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1.  Illicit Drug Use and Risk for USA300 Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infections with Bacteremia 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(9):1419-1427.
PMCID: PMC3294968  PMID: 20735927
Staphylococcus aureus; antimicrobial resistance; community-acquired infections; bacteremia; bacterial typing techniques; electrophoresis; bacteria; illicit drug use; research
2.  Bacterial contamination of health care workers' white coats 
Patient-to-patient transmission of nosocomial pathogens has been linked to transient colonization of health care workers, and studies have suggested that contamination of health care workers' clothing, including white coats, may be a vector for this transmission.
We performed a cross-sectional study involving attendees of medical and surgical grand rounds at a large teaching hospital to investigate the prevalence of contamination of white coats with important nosocomial pathogens, such as methicillin-sensitive Stapylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA), and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). Each participant completed a brief survey and cultured his or her white coat using a moistened culture swab on lapels, pockets, and cuffs.
Among the 149 grand rounds attendees' white coats, 34 (23%) were contaminated with S aureus, of which 6 (18%) were MRSA. None of the coats was contaminated with VRE. S aureus contamination was more prevalent in residents, those working in inpatient settings, and those who saw an inpatient that day.
This study suggests that a large proportion of health care workers' white coats may be contaminated with S aureus, including MRSA. White coats may be an important vector for patient-to-patient transmission of S aureus.
PMCID: PMC2892863  PMID: 18834751
3.  Effects of Contact Precautions on Patient Perception of Care and Satisfaction: A Prospective Cohort Study 
Contact precautions decrease healthcare worker–patient contact and may impact patient satisfaction. To determine the association between contact precautions and patient satisfaction, we used a standardized interview for perceived issues with care.
Prospective cohort study of inpatients, evaluated at admission and on hospital days 3, 7, and 14 (until discharged). At each point, patients underwent a standardized interview to identify perceived problems with care. After discharge, the standardized interview and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey were administered by telephone. Responses were recorded, transcribed, and coded by 2 physician reviewers.
A total of 528 medical or surgical patients not admitted to the intensive care unit.
A total of 528 patients were included in the primary analysis, of whom 104 (20%) perceived some issue with their care. On multivariable logistic regression, contact precautions were independently associated with a greater number of perceived concerns with care (odds ratio, 2.05 [95% confidence interval, 1.31–3.21]; P < .01), including poor coordination of care (P = .02) and a lack of respect for patient needs and preferences (P = .001). Eighty-eight patients were included in the secondary analysis of HCAHPS. Patients under contact precautions did not have different HCAHPS scores than those not under contact precautions (odds ratio, 1.79 [95% confidence interval, 0.64–5.00]; P = .27).
Patients under contact precautions were more likely to perceive problems with their care, especially poor coordination of care and a lack of respect for patient preferences.
PMCID: PMC4070370  PMID: 24018926
5.  Universal Glove and Gown Use and Acquisition of Antibiotic resistant bacteria in the ICU: A Randomized Trial 
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are associated with increased patient morbidity and mortality. It is unknown whether wearing gloves and gowns for all patient contact in the intensive care unit (ICU) decreases acquisition of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
To assess whether wearing gloves and gowns for all patient contact in the ICU decreases acquisition of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) compared with usual care.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Cluster-randomized trial in 20 medical and surgical ICUs in 20 US hospitals from January 4, 2012, to October 4, 2012.
In the intervention ICUs, all health care workers were required to wear gloves and gowns for all patient contact and when entering any patient room.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The primary outcome was acquisition of MRSA or VRE based on surveillance cultures collected on admission and discharge from the ICU. Secondary outcomes included individual VRE acquisition, MRSA acquisition, frequency of health care worker visits, hand hygiene compliance, health care–associated infections, and adverse events.
