSIs occurred in patients negative for MRSA carriage.
PMCID: PMC3532004  PMID: 23240722
14.  Antimicrobial resistance: a global view from the 2013 World Healthcare-Associated Infections Forum 
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is now a global threat. Its emergence rests on antimicrobial overuse in humans and food-producing animals; globalization and suboptimal infection control facilitate its spread. While aggressive measures in some countries have led to the containment of some resistant gram-positive organisms, extensively resistant gram-negative organisms such as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae and pan-resistant Acinetobacter spp. continue their rapid spread. Antimicrobial conservation/stewardship programs have seen some measure of success in reducing antimicrobial overuse in humans, but their reach is limited to acute-care settings in high-income countries. Outside the European Union, there is scant or no oversight of antimicrobial administration to food-producing animals, while evidence mounts that this administration leads directly to resistant human infections. Both horizontal and vertical infection control measures can interrupt transmission among humans, but many of these are costly and essentially limited to high-income countries as well. Novel antimicrobials are urgently needed; in recent decades pharmaceutical companies have largely abandoned antimicrobial discovery and development given their high costs and low yield. Against this backdrop, international and cross-disciplinary collaboration appears to be taking root in earnest, although specific strategies still need defining. Educational programs targeting both antimicrobial prescribers and consumers must be further developed and supported. The general public must continue to be made aware of the current scale of AMR’s threat, and must perceive antimicrobials as they are: a non-renewable and endangered resource.
PMCID: PMC4131211  PMID: 24237856
Antimicrobial resistance; Antimicrobial conservation; Antibiotic stewardship; Infection control; Hand hygiene; Surveillance networks; Care bundles; Environment; Regulations; Human medicine; Animal medicine; Global health; World Healthcare-Associated Infections Forum
15.  Comparison of strategies to reduce meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus rates in surgical patients: a controlled multicentre intervention trial 
BMJ Open  2013;3(9):e003126.
To compare the effect of two strategies (enhanced hand hygiene vs meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) screening and decolonisation) alone and in combination on MRSA rates in surgical wards.
Prospective, controlled, interventional cohort study, with 6-month baseline, 12-month intervention and 6-month washout phases.
33 surgical wards of 10 hospitals in nine countries in Europe and Israel.
All patients admitted to the enrolled wards for more than 24 h.
The two strategies compared were (1) enhanced hand hygiene promotion and (2) universal MRSA screening with contact precautions and decolonisation (intranasal mupirocin and chlorhexidine bathing) of MRSA carriers. Four hospitals were assigned to each intervention and two hospitals combined both strategies, using targeted MRSA screening.
Outcome measures
Monthly rates of MRSA clinical cultures per 100 susceptible patients (primary outcome) and MRSA infections per 100 admissions (secondary outcome). Planned subgroup analysis for clean surgery wards was performed.
After adjusting for clustering and potential confounders, neither strategy when used alone was associated with significant changes in MRSA rates. Combining both strategies was associated with a reduction in the rate of MRSA clinical cultures of 12% per month (adjusted incidence rate ratios (aIRR) 0.88, 95% CI 0.79 to 0.98). In clean surgery wards, strategy 2 (MRSA screening, contact precautions and decolonisation) was associated with decreasing rates of MRSA clinical cultures (15% monthly decrease, aIRR 0.85, 95% CI 0.74 to 0.97) and MRSA infections (17% monthly decrease, aIRR 0.83, 95% CI 0.69 to 0.99).
In surgical wards with relatively low MRSA prevalence, a combination of enhanced standard and MRSA-specific infection control approaches was required to reduce MRSA rates. Implementation of single interventions was not effective, except in clean surgery wards where MRSA screening coupled with contact precautions and decolonisation was associated with significant reductions in MRSA clinical culture and infection rates.
Trial registration identifier: NCT00685867
PMCID: PMC3780302  PMID: 24056477
Infection Control < Infectious Diseases; Surgery
16.  The impact of antibiotic use on the incidence and resistance pattern of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing bacteria in primary and secondary healthcare settings 
The objective of the present study was to study the relationship between hospital antibiotic use, community antibiotic use and the incidence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing bacteria in hospitals, while assessing the impact of a fluoroquinolone restriction policy on ESBL-producing bacteria incidence rates.
The study was retrospective and ecological in design. A multivariate autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model was built to relate antibiotic use to ESB-producing bacteria incidence rates and resistance patterns over a 5 year period (January 2005–December 2009).
Analysis showed that the hospital incidence of ESBLs had a positive relationship with the use of fluoroquinolones in the hospital (coefficient = 0.174, P = 0.02), amoxicillin-clavulanic acid in the community (coefficient = 1.03, P = 0.03) and mean co-morbidity scores for hospitalized patients (coefficient = 2.15, P = 0.03) with various time lags. The fluoroquinolone restriction policy was implemented successfully with the mean use of fluoroquinolones (mainly ciprofloxacin) being reduced from 133 to 17 defined daily doses (DDDs)/1000 bed days (P < 0.001) and from 0.65 to 0.54 DDDs/1000 inhabitants/day (P = 0.0007), in both the hospital and its surrounding community, respectively. This was associated with an improved ciprofloxacin susceptibility in both settings [ciprofloxacin susceptibility being improved from 16% to 28% in the community (P < 0.001)] and with a statistically significant reduction in ESBL-producing bacteria incidence rates.
