Strengthening the evidence-policy interface is a well-recognized health system challenge in both the developed and developing world. Brokerage inherent in hospital-to-hospital partnerships can boost relationships between “evidence” and “policy” communities and move developing countries towards evidence based patient safety policy. In particular, we use the experience of a global hospital partnership programme focused on patient safety in the African Region to explore how hospital partnerships can be instrumental in advancing responsive decision-making, and the translation of patient safety evidence into health policy and planning. A co-developed approach to evidence-policy strengthening with seven components is described, with reflections from early implementation. This rapidly expanding field of enquiry is ripe for shared learning across continents, in keeping with the principles and spirit of health systems development in a globalized world.
Patient safety; Global health; Policy-making; Evidence-based practice; Africa; Hospitals
Intensive care units (ICUs) play an important role in the epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus (MRSA). Although successful interventions are multi-modal, the relative efficacy of single measures remains unknown. We developed a discrete time, individual-based, stochastic mathematical model calibrated on cross-transmission observed through prospective surveillance to explore the transmission dynamics of MRSA in a medical ICU. Most input parameters were derived from locally acquired data. After fitting the model to the 46 observed cross-transmission events and performing sensitivity analysis, several screening and isolation policies were evaluated by simulating the number of cross-transmissions and isolation-days. The number of all cross-transmission events increased from 54 to 72 if only patients with a past history of MRSA colonization are screened and isolated at admission, to 75 if isolation is put in place only after the results of the admission screening become available, to 82 in the absence of admission screening and with a similar reactive isolation policy, and to 95 when no isolation policy is in place. The method used (culture or polymerase chain reaction) for admission screening had no impact on the number of cross-transmissions. Systematic regular screening during ICU stay provides no added-value, but aggressive admission screening and isolation effectively reduce the number of cross-transmissions. Critically, colonized healthcare workers may play an important role in MRSA transmission and their screening should be reinforced.
methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus; epidemiology; mathematical modelling
Noma (cancrum oris) is a gangrenous disease of unknown etiology affecting the maxillo-facial region of young children in extremely limited resource countries. In an attempt to better understand the microbiological events occurring during this disease, we used phylogenetic and low-density microarrays targeting the 16S rRNA gene to characterize the gingival flora of acute noma and acute necrotizing gingivitis (ANG) lesions, and compared them to healthy control subjects of the same geographical and social background. Our observations raise doubts about Fusobacterium necrophorum, a previously suspected causative agent of noma, as this species was not associated with noma lesions. Various oral pathogens were more abundant in noma lesions, notably Atopobium spp., Prevotella intermedia, Peptostreptococcus spp., Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus anginosus. On the other hand, pathogens associated with periodontal diseases such as Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Capnocytophaga spp., Porphyromonas spp. and Fusobacteriales were more abundant in healthy controls. Importantly, the overall loss of bacterial diversity observed in noma samples as well as its homology to that of ANG microbiota supports the hypothesis that ANG might be the immediate step preceding noma.
Noma, or cancrum oris, is a mutilating disease affecting children in extremely limited-resource countries, suffering poor hygiene and chronic malnutrition. This devastating gangrenous disease affects the hard and soft tissues of the face. To date, the origin of the disease is still debated and current hypotheses rely on microbial diseases or on the immunologic status of the host. In an attempt to better understand the etiology of noma, the authors of the study used microarrays to assess the bacterial microbiota of gingival fluids sampled from 413 healthy and diseased children. Results obtained show reduced bacterial diversity and abundance in samples obtained from diseased patients compared to samples obtained from healthy donors, sharing identical social situation. Oral pathogens were found in both conditions but Fusobacterium necrophorum, a putative causative agent of noma, was not associated with the disease. On the other hand, no clear bacterial candidate could be identified as the etiological agent of the disease. However, a number of potential pathogens were found at higher abundance in disease patients compared to healthy donors. Finally, this study provides evidence that acute necrotizing gingivitis often evolves to noma, an observation of importance considering the dramatic condition of patients evolving to acute noma.
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.
Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing enterobacteraciae; Infection control; Antimicrobial resistance
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.