From the 26 180 patients included, 92 241 swabs were collected for the primary outcome. Intervention ICUs had a decrease in the primary outcome of MRSA or VRE from 21.35 acquisitions per 1000 patient-days (95% CI, 17.57 to 25.94) in the baseline period to 16.91 acquisitions per 1000 patient-days (95% CI, 14.09 to 20.28) in the study period, whereas control ICUs had a decrease in MRSA or VRE from 19.02 acquisitions per 1000 patient-days (95% CI, 14.20 to 25.49) in the baseline period to 16.29 acquisitions per 1000 patient-days (95% CI, 13.48 to 19.68) in the study period, a difference in changes that was not statistically significant (difference, −1.71 acquisitions per 1000 person-days, 95% CI, −6.15 to 2.73; P = .57). For key secondary outcomes, there was no difference in VRE acquisition with the intervention (difference, 0.89 acquisitions per 1000 person-days; 95% CI, −4.27 to 6.04, P = .70), whereas for MRSA, there were fewer acquisitions with the intervention (difference, −2.98 acquisitions per 1000 person-days; 95% CI, −5.58 to −0.38; P = .046). Universal glove and gown use also decreased health care worker room entry (4.28 vs 5.24 entries per hour, difference, −0.96; 95% CI, −1.71 to −0.21, P = .02), increased room-exit hand hygiene compliance (78.3% vs 62.9%, difference, 15.4%; 95% CI, 8.99% to 21.8%; P = .02) and had no statistically significant effect on rates of adverse events (58.7 events per 1000 patient days vs 74.4 events per 1000 patient days; difference, −15.7; 95% CI, −40.7 to 9.2, P = .24).
Conclusions and Relevance
The use of gloves and gowns for all patient contact compared with usual care among patients in medical and surgical ICUs did not result in a difference in the primary outcome of acquisition of MRSA or VRE. Although there was a lower risk of MRSA acquisition alone and no difference in adverse events, these secondary outcomes require replication before reaching definitive conclusions.
PMCID: PMC4026208  PMID: 24097234
6.  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
7.  Optimizing antimicrobial prescribing: Are clinicians following national trends in methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections rather than local data when treating MRSA wound infections 
Clinicians often prescribe antimicrobials for outpatient wound infections before culture results are known. Local or national MRSA rates may be considered when prescribing antimicrobials. If clinicians prescribe in response to national rather than local MRSA trends, prescribing may be improved by making local data accessible. We aimed to assess the correlation between outpatient trends in antimicrobial prescribing and the prevalence of MRSA wound infections across local and national levels.
Monthly MRSA positive wound culture counts were obtained from The Surveillance Network, a database of antimicrobial susceptibilities from clinical laboratories across 278 zip codes from 1999–2007. Monthly outpatient retail sales of linezolid, clindamycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and cephalexin from 1999–2007 were obtained from the IMS Health XponentTM database. Rates were created using census populations. The proportion of variance in prescribing that could be explained by MRSA rates was assessed by the coefficient of determination (R2), using population weighted linear regression.
107,215 MRSA positive wound cultures and 106,641,604 antimicrobial prescriptions were assessed. The R2 was low when zip code-level antimicrobial prescription rates were compared to MRSA rates at all levels. State-level prescriptions of clindamycin and linezolid were not correlated with state MRSA rates. The variance in state-level prescribing of clindamycin and linezolid was correlated with national MRSA rates (clindamycin R2 = 0.17, linezolid R2 = 0.22).
Clinicians may rely on national, not local MRSA data when prescribing clindamycin and linezolid for wound infections. Providing local resistance data to prescribing clinicians may improve antimicrobial prescribing and would be a possible target for future interventions.
PMCID: PMC3853220  PMID: 24128420
Drug utilization; Antimicrobial prescribing; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
8.  Long-Term Risk for Readmission, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Infection, and Death among MRSA-Colonized Veterans 
While numerous studies have assessed the outcomes of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) colonization over the short term, little is known about longer-term outcomes after discharge. An assessment of long-term outcomes could provide information about the utility of various MRSA prevention approaches. A matched-cohort study was performed among Veterans Affairs (VA) patients screened for MRSA colonization between the years 2007 and 2009 and followed to evaluate outcomes until 2010. Cox proportional-hazard models were used to evaluate the association between MRSA colonization and long-term outcomes, such as infection-related readmission and crude mortality. A total of 404 veterans were included, 206 of whom were MRSA carriers and 198 of whom were noncarriers. There were no culture-proven MRSA infections on readmission among the noncarriers, but 13% of MRSA carriers were readmitted with culture-proven MRSA infections on readmission (P < 0.01). MRSA carriers were significantly more likely to be readmitted, to be readmitted more than once due to proven or probable MRSA infections, and to be readmitted within 90 days of discharge than noncarriers (P < 0.05). Infection-related readmission (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 4.07; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.16 to 7.67) and mortality (adjusted HR = 2.71; 95% CI, 1.87 to 3.91) were significantly higher among MRSA carriers than among noncarriers after statistically adjusting for potential confounders. Among a cohort of VA patients, MRSA carriers are at high risk of infection-related readmission, MRSA infection, and mortality compared to noncarriers. Noncarriers are at very low risk of subsequent MRSA infection. Future studies should address whether interventions such as nasal or skin decolonization could result in improved outcomes for MRSA carriers.
