Dentist Infection Control

Infection Control Consulting Services Blog


CDC: Infection Prevention Effectiveness of Flu Vaccine Below 50%

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that the effectiveness of this year's flu vaccine against all influenza virus infection is 47%.

The shot's effectiveness varies based on age. CDC stated that for children aged 6 months to 17 years of age, the overall vaccine infection prevention effectiveness was 61% while for adults 50 and older, the overall effectiveness was 24%.

As we recently noted, influenza activity is elevated. While this year's flu vaccine appears to be less effective than one would hope, of note is the protective action it provides against the risks such as pneumonia, so the latest data on effectiveness should not be a deterrent for receiving the vaccine.

As the CDC states, "Vaccination remains the best method for preventing influenza and its potentially serious complications, including those that can result in hospitalization and death. In particular, vaccination has been found to reduce the risk for influenza-associated deaths in children. During past seasons, including the 2017–18 season, approximately 80% of reported pediatric influenza-associated deaths have occurred in children who were not vaccinated. Vaccination also has been found to reduce the risk for influenza-associated hospitalization in pregnant women and can reduce the risk for cardiac events among persons with heart disease."

During the 2017–18 influenza season, CDC reports that vaccination was estimated to prevent more 7 million illnesses, 3.7 million medical visits, 109,000 hospitalizations and 8,000 deaths.


Study: Extended Oral Antibiotics Reduces Infection Rate in Select Total Joint Patients

The results of a study published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery indicate that extended postoperative antibiotic prophylaxis contributes to a significant reduction in the 90-day infection rate of select total joint arthroplasty (TJA) patients at high risk for infection.

The study examined nearly 2,200 primary total hip arthroplasties (THAs) and total knee arthroplasties (TKAs) performed from 2011 through 2016 at a suburban academic hospital. Beginning January 2015, patients identified as being at an elevated risk of periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) received extended oral antibiotic prophylaxis for seven days following their discharge.

Results showed that high-risk patients without extended antibiotic prophylaxis were 4.9 and 4.0 times more likely to develop PJI after TKA and THA, respectively, than high-risk patients who received extended antibiotic prophylaxis.

As the researchers conclude, "We encourage further study and deliberation prior to adoption of a protocol involving extended oral antibiotic prophylaxis after high-risk TJA, with the benefits weighed appropriately against potential adverse consequences, such as increasing the development of antimicrobial resistance."


Researchers Warn About Hand Hygiene Risks Associated With Exam Gloves

A new study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology reveal that healthcare personnel regularly fail to perform proper hand hygiene before donning gloves, according to a Healio report.

Hand hygiene should always be performed before and after putting on gloves. Gloves should only be worn during certain situations and should never be donned as an alternative to hand hygiene.

Researchers conducted a prospective quantitative and qualitative study in medical-surgical wards and intensive-care units over a four-month period in 2016. According to the findings, hand hygiene compliance was about 75% for wash-in and wash-out opportunities.

Healio notes that the study revealed 45% of those wash-in episodes lacking hand hygiene protocol compliance were performed by registered nurses and 44% of all wash-in episodes lacking compliance were performed by staff wearing gloves.


Infection Prevention Guidance: Are You Cleaning These High-Risk Surfaces?

An MDLinx article highlights five hospital surfaces you may be surprised to learn harbor fomites capable of transmitting harmful bacteria to patients and staff.

They are as follows:

  • Curtains
  • Stethoscopes
  • Tabletops
  • Bed linens
  • Neckties
The article references studies and evidence explaining why healthcare professionals should ensure each surface receives appropriate attention and cleaning so as to help prevent the spreading of infections.

Access the MDLinx article here.


Survey Shows Heightened Public Concern for Antibiotic Resistance

The results of a new survey indicate that most Americans are concerned about the potential for antibiotic resistance to make infections more difficult to treat.

Commissioned by Research!America in collaboration with the Infectious Disease Society of America, the survey was conducted in October 2018 and included responses from more than 1,000 U.S. adults. More than four out of five respondents expressed their concern about antibiotic resistance.

Other key findings from the survey include the following:

  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents said antibiotic resistance is a public health problem.
  • Nearly three-quarters believe the federal government should incentivize private sector investment in new antibiotic development.
  • More than 80% believe pharmaceutical companies should develop more antibiotics.  
  • More than 90% believe doctors and other healthcare professionals should only prescribe antibiotics when required.
  • About three out of every five respondents indicated they were aware that bacteria resistant to antibiotics can be spread from person to person. 
  • More than three-quarters indicated they were aware that antibiotic-resistant infections make medical procedures much more dangerous.
In addition, more than one-third incorrectly believe antibiotics are effective for treating viral infections, about one-third said they would be dissatisfied if their doctor did not prescribe an antibiotic for their child's viral infection and only about 60% of respondents understand that even a single course of inappropriate antibiotics can contribute to antibiotic resistance. These figures indicate more education is required about appropriate antibiotic usage.

Access the survey results by clicking here.


Antimicrobial Stewardship in the Spotlight During Antibiotic Awareness Week

This week, November 12-18, 2018, is U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW).

USAAW is an annual observance intended to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of antimicrobial stewardship.

Statistics show that up to 50% of all antibiotics prescribed for people are unnecessary or not optimally effective as prescribed. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, improving the way we prescribe and take antibiotics helps keep us healthy now, helps fight antibiotic resistance and ensures that these life-saving drugs will be available for future generations.

For a list of USAAW activities planned by CDC for 2018 and numerous resources to help raise awareness of the importance of antimicrobial stewardship, click here.

This week is also World Antibiotic Awareness Week, which the World Health Organization (WHO) states is intended to "increase global awareness of antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policymakers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance."


European Study: Antibiotic-Resistant Bacterial Infections Kill 33,000 Annually

A new study conducted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that 33,000 people in Europe die annually from antibiotic-resistant infections.

Furthermore, researchers determined that 75% of the burden of disease is attributable to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and that 39% of the burden is caused by infections with bacteria resistant to last-line antibiotics — which researchers indicated was a troublesome increase from previous study findings.

Researchers note that the burden of antibiotic-resistant infections is comparable to that of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined.

The researchers called for several actions, including "strategies to prevent and control antibiotic-resistant bacteria," noting this will require coordination in Europe and globally, and "the need to urgently address antimicrobial resistance as a patient safety issue and the need for alternative treatment options for patients with such infections who have comorbidities or are otherwise vulnerable."

The study, which was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, used data from the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network from 2015. It focused on five types of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.