Carrier state; Epidemiology; MRSA; Prevalence; Probability; Predictive value of tests; Staphylococcal infection; Switzerland
The implementation of evidence-based infection control practices is essential, yet challenging for healthcare institutions worldwide. Although acknowledged that implementation success varies with contextual factors, little is known regarding the most critical specific conditions within the complex cultural milieu of varying economic, political, and healthcare systems. Given the increasing reliance on unified global schemes to improve patient safety and healthcare effectiveness, research on this topic is needed and timely. The ‘InDepth’ work package of the European FP7 Prevention of Hospital Infections by Intervention and Training (PROHIBIT) consortium aims to assess barriers and facilitators to the successful implementation of catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) prevention in intensive care units (ICU) across several European countries.
We use a qualitative case study approach in the ICUs of six purposefully selected acute care hospitals among the 15 participants in the PROHIBIT CRBSI intervention study. For sensitizing schemes we apply the theory of diffusion of innovation, published implementation frameworks, sensemaking, and new institutionalism. We conduct interviews with hospital health providers/agents at different organizational levels and ethnographic observations, and conduct rich artifact collection, and photography during two rounds of on-site visits, once before and once one year into the intervention. Data analysis is based on grounded theory. Given the challenge of different languages and cultures, we enlist the help of local interpreters, allot two days for site visits, and perform triangulation across multiple data sources.
Qualitative measures of implementation success will consider the longitudinal interaction between the initiative and the institutional context. Quantitative outcomes on catheter-related bloodstream infections and performance indicators from another work package of the consortium will produce a final mixed-methods report.
A mixed-methods study of this scale with longitudinal follow-up is unique in the field of infection control. It highlights the ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of best practice implementation, revealing key factors that determine success of a uniform intervention in the context of several varying cultural, economic, political, and medical systems across Europe. These new insights will guide future implementation of more tailored and hence more successful infection control programs.
Trial number: PROHIBIT-241928 (FP7 reference number)
Implementation; Infection control; Catheter-related bloodstream infections; Hand hygiene; Intensive care units; Best practice; Organizational culture; Organizational case studies; Organizational innovation; Organizational decision making; Patient safety
Exposure to urinary catheters is considered the most important risk factor for healthcare-associated urinary tract infection (UTI) and is associated with significant morbidity and substantial extra-costs. In this study, we assessed the impact of urinary catheterisation (UC) on symptomatic healthcare-associated UTI among hospitalized patients.
A nationwide period prevalence survey of healthcare-associated infections was conducted during 1 May to 30 June 2004 in 49 Swiss hospitals and included 8169 adult patients (4313 female; 52.8%) hospitalised in medical, surgical, intermediate, and intensive care wards. Additional data were collected on exposure to UC to investigate factors associated with UTI among hospitalised adult patients exposed and non-exposed to UC.
1917 (23.5%) patients were exposed to UC within the week prior to survey day; 126 (126/8169; 1.5%) developed UTI. Exposure to UC preceded UTI only in 73 cases (58%). By multivariate logistic regression analysis, UTI was independently associated with exposure to UC (odds ratio [OR], 3.9 [95% CI, 2.6-5.9]), female gender (OR, 2.1 [95% CI, 1.4-3.1]), an American Society of Anesthesiologists’ score > 2 points (OR, 3.2 [95% CI, 1.1-9.4], and prolonged hospital stay >20 days (OR, 1.9 [95% CI, 1.4-3.2]. Further analysis showed that the only significant factor for UTI with exposure to UC use was prolonged hospital stay >40 days (OR, 2.9 [95% CI, 1.3-6.1], while female gender only showed a tendency (OR, 1.6 [95% CI, 1.0-2.7]. In the absence of exposure to UC, the only significant risk factor for UTI was female gender (OR, 3.3 [95% CI, 1.7-6.5]).
Exposure to UC was the most important risk factor for symptomatic healthcare-associated UTI, but only concerned about half of all patients with UTI. Further investigation is warranted to improve overall infection control strategies for UTI.
