Dentist Infection Control

Infection Control Consulting Services Blog


International Infection Prevention Week Focuses on Patient Safety

International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) 2018 is underway! The theme for this year's IIPW (October 14-20) is "protecting patients everywhere."

IIPW was established in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. It is recognized outside of the United States in areas including Australia, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Asia.

For more information on IIPW and to access IIPW promotional tools and resources, visit the APIC website.


Study: Total Hip and Knee Surgical Site Infections Projected to Rise

A new study projects that complex surgical site infections (SSIs) following hip and knee arthroplasty are expected to increase 14% between 2020 and 2030.

Published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the study examined data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, National Healthcare Safety Network and census. Researchers noted that as the U.S. population ages, the number of primary and revision total hips and knees will likely increase, as will SSIs. Researchers project a total burden of nearly 77,700 SSIs without a reduction in their rates.

However, cutting the rate by 30% — a 2020 target percentage set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services using 2015 baseline data — would prevent about 23,300 SSIs and reduce morbidity, mortality and Medicare costs in the process, researchers stated.


Study: Jet Air Dryers Raise Infection Risk

A new study shows that the type of hand drying method available in washrooms affects the amount of bacterial contamination in the room.

More specifically, the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (e.g., MRSA, MSSA, ESBL-resistant enterococci) were detected more frequently in those washrooms with jet air dryers than in washrooms with paper hand towels.

The 2017 study was led by Professor Mark Wilcox of the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals and conducted independently by research scientists at hospitals in France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

"The findings will have important implications for hand drying guidance in healthcare settings and they should be of particular interest to infection prevention and control doctors and nurses, procurement managers and all responsible for minimizing the spread of cross-infection," said Wilcox.   

The study, "Environmental contamination by bacteria in hospital washrooms according to hand-drying method: a multi-centre study," was published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.


Study: Surgical Site Infections Significantly Increase Costs of Hip, Knee Replacements

A study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology examines how much the cost of hip and knee replacements increase when patients develop surgical site infections (SSIs).

The conclusion: a lot.

Researchers noted that there are nearly 800,000 primary hip and knee arthroplasty procedures performed annually in North America, with approximately 1 percent complicated by a complex SSI. They focused their study on all patients in Alberta, Canada, who underwent the procedures over a three-year period from 2012–2015 and identified those patients who developed a postoperative complex SSI. They then determined the total costs over one year and two years, analyzing the data comparing hip and knee replacement patients with and without SSIs.

What they found was that total costs more than quadrupled over a 12-month period for patients who developed a complex SSI, increasing from about $14,000 to about $68,000 in U.S. dollars.

The researchers also found that the most commonly identified causative pathogen was Staphylococcus aureus.

While preventing patient harm should be reason enough to increase efforts to reduce SSIs, the financial implications lend further support for their need and importance.


Study Reinforces Importance of Disinfecting High-Touch Surfaces

The results of a new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control further support the need for outpatient clinics — and all other healthcare organizations — to ensure effective disinfection processes for high-touch surfaces.

The study specifically focused on microbial transmission in these outpatient settings, examining how microbes moved through the facility and the effect of disinfectant spray on high-touch surfaces.

Results showed that exam room door handles and nurses' station chairs were the surfaces with the highest level of contamination and that virus concentrations were decreased significantly when disinfectant spray was used.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shared a checklist of high-touch hospital surfaces, noting that the objects were "chosen on the basis of information regarding the contamination of these surfaces with healthcare-associated pathogens as well as a consideration of the likelihood they would be touched during routine care by healthcare personnel without changing gloves or performing hand hygiene prior to using these items."

These objects were as follows:

Patient room
  • Bed rails/controls
  • Tray table
  • IV pole (grab area)
  • Call box/button
  • Telephone
  • Bedside table handle
  • Chair
  • Room sink
  • Room light switch
  • Room inner door knob
  • Bathroom inner door knob / plate
  • Bathroom light switch
  • Bathroom handrails by toilet
  • Bathroom sink
  • Toilet seat
  • Toilet flush handle
  • Toilet bedpan cleaner
Where applicable
  • IV pump control
  • Multi-module monitor controls
  • Multi-module monitor touch screen
  • Multi-module monitor cables
  • Ventilator control panel
Research published several years after this checklist noted that the list omitted surfaces in the operating room (OR) and determined that the following were primary high-touch areas in the OR:
  • Anesthesia computer mouse 
  • OR bed 
  • Nurse computer mouse 
  • OR door 
  • Anesthesia medical cart
Does your organization need assistance with identifying risk factors that can create a threat for healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)? Contact Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS) and schedule an infection risk assessment today! A written risk assessment specific to a facility is required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and most accreditation agencies.


Parents Sue Hospital Following Infant Death Linked to Infection Prevention Practices

Parents of an infant that died while under the care of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) are suing the hospital, accusing its staff of failing to follow proper infection prevention protocols, according a National Law Review article.

The article references a 2017 American Journal of Infection Control report describing 23 infants at CHOP who, after receiving eye examinations, contracted eye infections, specifically an adenovirus infection. All patients suffered respiratory symptoms, with five developing pneumonia and 11 experiencing ocular symptoms. Six hospital employees and three parents of the infants also contracted viral infections.

The outbreak occurred in 2016. CHOP attributed the cause to a "lack of standard cleaning practices of bedside ophthalmologic equipment and limited glove use."

The lawsuit alleges the premature baby died because of her contracted infection at CHOP. The hospital has denied that the infection was what specially caused her death.

According to a report from The Inquirer, CHOP issued the following statement concerning the outbreak and the hospital's response:

"Upon identification of the outbreak, the hospital led a swift and proactive response, informing all at risk and quickly determining the unusual source of the outbreak. Strict infection control procedures, coupled with numerous safety enhancements, were immediately put into place, and no additional cases have since been identified. While we are unable to share details of active litigation, the health and safety of our patients and their families remains our foremost priority. The safety measures instituted as the result of this outbreak are currently being widely shared with physicians around the country as a best practice to prevent future outbreaks of adenovirus, ensuring that all children receive the best and safest care possible."

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, adenoviruses are common viruses that cause a range of illness, including cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea and conjunctivitis. People can contract an adenovirus infection at any age. People with weakened immune systems or existing respiratory or cardiac disease are more likely than others to become very ill from an adenovirus infection.


Study: Antibiotics are the Leading Cause of Adverse Drug Event ED Visits in Children

A new study authored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that in children, antibiotics are the leading cause for emergency department (ED) visits related to adverse drug events (ADEs).

The study was published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. It used ADE data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–Cooperative Adverse Drug Event Surveillance project and retail pharmacy dispensing data from QuintilesIMS.

Based on more than 6,500 surveillance cases, CDC estimated that nearly 70,000 children 19 years or younger visited the ED for antibiotic-related adverse drug events each year from 2011–2015. Many of these ED visits — 41% — were made by children 2 years or younger. Most visits — 86% — involved allergic reactions, such as rash, itching and severe swelling beneath the skin.

As the study authors conclude, "Minimizing antibiotic overprescribing (i.e., antimicrobial stewardship) is important for reducing acute and clinically significant harms to individual patients and for reducing the societal risk of antibiotic resistance. Quantifying the risks of antibiotic ADEs can provide additional information to help clinicians and parents/caregivers weigh the risks and benefits of antibiotic treatment. Prevention efforts could target pediatric patients with the highest frequencies and rates of ED visits for antibiotic ADEs."