PMCID: PMC3591925  PMID: 23254427
9.  Assessing the Burden of Acinetobacter baumannii in Maryland: A Statewide Cross-Sectional Period Prevalence Survey 
To determine the prevalence of Acinetobacter baumannii, an important healthcare-associated pathogen, among mechanically ventilated patients in Maryland.
The Maryland MDRO Prevention Collaborative performed a statewide cross-sectional active surveillance survey of mechanically ventilated patients residing in acute care and long-term care (LTC) facilities. Surveillance cultures (sputum and perianal) were obtained from all mechanically ventilated inpatients at participating facilities during a 2-week period.
All healthcare facilities in Maryland that provide care for mechanically ventilated patients were invited to participate.
Mechanically ventilated patients, known to be at high risk for colonization and infection with A. baumannii, were included.
Seventy percent (40/57) of all eligible healthcare facilities participated in the survey, representing both acute care (n = 30) and LTC (n = 10) facilities in all geographic regions of Maryland. Surveillance cultures were obtained from 92% (358/390) of eligible patients. A. baumannii was identified in 34% of all mechanically ventilated patients in Maryland; multidrug-resistant A. baumannii was found in 27% of all patients. A. baumannii was detected in at least 1 patient in 49% of participating facilities; 100% of LTC facilities had at least 1 patient with A. baumannii, compared with 31% of acute care facilities. A. baumannii was identified from all facilities in which 10 or more patients were sampled.
A. baumannii is common among mechanically ventilated patients in both acute care and LTC facilities throughout Maryland, with a high proportion of isolates demonstrating multidrug resistance.
PMCID: PMC3720130  PMID: 22869261
10.  Association between Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Colonization and Infection May Not Differ by Age Group 
We assessed whether age modified the association between methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) anterior nares colonization and subsequent infection. Among 7,405 patients (9,511 admissions), MRSA colonization was significantly associated with infection (adjusted odds ratio, 13.7 [95% confidence interval, 7.3–25.7]) but did not differ significantly by age group.
PMCID: PMC3677581  PMID: 23221199
11.  Validity of ICD-9-CM Coding for Identifying Incident Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Infections: Is MRSA Infection Coded as a Chronic Disease? 
Investigators and medical decision makers frequently rely on administrative databases to assess methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection rates and outcomes. The validity of this approach remains unclear. We sought to assess the validity of the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) code for infection with drug-resistant microorganisms (V09) for identifying culture-proven MRSA infection.
Retrospective cohort study.
All adults admitted to 3 geographically distinct hospitals between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2007, were assessed for presence of incident MRSA infection, defined as an MRSA-positive clinical culture obtained during the index hospitalization, and presence of the V09 ICD-9-CM code. The k statistic was calculated to measure the agreement between presence of MRSA infection and assignment of the V09 code. Sensitivities, specificities, positive predictive values, and negative predictive values were calculated.
There were 466,819 patients discharged during the study period. Of the 4,506 discharged patients (1.0%) who had the V09 code assigned, 31% had an incident MRSA infection, 20% had prior history of MRSA colonization or infection but did not have an incident MRSA infection, and 49% had no record of MRSA infection during the index hospitalization or the previous hospitalization. The V09 code identified MRSA infection with a sensitivity of 24% (range, 21%–34%) and positive predictive value of 31% (range, 22%–53%). The agreement between assignment of the V09 code and presence of MRSA infection had a κ coefficient of 0.26 (95% confidence interval, 0.25–0.27).
In its current state, the ICD-9-CM code V09 is not an accurate predictor of MRSA infection and should not be used to measure rates of MRSA infection.