Prevalence; Urinary catheter; Acute care; Urinary tract infection; Nosocomial; Risk factors
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is increasing worldwide in healthcare settings and in the community. Some microbial pathogens have become resistant to multiple antibiotics, if not all presently available, thus severely compromising treatment success and contributing to enhanced morbidity, mortality, and resource use. The major driver of resistance is misuse of antibiotics in both human and non-human medicine. Both enhanced access and restricted use in many parts of the world is mandatory. There is an urgent need for an international, integrated, multi-level action to preserve antibiotics in the armamentarium of the 21st century and address the global issue of antimicrobial resistance.
Antibiotics; Antimicrobial resistance; Antimicrobial resistance surveillance; Antibiotics – use; Multidrug-resistant organisms
(See the editorial commentary by Drumright and Holmes, on pages 284–286.)
Reporting of confirmed pandemic influenza A virus (pH1N1) 2009 infection was mandatory among health care workers in Hong Kong. Among 1158 confirmed infections, there was no significant difference in incidence among clinical versus nonclinical staff (relative risk, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.78–1.20). Reported community exposure to pH1N1 was common and was similar in both groups.
Developing countries can generate effective solutions for today’s global health challenges. This paper reviews relevant literature to construct the case for international cooperation, and in particular, developed-developing country partnerships. Standard database and web-based searches were conducted for publications in English between 1990 and 2010. Studies containing full or partial data relating to international cooperation between developed and developing countries were retained for further analysis. Of 227 articles retained through initial screening, 65 were included in the final analysis. The results were two-fold: some articles pointed to intangible benefits accrued by developed country partners, but the majority of information pointed to developing country innovations that can potentially inform health systems in developed countries. This information spanned all six WHO health system components. Ten key health areas where developed countries have the most to learn from the developing world were identified and include, rural health service delivery; skills substitution; decentralisation of management; creative problem-solving; education in communicable disease control; innovation in mobile phone use; low technology simulation training; local product manufacture; health financing; and social entrepreneurship. While there are no guarantees that innovations from developing country experiences can effectively transfer to developed countries, combined developed-developing country learning processes can potentially generate effective solutions for global health systems. However, the global pool of knowledge in this area is virgin and further work needs to be undertaken to advance understanding of health innovation diffusion. Even more urgently, a standardized method for reporting partnership benefits is needed—this is perhaps the single most immediate need in planning for, and realizing, the full potential of international cooperation between developed and developing countries.
Developed countries; Developing countries; Partnerships; Learning; International cooperation; Health care quality, Global health
Gentamicin-susceptible methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (GS-MRSA) clones have gradually replaced gentamicin-resistant MRSA (GR-MRSA) clones in many European countries. We studied molecular and epidemiological aspects of MRSA strain replacement in individual patients. All patients from whom at least 2 MRSA strains showing different gentamicin susceptibility patterns were isolated between 1996 and 2008 were retrospectively identified. Staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type and clonality between isolates were determined using molecular methods. Risk factors for individual GR-MRSA SCCmec I (prevalent clone) strain replacement with GS-MRSA non-SCCmec I types were studied in a nested case-crossover study (n = 55 patients). MRSA strain replacement was observed in 127 patients, 85 (67%) of whom were initially colonized with GR-MRSA replaced subsequently by GS-MRSA. Most GS-MRSA replacement strains (50; 59%) possessed SCCmec IV. All MRSA isolate pairs from the same patient that consisted of different gentamicin susceptibility and SCCmec types were also genotypically different. Exposure to domiciliary nursing assistance (odds ratio [OR], 8.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2 to 53.7) and high Charlson scores (OR, 7.1; 95% CI, 1.1 to 46.8) were associated with individual strain replacement. In individual patients, exogenous acquisition of a different MRSA strain was responsible for strain replacement in most cases. Domiciliary nursing assistance could be a target for specific control measures to prevent transmission of GS-MRSA in our setting.
Noma is a gangrenous disease that leads to severe disfigurement of the face with high morbidity and mortality, but its etiology remains unknown. Young children in developing countries are almost exclusively affected. The purpose of the study was to record and compare bacterial diversity in oral samples from children with or without acute noma or acute necrotizing gingivitis from a defined geographical region in Niger by culture-independent molecular methods.
