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1.  Evaluation of a hand-held far-ultraviolet radiation device for decontamination of Clostridium difficile and other healthcare-associated pathogens 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:120.
Background
Environmental surfaces play an important role in transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens. There is a need for new disinfection methods that are effective against Clostridium difficile spores, but also safe and rapid. The Sterilray™ Disinfection Wand device is a hand-held room decontamination technology that utilizes far-ultraviolet radiation (185-230 nm) to kill pathogens.
Methods
We examined the efficacy of disinfection using the Sterilray device in the laboratory, in rooms of hospitalized patients, and on surfaces outside of patient rooms (i.e. keyboards and portable medical equipment). Cultures for C. difficile, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) were collected from commonly-touched surfaces before and after use of the Sterilray device.
Results
On inoculated surfaces in the laboratory, application of the Sterilray device at a radiant dose of 100 mJ/cm2 for ~ 5 seconds consistently reduced recovery of C. difficile spores by 4.4 CFU log10, MRSA by 5.4 log10CFU and of VRE by 6.9 log10CFU. A >3 log10 reduction of MRSA and VRE was achieved in ~2 seconds at a lower radiant dose, but killing of C. difficile spores was significantly reduced. On keyboards and portable medical equipment that were inoculated with C. difficile spores, application of the Sterilray device at a radiant dose of 100 mJ/cm2 for ~ 5 seconds reduced contamination by 3.2 log10CFU. However, the presence of organic material reduced the lethal effect of the far-UV radiation. In hospital rooms that were not pre-cleaned, disinfection with the Sterilray device significantly reduced the frequency of positive C. difficile and MRSA cultures (P =0.007).
Conclusions
The Sterilray™ Disinfection Wand is a novel environmental disinfection technology that rapidly kills C. difficile spores and other healthcare-associated pathogens on surfaces. However, the presence of organic matter reduces the efficacy of far-UV radiation, possibly explaining the more modest results observed on surfaces in hospital rooms that were not pre-cleaned.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-120
PMCID: PMC3419611  PMID: 22591268
2.  Unnecessary use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in hospitalized patients 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:187.
Background
Fluoroquinolones are among the most commonly prescribed antimicrobials and are an important risk factor for colonization and infection with fluoroquinolone-resistant gram-negative bacilli and for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). In this study, our aim was to determine current patterns of inappropriate fluoroquinolone prescribing among hospitalized patients, and to test the hypothesis that longer than necessary treatment durations account for a significant proportion of unnecessary fluoroquinolone use.
Methods
We conducted a 6-week prospective, observational study to determine the frequency of, reasons for, and adverse effects associated with unnecessary fluoroquinolone use in a tertiary-care academic medical center. For randomly-selected adult inpatients receiving fluoroquinolones, therapy was determined to be necessary or unnecessary based on published guidelines or standard principles of infectious diseases. Adverse effects were determined based on chart review 6 weeks after completion of therapy.
Results
Of 1,773 days of fluoroquinolone therapy, 690 (39%) were deemed unnecessary. The most common reasons for unnecessary therapy included administration of antimicrobials for non-infectious or non-bacterial syndromes (292 days-of-therapy) and administration of antimicrobials for longer than necessary durations (234 days-of-therapy). The most common syndrome associated with unnecessary therapy was urinary tract infection or asymptomatic bacteriuria (30% of all unnecessary days-of-therapy). Twenty-seven percent (60/227) of regimens were associated with adverse effects possibly attributable to therapy, including gastrointestinal adverse effects (14% of regimens), colonization by resistant pathogens (8% of regimens), and CDI (4% of regimens).
Conclusions
In our institution, 39% of all days of fluoroquinolone therapy were unnecessary. Interventions that focus on improving adherence with current guidelines for duration of antimicrobial therapy and for management of urinary syndromes could significantly reduce overuse of fluoroquinolones.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-187
PMCID: PMC3145580  PMID: 21729289
3.  Evaluation of an automated ultraviolet radiation device for decontamination of Clostridium difficile and other healthcare-associated pathogens in hospital rooms 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:197.
Background
Environmental surfaces play an important role in transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens. There is a need for new disinfection methods that are effective against Clostridium difficile spores, but also safe, rapid, and automated.
Methods
The Tru-D™ Rapid Room Disinfection device is a mobile, fully-automated room decontamination technology that utilizes ultraviolet-C irradiation to kill pathogens. We examined the efficacy of environmental disinfection using the Tru-D device in the laboratory and in rooms of hospitalized patients. Cultures for C. difficile, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) were collected from commonly touched surfaces before and after use of Tru-D.