PMCID: PMC3663328  PMID: 21460469
12.  Adverse outcomes associated with contact precautions: A review of the literature 
Contact Precautions (CP) are a standard method for preventing patient-to-patient transmission of multiple drug-resistant organisms (MDROs) in hospital settings. With the ongoing worldwide concern for MDROs including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and broadened use of active surveillance programs, an increasing number of patients are being placed on CP. Whereas few would argue that CP are an important tool in infection control, many reports and small studies have observed worse noninfectious outcomes in patients on CP. However, no review of this literature exists.
We systematically reviewed the literature describing adverse outcomes associated with CP. We identified 15 studies published between 1989 and 2008 relating to adverse outcomes from CP. Nine were higher quality based on standardized collection of data and/or inclusion of control groups.
Four main adverse outcomes related to CP were identified in this review. These included less patient-health care worker contact, changes in systems of care that produce delays and more noninfectious adverse events, increased symptoms of depression and anxiety, and decreased patient satisfaction with care.
Although CP are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an intervention to control spread of MDROs, our review of the literature demonstrates that this approach has unintended consequences that are potentially deleterious to the patient. Measures to ameliorate these deleterious consequences of CP are urgently needed.
PMCID: PMC3557494  PMID: 19249637
13.  Non-prescription antimicrobial use worldwide: a systematic review 
The Lancet infectious diseases  2011;11(9):692-701.
In much of the world antimicrobial drugs are sold without prescription or oversight by health-care professionals. The scale and effect of this practice is unknown. We systematically reviewed published works about non-prescription antimicrobials from 1970–2009, identifying 117 relevant articles. 35 community surveys from five continents showed that non-prescription use occurred worldwide and accounted for 19–100% of antimicrobial use outside of northern Europe and North America. Safety issues associated with non-prescription use included adverse drug reactions and masking of underlying infectious processes. Non-prescription use was common for non-bacterial disease, and antituberculosis drugs were available in many areas. Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are common in communities with frequent non-prescription use. In a few settings, control efforts that included regulation decreased antimicrobial use and resistance. Non-prescription antimicrobial and antituberculosis use is common outside of North America and northern Europe and must be accounted for in public health efforts to reduce antimicrobial resistance.
PMCID: PMC3543997  PMID: 21659004
14.  Improving Efficiency in Active Surveillance for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus or Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus at Hospital Admission 
Mandatory active surveillance culturing of all patients admitted to Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals carries substantial economic costs. Clinical prediction rules have been used elsewhere to identify patients at high risk of colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). We aimed to derive and evaluate the clinical efficacy of prediction rules for MRSA and VRE colonization in a VA hospital.
Prospective cohort of adult inpatients admitted to the medical and surgical wards of a 119-bed tertiary care VA hospital.
Within 48 hours after admission, patients gave consent, completed a 44-item risk factor questionnaire, and provided nasal culture samples for MRSA testing. A subset provided perirectal culture samples for VRE testing.
Of 598 patients enrolled from August 30, 2007, through October 30, 2009, 585 provided nares samples and 239 provided perirectal samples. The prevalence of MRSA was 10.4% (61 of 585) (15.0% in patients with and 5.6% in patients without electronic medical record (EMR)–documented antibiotic use during the past year; P < .01). The prevalence of VRE was 6.3% (15 of 239) (11.3% in patients with and 0.9% in patients without EMR-documented antibiotic use; P < .01). The use of EMR-documented antibiotic use during the past year as the predictive rule for screening identified 242.8 (84%) of 290.6 subsequent days of exposure to MRSA and 60.0 (98%) of 61.0 subsequent days of exposure to VRE, respectively. EMR documentation of antibiotic use during the past year identified 301 (51%) of 585 patients as high-risk patients for whom additional testing with active surveillance culturing would be appropriate.
EMR documentation of antibiotic use during the year prior to admission identifies most MRSA and nearly all VRE transmission risk with surveillance culture sampling of only 51% of patients. This approach has substantial cost savings compared with the practice of universal active surveillance.
PMCID: PMC3544004  PMID: 21028966
15.  Association between Contact Precautions and Delirium at a Tertiary Care Center 
To investigate the relationship between contact precautions and delirium among inpatients, adjusting for other factors.
Retrospective cohort study.
A 662-bed tertiary care center.