This study supports the value of restricting the use of certain antimicrobial classes to control ESBL, and demonstrates the feasibility of reversing resistance patterns post successful antibiotic restriction. The study also highlights the potential value of the time-series analysis in designing efficient antibiotic stewardship.
PMCID: PMC3394142  PMID: 22150975
ESBL; antibiotic stewardship; fluoroquinolones restriction policy; time series analysis
17.  Carriage of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing enterobacteriacae among internal medicine patients in Switzerland 
The incidence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing-enterobacteriacae (ESBL-E) infection is rising worldwide. We aimed to determine the prevalence and nosocomial acquisition rate of ESBL-E as well as the risk factors for ESBL-E carriage and acquisition amongst patients consecutively admitted to 13 internal medicine units at our hospital who were not previously known to be ESBL-E carriers.
We screened all patients admitted or transferred to internal medicine units for ESBL-E on admission and discharge using rectal swabs. Of 1072 patients screened, 51 (4.8%) were carriers of an ESBL-E at admission. Of 473 patients who underwent admission and discharge screening, 21 (4.4%) acquired an ESBL-E. On multivariate analysis, diabetes mellitus without end-organ complications (OR 2.87 [1.09-7.08]), connective tissue disease (OR 7.22 [1.17-44.59]), and liver failure (OR 8.39 [1.55-45.45]) were independent risk factors for carriage of an ESBL-E upon admission to hospital (area under the ROC curve, 0.68). Receipt of a first- or second-generation cephalosporin (OR 9.25 [2.22-37.82]), intra-hospital transfer (OR 6.68 [1.71-26.06]), and a hospital stay >21 days (OR 25.17 [4.18-151.68]) were associated with acquisition of an ESBL-E during hospitalisation; whilst admission from home was protective (OR 0.16 [0.06-0.39]) on univariate regression. No risk profile with sufficient accuracy to predict previously unknown carriage on admission or acquisition of ESBL-E could be developed using readily available patient information.
ESBL-E carriage is endemic amongst internal medicine patients at our institution. We were unable to develop a clinical risk profile to accurately predict ESBL-E carriage amongst these patients.
PMCID: PMC3711782  PMID: 23759067
Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing enterobacteraciae; Infection control; Antimicrobial resistance
18.  Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus risk profiling: who are we missing? 
Targeted screening of patients at high risk for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriage is an important component of MRSA control programs, which rely on prediction tools to identify those high-risk patients. Most previous risk studies reported a substantial rate of patients who are eligible for screening, but failed to be enrolled. The characteristics of these missed patients are seldom described. We aimed to determine the rate and characteristics of patients who were missed by a MRSA screening programme at our institution to see how the failure to include these patients might impact the accuracy of clinical prediction tools.
From March-June 2010 all patients admitted to 13 internal medicine wards at the University of Geneva Hospital (HUG) were prospectively screened for MRSA carriage. Of 1968 patients admitted to the ward, 267 patients (13.6%) failed to undergo appropriate MRSA screening. Forty-one (2.4%) screened patients were MRSA carriers at admission. On multivariate regression, patients who were missed by screening were more likely to be aged < 50 years (OR 2.4 [1.4-3.9]), transferred to internal medicine from another ward in the hospital (OR 2.8 [1.1-7.1]), and have a history of malignancy (OR 3.2[2.1-5.1]). There was no significant difference in the rate of previous MRSA carriage between screened and unscreened patients.
Our findings highlight the potential bias that “missed” patients may introduce into MRSA risk scores. Reporting on the proportions and characteristics of missed patients is essential for accurate interpretation of MRSA prediction tools.
PMCID: PMC3672049  PMID: 23721630
Carrier state; Epidemiology; MRSA; Prevalence; Probability; Predictive value of tests; Staphylococcal infection; Switzerland
19.  Bench-to-bedside review: Rapid molecular diagnostics for bloodstream infection - a new frontier? 
Critical Care  2012;16(3):222.
Among critically ill patients, the diagnosis of bloodstream infection poses a major challenge. Current standard bacterial identification based on blood culture platforms is intrinsically time-consuming and slow. The continuous evolvement of molecular techniques has the potential of providing a faster, more sensitive and direct identification of causative pathogens without prior need for cultivation. This may ultimately impact clinical decision-making and antimicrobial treatment. This review summarises the currently available technologies, their strengths and limitations and the obstacles that have to be overcome in order to develop a satisfactory bedside point-of-care diagnostic tool for detection of bloodstream infection.
PMCID: PMC3580598  PMID: 22647543
20.  Correction: Assisted Knowledge Discovery for the Maintenance of Clinical Guidelines 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):10.1371/annotation/b38c6896-f340-45cb-a9ca-ceff49330c3f.