Methods and Principal Findings
Gingival samples from 23 healthy children, nine children with acute necrotizing gingivitis, and 23 children with acute noma (both healthy and diseased oral sites) were amplified using “universal” PCR primers for the 16 S rRNA gene and pooled according to category (noma, healthy, or acute necrotizing gingivitis), gender, and site status (diseased or control site). Seven libraries were generated. A total of 1237 partial 16 S rRNA sequences representing 339 bacterial species or phylotypes at a 98–99% identity level were obtained. Analysis of bacterial composition and frequency showed that diseased (noma or acute necrotizing gingivitis) and healthy site bacterial communities are composed of similar bacteria, but differ in the prevalence of a limited group of phylotypes. Large increases in counts of Prevotella intermedia and members of the Peptostreptococcus genus are associated with disease. In contrast, no clear-cut differences were found between noma and non-noma libraries.
Similarities between acute necrotizing gingivitis and noma samples support the hypothesis that the disease could evolve from acute necrotizing gingivitis in certain children for reasons still to be elucidated. This study revealed oral microbiological patterns associated with noma and acute necrotizing gingivitis, but no evidence was found for a specific infection-triggering agent.
Noma is a devastating gangrenous disease that leads to severe facial disfigurement, but its cause remains unknown. It is associated with high morbidity and mortality and affects almost exclusively young children living in remote areas of developing countries, particularly in Africa. Several factors have been linked to the disease, including malnutrition, immune dysfunction, lack of oral hygiene, and lesions of the mucosal gingival barrier, particularly the presence of acute necrotizing gingivitis, and a potentially non-identified bacterial factor acting as a trigger for the disease. This study assessed the total bacterial diversity present in 69 oral samples of 55 children in Niger with or without acute noma or acute necrotizing gingivitis using culture-independent molecular methods. Analysis of bacterial composition and frequency showed that diseased and healthy site bacterial communities are composed of similar bacteria, but differ in the prevalence of a limited group of phylotypes. We failed to identify a causative infectious agent for noma or acute necrotizing gingivitis as the most plausible pathogens for both conditions were present also in sizeable numbers in healthy subjects. Most likely, the disease is initiated by a synergistic combination of several bacterial species, and not a single agent.
Resistance to antibiotics has increased dramatically over the past few years and has now reached a level that places future patients in real danger. Microorganisms such as Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, which are commensals and pathogens for humans and animals, have become increasingly resistant to third-generation cephalosporins. Moreover, in certain countries, they are also resistant to carbapenems and therefore susceptible only to tigecycline and colistin. Resistance is primarily attributed to the production of beta-lactamase genes located on mobile genetic elements, which facilitate their transfer between different species. In some rare cases, Gram-negative rods are resistant to virtually all known antibiotics. The causes are numerous, but the role of the overuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals is essential, as well as the transmission of these bacteria in both the hospital and the community, notably via the food chain, contaminated hands, and between animals and humans. In addition, there are very few new antibiotics in the pipeline, particularly for Gram-negative bacilli. The situation is slightly better for Gram-positive cocci as some potent and novel antibiotics have been made available in recent years. A strong and coordinated international programme is urgently needed. To meet this challenge, 70 internationally recognized experts met for a two-day meeting in June 2011 in Annecy (France) and endorsed a global call to action ("The Pensières Antibiotic Resistance Call to Action"). Bundles of measures that must be implemented simultaneously and worldwide are presented in this document. In particular, antibiotics, which represent a treasure for humanity, must be protected and considered as a special class of drugs.
antibiotic resistance; antibiotic stewardship; infection control; hand hygiene; surveillance networks; care bundles; environment; regulations; human medicine; animal medicine
Patient participation is increasingly recognized as a key component in the redesign of health care processes and is advocated as a means to improve patient safety. The concept has been successfully applied to various areas of patient care, such as decision making and the management of chronic diseases. We review the origins of patient participation, discuss the published evidence on its efficacy, and summarize the factors influencing its implementation. Patient-related factors, such as acceptance of the new patient role, lack of medical knowledge, lack of confidence, comorbidity, and various sociodemographic parameters, all affect willingness to participate in the health care process. Among health care workers, the acceptance and promotion of patient participation are influenced by other issues, including the desire to maintain control, lack of time, personal beliefs, type of illness, and training in patient-caregiver relationships. Social status, specialty, ethnic origin, and the stakes involved also influence patient and health care worker acceptance. The London Declaration, endorsed by the World Health Organization World Alliance for Patient Safety, calls for a greater role for patients to improve the safety of health care worldwide. Patient participation in hand hygiene promotion among staff to prevent health care—associated infection is discussed as an illustrative example. A conceptual model including key factors that influence participation and invite patients to contribute to error prevention is proposed. Further research is essential to establish key determinants for the success of patient participation in reducing medical errors and in improving patient safety.