All nonpyschiatric adult patients admitted to a tertiary care center from 2007 through 2009.
Generalized estimating equations were used to estimate the association between contact precautions and delirium in a retrospective cohort of 2 years of admissions to a tertiary care center.
During the 2-year period, 60,151 admissions occurred in 45,266 unique nonpsychiatric patients. After adjusting for comorbid conditions, age, sex, intensive care unit status, and length of hospitalization, contact precautions were significantly associated with delirium (as defined by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision), medication, or restraint exposure (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.40 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.24–1.51]). The association between contact precautions and delirium was seen only in patients who were newly placed under contact precautions during the course of their stay (adjusted OR, 1.75 [95% CI, 1.60–1.92]; P < .01) and was not seen in patients who were already under contact precautions at admission (adjusted OR, 0.97 [95% CI, 0.86–1.09]; P=.60).
Although delirium was more common in patients who were newly placed under contact precautions during the course of their hospital admission, delirium was not associated with contact precautions started at hospital admission. Patients newly placed under contact precautions after admission but during hospitalization appear to be at a higher risk and may benefit from proven delirium-prevention strategies.
PMCID: PMC3544005  PMID: 22173520
16.  Transfer of multidrug-resistant bacteria to healthcare workers’ gloves and gowns after patient contact increases with environmental contamination 
Critical care medicine  2012;40(4):1045-1051.
To assess the role of environmental contamination in the transmission of multidrug-resistant bacteria to healthcare workers’ clothing.
Prospective cohort.
Six intensive care units at a tertiary care hospital.
Healthcare workers including registered nurses, patient care technicians, respiratory therapists, occupational/physical therapists, and physicians.
Measurements and Main Results
One hundred twenty of 585 (20.5%) healthcare worker/patient interactions resulted in contamination of healthcare workers’ gloves or gowns. Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii contamination occurred most frequently, 55 of 167 observations (32.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 25.8% to 40.0%), followed by multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, 15 of 86 (17.4%; 95% CI 9.4% to 25.4%), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, 25 of 180 (13.9%, 95% CI 8.9, 18.9%) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, 21 of 152 (13.8%; 95% CI 8.3% to 19.2%). Independent risk factors associated with healthcare worker contamination with multidrug-resistant bacteria were positive environmental cultures (odds ratio [OR] 4.2; 95% CI 2.7–6.5), duration in room for >5 mins (OR 2.0; 95% CI 1.2–3.4), performing physical examinations (OR 1.7; 95% CI 1.1–2.8), and contact with the ventilator (OR 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1–2.8). Pulsed field gel electrophoresis determined that 91% of healthcare worker isolates were related to an environmental or patient isolate.
The contamination of healthcare workers’ protective clothing during routine care of patients with multidrug- resistant organisms is most frequent with A. baumannii. Environmental contamination was the major determinant of transmission to healthcare workers’ gloves or gowns. Compliance with contact precautions and more aggressive environmental cleaning may decrease transmission.
PMCID: PMC3534819  PMID: 22202707
Acinetobacter; contact precautions; contamination; environment; MRSA; VRE
17.  Impact of the ventilator bundle on ventilator-associated pneumonia in intensive care unit 
The ventilator bundle is being promoted to prevent adverse events in ventilated patients including ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). We aimed to: (i) examine adoption of the ventilator bundle elements; (ii) determine effectiveness of individual elements and setting characteristics in reducing VAP; (iii) determine effectiveness of two infection-specific elements on reducing VAP; and, (iv) assess crossover effects of complying with VAP elements on central line-associated bloodstream infections.
Cross-sectional survey.
Four hundred and fifteen ICUs from 250 US hospitals.
Managers/directors of infection prevention and control departments.
Adoption and compliance with ventilator bundle elements.
Main Outcome Measures
VAP rates.
The mean VAP rate was 2.7/1000 ventilator days. Two-thirds (n = 284) reported presence of the full ventilator bundle policy. However, only 66% (n = 188/284) monitored implementation; of those, 39% (n = 73/188) reported high compliance. Only when an intensive care unit (ICU) had a policy, monitored compliance and achieved high compliance were VAP rates lower. Compliance with individual elements or just one of two infection-related element had no impact on VAP (β = −0.79, P= 0.15). There was an association between complying with two infection elements and lower rates (β = −1.81, P< 0.01). There were no crossover effects. Presence of a full-time hospital epidemiologist (HE) was significantly associated with lower VAP rates (β = −3.62, P< 0.01).
