8 Recent Stories on Infection Control

Here are eight recent stories on infection control.

1. Researchers suggest a throat swab, in addition to a nasal swab, may boost surveillance of MRSA. They analyzed the outcomes from two cross-sectional studies in Iowa. Out of 340 study participants, 103 individuals carried MRSA. Of the 103 individuals, 31 were exclusive throat carriers, 44 were exclusive nose carriers and 28 carried MRSA in both locations.

2. A two-pronged approach, comprised of auditing and feedback, may boost antibiotic stewardship. Researchers formally reviewed all critical care patients and delivered suggestions for improved antimicrobial stewardship to a critical care team at a tertiary care center. They found the approach helped monthly broad-spectrum antibiotic use fall from 644 days of therapy per 1,000 patient-days to 503 days. In addition, the incidence of C. difficile infections fell from 11 to six cases. Control units in the study did not see any decrease in therapy days or infection rates.

3. An antimicrobial stewardship program developed at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore was shown to be cost-efficient and effective over a seven-year study period. The program utilized an infectious diseases-trained clinical pharmacist and a part-time infectious diseases physician, who were charged with monitoring antimicrobial use and providing education when necessary. The program led to a 45.8 percent fall in utilization costs.

4. Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, Minn., will participate in an initiative designed to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections and surgical site infections. For the next three years, the hospital will conduct a quality improvement study and share best practices with other Minnesota hospitals. The initiative will be headed by Stratis Health, Minnesota's Medicare Quality Improvement Organization.

5. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, Infectious Diseases Society of America and Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society released a new position paper that outlines measures necessary to improve the use and ensure the impact of antibiotics on emerging healthcare-associated infections. Recommended initiatives include monitoring of antimicrobial stewardship initiatives in ambulatory and outpatient healthcare settings.

6. Wyoming state officials found Sheridan County Memorial Hospital in Sheridan failed to properly sterilize reusable laryngeal mask airways for several months last year. During its investigation in November 2011, state officials discovered hospital staff members failed to include autoclaving or steam sterilization, which is recommended by the equipment manufacturer and state. Sheridan County Memorial officials implemented an action plan, which includes autoclaving, sterilization according to the manufacturer's recommendations and a logging system to track how many times each mask airway is used.

7. Fecal transplantation through colonoscopy may be an effective treatment for recurrent C. difficile infections. Researchers reviewed cases of 70 patients with recurrent C. difficile who underwent fecal transplantation. Within 12 weeks after transplantation, symptoms subsided in all but four patients with 027 C. difficile infection. The researchers also did not observe any immediate complications following the transplantations.

8. Oral care supplemented antiseptics, such as chlorhexidine or povidone-iodine, may reduce the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia more than oral care without antiseptics. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 14 studies, including 12 that investigated the impact of chlorhexidine and two that investigated the impact of povidone-iodine. The researchers concluded use of chlorhexidine or povidone-iodine during oral care reduced the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia; however, chlorhexidine was found to maintain impact after subgroup analyses.

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