Infestation; cockroach; intensive care unit; infection control; Ectobius vittiventris; Switzerland; letter
Assessing bacterial flora composition appears to be of increasing importance to fields as diverse as physiology, development, medicine, epidemiology, the environment, and the food industry. We report here the development and validation of an original microarray strategy that allows analysis of the phylogenic composition of complex bacterial mixtures. The microarray contains ∼9,500 feature elements targeting 16S rRNA gene-specific regions. Probe design was performed by selecting oligonucleotide sequences specific to each node of the seven levels of the bacterial phylogenetic tree (domain, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species). This approach, based on sequence information, allows analysis of the bacterial contents of complex bacterial mixtures to detect both known and unknown microorganisms. The presence of unknown organisms can be suspected and mapped on the phylogenetic tree, indicating where to refine analysis. Initial proof-of-concept experiments were performed on oral bacterial communities. Our results show that this hierarchical approach can reveal minor changes (≤1%) in gingival flora content when samples collected in individuals from similar geographical origins are compared.
Molecular characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains different from those of an endemic healthcare-associated clone was conducted over 13 years in Geneva, Switzerland. We demonstrated strain diversity, including clones rarely found in Europe. Local epidemiology of community-associated MRSA is diverse and is evolving by importation and transmission of new strains.
Methicillin-resistant; Staphylococcus aureus; non-multiresistant; molecular characterization; SCCmec; Switzerland; clonality; epidemiology; dispatch
Purpose of review
There is growing concern that changes in nurse workforce and hospital-restructuring interventions negatively impact on patient outcomes. This review focuses on the association between understaffing and health-care-associated infections.
There is a large number of studies showing that overcrowding, understaffing or a misbalance between workload and resources are important determinants of nosocomial infections and cross-transmission of microorganisms. Importantly, not only the number of staff but also the level of their training affects outcomes. The nurse workforce is ageing, mainly due to fewer individuals’ engaging in a nursing career. This phenomenon, combined with cost-driven downsizing, contributes to a nursing shortage, and this tendency is not expected to revert unless important system changes are implemented. The causal pathway between understaffing and infection is complex, and factors might include lack of time to comply with infection control recommendations, job dissatisfaction, job-related burnout, absenteeism and a high staff turnover.
The evidence that cost-driven downsizing and changes in staffing patterns causes harm to patients cannot be ignored, and should not be considered as an inevitable outcome. More research is needed to better define the optimal patient-to-nurse ratio in various hospital settings and to estimate the economical impact of the nursing shortage. All quality-improvement interventions should carefully take into account systems and processes to be successful, as the issue of staffing is essentially a structural problem.
cross-transmission; nosocomial infection; nurse; understaffing; workload
One home-developed assay and two commercial assays for the rapid identification of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were compared by use of a collection of clinical isolates displaying highly diverse genetic backgrounds. Our results suggest that users of orfX-staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec-based assays should repeatedly monitor the local epidemiology to minimize the risks of detection bias and the omission of emerging MRSA clones.
The clinical and economic burden of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is uncontested. We conducted the present study to determine whether low nurse-to-patient ratio increases the risk for VAP and whether this effect is similar for early-onset and late-onset VAP.
This prospective, observational, single-centre cohort study was conducted in the medical intensive care unit (ICU) of the University of Geneva Hospitals. All patients who were at risk for ICU-acquired infection admitted from January 1999 to December 2002 were followed from admission to discharge. Collected variables included patient characteristics, admission diagnosis, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, co-morbidities, exposure to invasive devices, daily number of patients and nurses on duty, nurse training level and all-site ICU-acquired infections. VAP was diagnosed using standard definitions.