The ventilator bundle was frequently present but not well implemented. Individual elements did not appear effective; strict compliance with infection elements was needed. Efforts to prevent VAP may be successful in settings of high levels of compliance with all infection-specific elements and in settings with full-time HEs.
PMCID: PMC3168266  PMID: 21821603
ventilator-associated pneumonia; healthcare-associated infections; infection control; ventilator bundle; intensive care units; quality improvement; guidelines
18.  USA300 Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia and the Risk of Severe Sepsis: Is USA300 MRSA Associated with More Severe Infections? 
USA300 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is increasing as a cause of severe community-associated bacteremic infections. We assessed severe sepsis in response to infection in patients with USA300 MRSA compared to non-USA300 MRSA bacteremia.
A cohort study was conducted from 1997–2008 comparing sepsis in response to infection in 271 patients with MRSA bacteremia from four VA hospitals.
Sixty-seven (25%) patients with MRSA bacteremia were USA300 MRSA; 204 (75%) were non-USA300 MRSA. The proportion of MRSA bacteremia caused by USA300 MRSA increased over time (χ2 p<0.0001). Adjusting for age and nosocomial infection, patients with USA300 MRSA bacteremia were more likely to have severe sepsis or septic shock in response to infection than patients with non-USA300 MRSA bacteremia (adjusted Relative Risk=1.82; 95% CI: 1.16–2.87; p=0.01).
This suggests that patients with USA300 MRSA are more likely to develop severe sepsis in response to their infection, which could be due to host or bacterial differences.
PMCID: PMC3118841  PMID: 21558047
19.  Association Between Depression and Contact Precautions in Veterans at Hospital Admission 
Contact Precautions (CP) have been associated with depression and anxiety. We enrolled 103 patients on admission to a VA hospital and administered the Hospital Depression and Anxiety Scale (HADs). The mean unadjusted HADS score was 10% higher in patients on CP (14.3 vs 13.0, p=0.47) and the association stronger after adjusting for other variables (mean difference 2.2, p=0.21). Although underpowered, in the largest study to date, patients on CP tended towards more depression and anxiety.
PMCID: PMC3304097  PMID: 21356434
Depression; anxiety; isolation; contact precautions
20.  National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Funding for Studies of Hospital-Associated Bacterial Pathogens: Are Funds Proportionate to Burden of Disease? 
Hospital-associated infections (HAIs) are associated with a considerable burden of disease and direct costs greater than $17 billion. The pathogens that cause the majority of serious HAIs are Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium difficile, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species, referred as ESCKAPE. We aimed to determine the amount of funding the National Institute of Health (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) allocates to research on antimicrobial resistant pathogens, particularly ESCKAPE pathogens.
The NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT) database was used to identify NIAID antimicrobial resistance research grants funded in 2007-2009 using the terms "antibiotic resistance," "antimicrobial resistance," and "hospital-associated infection."
Funding for antimicrobial resistance grants has increased from 2007-2009. Antimicrobial resistance funding for bacterial pathogens has seen a smaller increase than non-bacterial pathogens. The total funding for all ESKCAPE pathogens was $ 22,005,943 in 2007, $ 30,810,153 in 2008 and $ 49,801,227 in 2009. S. aureus grants received $ 29,193,264 in FY2009, the highest funding amount of all the ESCKAPE pathogens. Based on 2009 funding data, approximately $1,565 of research money was spent per S. aureus related death and $750 of was spent per C. difficile related death.
Although the funding for ESCKAPE pathogens has increased from 2007 to 2009, funding levels for antimicrobial resistant bacteria-related grants is still lower than funding for antimicrobial resistant non-bacterial pathogens. Efforts may be needed to improve research funding for resistant-bacterial pathogens, particularly as their clinical burden increases.
PMCID: PMC3415121  PMID: 22958856
Antibiotic resistance; NIH; Hospital-associated infection; research funding; disease burden
21.  Comparative effectiveness of nafcillin or cefazolin versus vancomycin in methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:279.