PMCID: PMC3651234
21.  Epidemiology and acquisition of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae in a septic orthopedic ward 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:91.
Wards cohorting infected orthopaedic patients may be particularly prone to transmitting extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-E). We analyze their epidemic pattern by performing molecular typing of ESBL-E isolated from patients and healthcare workers (HCW) from our septic ward. Between March 2010 and November 2011, 186 patients were admitted. Among 565 anal swabs, ESBL-E were detected in 204 samples from 45 patients, suggesting prolonged carriage in affected patients. Among 25 cases with identical ESBL-E species and positive epidemiological links, only 9 were really attributable to our service. We also screened 41 healthcare workers (HCW) on 49 occasions during the study period. Six samples (13%) were positive. None of the ESBL-E detected in HCW were related to any of the patient isolates. Among 60 environmental samples taken at the peak of the epidemic none revealed ESBL-E. We conclude that HCW also were anal carriers of ESBL-E, however the ESBL- strains from the HCW were not the same strains isolated from patients in the septic ward. Moreover, the epidemiological attribution of ESBL by simple vicinity, timing, and species identification might grossly overestimate transmission within a given unit.
PMCID: PMC3604582  PMID: 23539506
ESBL; Septic orthopedics; Patients; Healthcare workers; Antibiotics
22.  Is patient isolation the single most important measure to prevent the spread of multidrug-resistant pathogens? 
Virulence  2013;4(2):163-171.
Isolation or cohorting of infected patients is an old concept. Its purpose is to prevent the transmission of microorganisms from infected or colonized patients to other patients, hospital visitors, and health care workers, who may subsequently transmit them to other patients or become infected or colonized themselves. Because the process of isolating patients is expensive, time-consuming, often uncomfortable for patients and may impede care, it should be implemented only when necessary. Conversely, failure to isolate a patient with multidrug-resistant microorganisms may lead to adverse outcomes, and may ultimately be expensive when one considers the direct costs of an outbreak investigation and the indirect costs of lost productivity. In this review, we argue that contact precautions are essential to control the spread of epidemic and endemic multidrug-resistant microorganisms, and discuss limitations of some available data.
PMCID: PMC3654617  PMID: 23302791
isolation; active surveillance; infection control; multidrug-resistant pathogens
23.  Year in review 2010: Critical Care - infection 
Critical Care  2011;15(6):238.
Infections remain among the most important concerns in critically ill patients. Early and reliable diagnosis of infection still poses difficulties in this setting but also represents a crucial step toward appropriate antimicrobial therapy. Increasing antimicrobial resistance challenges established approaches to the optimal management of infections in the intensive care unit. Rapid infection diagnosis, antibiotic dosing and optimization through pharmacologic indices, progress in the implementation of effective antimicrobial stewardship and infection control programs, and management of fungal infections are some of the most relevant issues in this special patient population. During the last 18 months, Critical Care and other journals have provided a wide array of descriptive and interventional clinical studies and scientific reports helping clinical investigators and critical care physicians to improve diagnosis, management, and therapy of infections in critically ill patients.
PMCID: PMC3388701  PMID: 22152031
24.  High Prevalence of Isolates with Reduced Glycopeptide Susceptibility in Persistent or Recurrent Bloodstream Infections Due to Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
Reduced susceptibility to glycopeptides in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clinical isolates is considered a risk factor for failure of glycopeptide therapy. We compared the prevalences of MRSA isolates with reduced glycopeptide susceptibility in patients with versus without persistent or recurrent MRSA bloodstream infections. A retrospective cohort study at the University Hospital of Geneva identified 27 patients with persistent or recurrent clonally related MRSA bacteremic episodes over an 8-year period, which included 208 consecutive nosocomial MRSA bacteremic episodes. Vancomycin and teicoplanin MICs were determined by a modified macrodilution assay allowing improved detection of glycopeptide-intermediate MRSA isolates (GISA), characterized by elevated teicoplanin or/and vancomycin MICs (≥4 μg/ml). For 16 patients (59%), their pretherapy and/or posttherapy MRSA isolates showed elevated teicoplanin MICs, among which 10 (37%) concomitantly displayed elevated vancomycin MICs. In contrast, 11 other patients (41%) were persistently or recurrently infected with non-GISA isolates. In comparison, only 39 (22%) of 181 single isolates from patients with no microbiological evidence of persistent or recurrent infections showed elevated teicoplanin MICs, among which 14 (8%) concomitantly displayed elevated vancomycin MICs. Clinical, microbiological, and pharmacokinetic variables for patients persistently or recurrently infected with GISA or non-GISA isolates were similar. Bacteremic patients with a poor response to glycopeptide therapy had a 2.8-fold- and 4.8-fold-higher rates of MRSA isolates displaying elevated teicoplanin and vancomycin MICs, respectively, than patients with single isolates (P < 0.0001). Detection of elevated teicoplanin MICs may help to predict a poor response to glycopeptide therapy in MRSA bacteremic patients.
PMCID: PMC3294919  PMID: 22155824

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