Among 2,470 patients followed during their ICU stay, 262 VAP episodes were diagnosed in 209/936 patients (22.3%) who underwent mechanical ventilation. Median duration of mechanical ventilation was 3 days (interquartile range 2 to 6 days) among patients without VAP and 11 days (6 to 19 days) among patients with VAP. Late-onset VAP accounted for 61% of all episodes. The VAP rate was 37.6 episodes per 1,000 days at risk (95% confidence interval 33.2 to 42.4). The median daily nurse-to-patient ratio over the study period was 1.9 (interquartile range 1.8 to 2.2). By multivariate Cox regression analysis, we found that a high nurse-to-patient ratio was associated with a decreased risk for late-onset VAP (hazard ratio 0.42, 95% confidence interval 0.18 to 0.99), but there was no association with early-onset VAP.
Lower nurse-to-patient ratio is associated with increased risk for late-onset VAP.
Hand hygiene is one of the cornerstones of the prevention of health care-associated infection, but health care worker (HCW) compliance with good practices remains low. Alcohol-based handrub is the new standard for hand hygiene action worldwide and usually requires a system change for its successful introduction in routine care. Product acceptability by HCWs is a crucial step in this process.
We conducted a prospective intervention study to compare the impact on HCW compliance of a liquid (study phase I) versus a gel (phase II) handrub formulation of the same product during daily patient care. All staff (102 HCWs) of the medical intensive care unit participated. Compliance with hand hygiene was monitored by a single observer. Skin tolerance and product acceptability were assessed using subjective and objective scoring systems, self-report questionnaires, and biometric measurements. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between predictors and compliance with the handrub formulation as the main explanatory variable and to adjust for potential risk factors.
Overall compliance (phases I and II) with hand hygiene practices among nurses, physicians, nursing assistants, and other HCWs was 39.1%, 27.1%, 31.1%, and 13.9%, respectively (p = 0.027). Easy access to handrub improved compliance (35.3% versus 50.6%, p = 0.035). Nurse status, working on morning shifts, use of the gel formulation, and availability of the alcohol-based handrub in the HCW's pocket were independently associated with higher compliance. Immediate accessibility was the strongest predictor. Based on self-assessment, observer assessment, and the measurement of epidermal water content, the gel performed significantly better than the liquid formulation.
Facilitated access to an alcohol-based gel formulation leads to improved compliance with hand hygiene and better skin condition in HCWs.
The accessory gene regulator (agr) is a crucial regulatory component of Staphylococcus aureus involved in the control of bacterial virulence factor expression. We developed a real-time multiplex quantitative PCR assay for the rapid determination of S. aureus agr type. This assay represents a rapid and affordable alternative to sequence-based strategies for assessing relevant epidemiological information.
Until recently, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was considered the prototype of a hospital-acquired bacterial pathogen. However, recent reports have shown that MRSA has now emerged in the community. Characterization of specific markers for distinguishing the origin of isolates could contribute to improved knowledge of MRSA epidemiology. The release of whole-genome sequences of hospital- and community-acquired S. aureus strains allowed the development of whole-genome content analysis techniques, including microarrays. We developed a microarray composed of 8,191 open reading frame-specific oligonucleotides covering >99% of the four sequenced S. aureus genomes (N315, Mu50, MW2, and COL) to evaluate gene contents of hospital- and community-onset S. aureus strains. In parallel, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, variable number of tandem repeats, antibiogram, staphylococcal cassette chromosome-mec element typing, and presence of the Panton-Valentine leukocidin gene were evaluated in a collection of 15 clinical isolates. Clusters obtained with microarrays showed a high degree of similarity with those obtained by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis or variable number of tandem repeats. Clusters clearly segregated hospital-onset strains from community-onset strains. Moreover, the microarray approach allowed definition of novel marker genes and chromosomal regions specific for given groups of isolates, thus providing better discrimination and additional information compared to pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and variable number of tandem repeats. Finally, the comparative genome hybridization approach unraveled the occurrence of multiple horizontal transfer events leading to community-onset MRSA as well as the need for a specific genetic background in recipient strains for both the acquisition and the stability of the mec element.