The high prevalence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) has led clinicians to select antibiotics that have coverage against MRSA, usually vancomycin, for empiric therapy for suspected staphylococcal infections. Clinicians often continue vancomycin started empirically even when methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) strains are identified by culture. However, vancomycin has been associated with poor outcomes such as nephrotoxicity, persistent bacteremia and treatment failure. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of vancomycin versus the beta-lactam antibiotics nafcillin and cefazolin among patients with MSSA bacteremia. The outcome of interest for this study was 30-day in-hospital mortality.
This retrospective cohort study included all adult in-patients admitted to a tertiary-care facility between January 1, 2003 and June 30, 2007 who had a positive blood culture for MSSA and received nafcillin, cefazolin or vancomycin. Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess independent mortality hazards comparing nafcillin or cefazolin versus vancomycin. Similar methods were used to estimate the survival benefits of switching from vancomycin to nafcillin or cefazolin versus leaving patients on vancomycin. Each model included statistical adjustment using propensity scores which contained variables associated with an increased propensity to receive vancomycin.
267 patients were included; 14% (38/267) received nafcillin or cefazolin, 51% (135/267) received both vancomycin and either nafcillin or cefazolin, and 35% (94/267) received vancomycin. Thirty (11%) died within 30 days. Those receiving nafcillin or cefazolin had 79% lower mortality hazards compared with those who received vancomycin alone (adjusted hazard ratio (HR): 0.21; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.09, 0.47). Among the 122 patients who initially received vancomycin empirically, those who were switched to nafcillin or cefazolin (66/122) had 69% lower mortality hazards (adjusted HR: 0.31; 95% CI: 0.10, 0.95) compared to those who remained on vancomycin.
Receipt of nafcillin or cefazolin was protective against mortality compared to vancomycin even when therapy was altered after culture results identified MSSA. Convenience of vancomycin dosing may not outweigh the potential benefits of nafcillin or cefazolin in the treatment of MSSA bacteremia.
PMCID: PMC3206863  PMID: 22011388
22.  Seasonal and Temperature-Associated Increases in Gram-Negative Bacterial Bloodstream Infections among Hospitalized Patients 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e25298.
Knowledge of seasonal trends in hospital-associated infection incidence may improve surveillance and help guide the design and evaluation of infection prevention interventions. We estimated seasonal variation in the frequencies of inpatient bloodstream infections (BSIs) caused by common bacterial pathogens and examined associations of monthly BSI frequencies with ambient outdoor temperature, precipitation, and humidity levels.
A database containing blood cultures from 132 U.S. hospitals collected between January 1999 and September 2006 was assembled. The database included monthly counts of inpatient blood cultures positive for several clinically important Gram-negative bacteria (Acinetobacter spp, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and Gram-positive bacteria (Enterococcus spp and Staphylococcus aureus). Monthly mean temperature, total precipitation, and mean relative humidity in the postal ZIP codes of participating hospitals were obtained from national meteorological databases.
A total of 211,697 inpatient BSIs were reported during 9,423 hospital-months. Adjusting for long-term trends, BSIs caused by each Gram-negative organism examined were more frequent in summer months compared with winter months, with increases ranging from 12.2% for E. coli (95% CI 9.2–15.4) to 51.8% for Acinetobacter (95% CI 41.1–63.2). Summer season was associated with 8.7% fewer Enterococcus BSIs (95% CI 11.0–5.8) and no significant change in S. aureus BSI frequency relative to winter. Independent of season, monthly humidity, monthly precipitation, and long-term trends, each 5.6°C (10°F) rise in mean monthly temperature corresponded to increases in Gram-negative bacterial BSI frequencies ranging between 3.5% for E. coli (95% CI 2.1–4.9) to 10.8% for Acinetobacter (95% CI 6.9–14.7). The same rise in mean monthly temperature corresponded to an increase of 2.2% in S. aureus BSI frequency (95% CI 1.3–3.2) but no significant change in Enterococcus BSI frequency.
Summer season and higher mean monthly outdoor temperature are associated with substantially increased frequency of BSIs, particularly among clinically important Gram-negative bacteria.
