CRE endemic across DC healthcare facilities, study suggests

More than 5 percent of inpatients in Washington, D.C., healthcare facilities carry the bacteria carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, suggest findings from a study published in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Researchers obtained 1,022 swab samples from patients in 16 healthcare facilities in the District of Columbia. Samples were obtained between January and April 2016. Facilities included eight acute care hospitals, two long-term acute care hospitals, one inpatient rehabilitation facility and five skilled nursing facilities.

Fifty-three of the samples tested positive for CRE. The number corresponds to a prevalence rate of 5.2 percent, which is indicative of endemicity. However, researchers identified some significant disparities among facilities regarding CRE prevalence. For example, one facility carried a CRE prevalence rate of 29.4 percent, while no CRE was detected in the inpatient rehabilitation facility.

The study was a part of a collaborative effort made by three local organizations: the D.C. Department of Health, D.C. Hospital Association and D.C. Department of Forensic Science-Public Health Lab.

"CRE is a significant clinical and public health concern, with a potential for widespread and rapid transmission within and between facilities," said Roberta DeBiasi, MD, a principal investigator of the study and division chief of infectious diseases at Children's National Medical Center in the District of Columbia. "Our study demonstrates the strength of a collaborative approach within a city or region to determine the prevalence of multi-drug resistant organisms in healthcare facilities."

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