Results
On inoculated surfaces, application of Tru-D at a reflected dose of 22,000 μWs/cm2 for ~45 minutes consistently reduced recovery of C. difficile spores and MRSA by >2-3 log10 colony forming units (CFU)/cm2 and of VRE by >3-4 log10 CFU/cm2. Similar killing of MRSA and VRE was achieved in ~20 minutes at a reflected dose of 12,000 μWs/cm2, but killing of C. difficile spores was reduced. Disinfection of hospital rooms with Tru-D reduced the frequency of positive MRSA and VRE cultures by 93% and of C. difficile cultures by 80%. After routine hospital cleaning of the rooms of MRSA carriers, 18% of sites under the edges of bedside tables (i.e., a frequently touched site not easily amenable to manual application of disinfectant) were contaminated with MRSA, versus 0% after Tru-D (P < 0.001). The system required <5 minutes to set up and did not require continuous monitoring.
Conclusions
The Tru-D Rapid Room Disinfection device is a novel, automated, and efficient environmental disinfection technology that significantly reduces C. difficile, VRE and MRSA contamination on commonly touched hospital surfaces.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-197
PMCID: PMC2910020  PMID: 20615229
4.  Staphylococcus aureus intestinal colonization is associated with increased frequency of S. aureus on skin of hospitalized patients 
Background
Intestinal colonization by Staphylococcus aureus among hospitalized patients has been associated with increased risk of staphylococcal infection and could potentially contribute to transmission. We hypothesized that S. aureus intestinal colonization is associated with increased frequency of S. aureus on patients' skin and nearby environmental surfaces.
Methods
Selected inpatients were cultured weekly for S. aureus from stool, nares, skin (groin and axilla), and environmental surfaces (bed rail and bedside table). Investigator's hands were cultured after contacting the patients' skin and the environmental surfaces.
Results
Of 71 subjects, 32 (45.1%) had negative nares and stool cultures, 23 (32.4%) had positive nares and stool cultures, 13 (18.3%) were nares carriers only, and 3 (4.2%) were stool carriers only. Of the 39 patients with S. aureus carriage, 30 (76.9%) had methicillin-resistant isolates. In comparison to nares colonization only, nares and intestinal colonization was associated with increased frequency of positive skin cultures (41% versus 77%; p = 0.001) and trends toward increased environmental contamination (45% versus 62%; p = 0.188) and acquisition on investigator's hands (36% versus 60%; p = 0.057). Patients with negative nares and stool cultures had low frequency of S. aureus on skin and the environment (4.8% and 11.3%, respectively).
Conclusion
We found that hospitalized patients with S. aureus nares and/or stool carriage frequently had S. aureus on their skin and on nearby environmental surfaces. S. aureus intestinal colonization was associated with increased frequency of positive skin cultures, which could potentially facilitate staphylococcal infections and nosocomial transmission.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-105
PMCID: PMC2018705  PMID: 17848192
5.  Reduction of Clostridium Difficile and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus contamination of environmental surfaces after an intervention to improve cleaning methods 
Background
Contaminated environmental surfaces may play an important role in transmission of some healthcare-associated pathogens. In this study, we assessed the adequacy of cleaning practices in rooms of patients with Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) colonization or infection and examined whether an intervention would result in improved decontamination of surfaces.
Methods
During a 6-week period, we cultured commonly touched surfaces (i.e. bedrails, telephones, call buttons, door knobs, toilet seats, and bedside tables) in rooms of patients with CDAD and VRE colonization or infection before and after housekeeping cleaning, and again after disinfection with 10% bleach performed by the research staff. After the housekeeping staff received education and feedback, additional cultures were collected before and after housekeeping cleaning during a 10-week follow-up period.
Results
Of the 17 rooms of patients with VRE colonization or infection, 16 (94%) had one or more positive environmental cultures before cleaning versus 12 (71%) after housekeeping cleaning (p = 0.125), whereas none had positive cultures after bleach disinfection by the research staff (p < 0.001). Of the 9 rooms of patients with CDAD, 100% had positive cultures prior to cleaning versus 7 (78%) after housekeeping cleaning (p = 0.50), whereas only 1 (11%) had positive cultures after bleach disinfection by research staff (p = 0.031). After an educational intervention, rates of environmental contamination after housekeeping cleaning were significantly reduced.
Conclusion
Our findings provide additional evidence that simple educational interventions directed at housekeeping staff can result in improved decontamination of environmental surfaces. Such interventions should include efforts to monitor cleaning and disinfection practices and provide feedback to the housekeeping staff.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-61
PMCID: PMC1906786  PMID: 17584935

Results 1-5 (5)