PMCID: PMC3180381  PMID: 21966489
23.  Increased Mortality with Accessory Gene Regulator (agr) Dysfunction in Staphylococcus aureus among Bacteremic Patients ▿ †  
Accessory gene regulator (agr) dysfunction in Staphylococcus aureus has been associated with a longer duration of bacteremia. We aimed to assess the independent association between agr dysfunction in S. aureus bacteremia and 30-day in-hospital mortality. This retrospective cohort study included all adult inpatients with S. aureus bacteremia admitted between 1 January 2003 and 30 June 2007. Severity of illness prior to culture collection was measured using the modified acute physiology score (APS). agr dysfunction in S. aureus was identified semiquantitatively by using a δ-hemolysin production assay. Cox proportional hazard models were used to measure the association between agr dysfunction and 30-day in-hospital mortality, statistically adjusting for patient and pathogen characteristics. Among 814 patient admissions complicated by S. aureus bacteremia, 181 (22%) patients were infected with S. aureus isolates with agr dysfunction. Overall, 18% of patients with agr dysfunction in S. aureus died, compared to 12% of those with functional agr in S. aureus (P = 0.03). There was a trend toward higher mortality among patients with S. aureus with agr dysfunction (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.87 to 2.06). Among patients with the highest APS (scores of >28), agr dysfunction in S. aureus was significantly associated with mortality (adjusted HR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.03 to 3.21). This is the first study to demonstrate an independent association between agr dysfunction and mortality among severely ill patients. The δ-hemolysin assay examining agr function may be a simple and inexpensive approach to predicting patient outcomes and potentially optimizing antibiotic therapy.
PMCID: PMC3067101  PMID: 21173172
24.  The Impact of Contact Isolation on the Quality of Inpatient Hospital Care 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22190.
Contact Isolation is a common hospital infection prevention method that may improve infectious outcomes but may also hinder healthcare delivery.
To evaluate the impact of Contact Isolation on compliance with individual and composite process of care quality measures, we formed four retrospective diagnosis-based cohorts from a 662-bed tertiary-care medical center. Each cohort contained patients evaluated for one of four Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare process measures including Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI), Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), Pneumonia (PNA) and Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) from January 1, 2007 through May 30, 2009.
The 6716-admission cohort included 1259 with AMI, 834 with CHF, 1377 with PNA and 3246 in SCIP. Contact Isolation was associated with not meeting 4 of 23 individual hospital measures (4 of 10 measures were not met for care provided while patients are typically isolated). Contact Isolation was independently associated with lower compliance with the composite pneumonia process-of-care measure (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1–0.7). AMI, CHF and SCIP composite measures were not impacted by Contact Isolation.
Contact Isolation was associated with lower adherence to some pneumonia quality of care process measures of care on inpatient wards but did not impact CHF, AMI or SCIP measures.
PMCID: PMC3141007  PMID: 21811572
25.  Targeted Surveillance of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Its Potential Use To Guide Empiric Antibiotic Therapy ▿  
The present study aimed to determine the frequency of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)-positive clinical culture among hospitalized adults in different risk categories of a targeted MRSA active surveillance screening program and to assess the utility of screening in guiding empiric antibiotic therapy. We completed a prospective cohort study in which all adults admitted to non-intensive-care-unit locations who had no history of MRSA colonization or infection received targeted screening for MRSA colonization upon hospital admission. Anterior nares swab specimens were obtained from all high-risk patients, defined as those who self-reported admission to a health care facility within the previous 12 months or who had an active skin infection on admission. Data were analyzed for the subcohort of patients in whom an infection was suspected, determined by (i) receipt of antibiotics within 48 h of admission and/or (ii) the result of culture of a sample for clinical analysis (clinical culture) obtained within 48 h of admission. Overall, 29,978 patients were screened and 12,080 patients had suspected infections. A total of 46.4% were deemed to be at high risk on the basis of the definition presented above, and 11.1% of these were MRSA screening positive (colonized). Among the screening-positive patients, 23.8% had a sample positive for MRSA by clinical culture. Only 2.4% of patients deemed to be at high risk but found to be screening negative had a sample positive for MRSA by clinical culture, and 1.6% of patients deemed to be at low risk had a sample positive for MRSA by clinical culture. The risk of MRSA infection was far higher in those who were deemed to be at high risk and who were surveillance culture positive. Targeted MRSA active surveillance may be beneficial in guiding empiric anti-MRSA therapy.
PMCID: PMC2916333  PMID: 20479207

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