HCAI and AMR point prevalence from Ukraine

JHI have just published an interesting point prevalence HCAI and AMR study from Ukraine. Headlines are that rates of both HCAI and AMR are higher than you’d hope to see, especially with rates of resistant to carbapenems in Gram-negative bacteria and meticillin in S. aureus.

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Comparing SARS-CoV-2 air and surface contamination in the first vs. second waves

Way back during the first wave of COVID-19 (April 2020), we got our swabs out and sampled surfaces and air across a range of settings in the hospital. This cross-sectional study identified SARS-CoV-2 RNA on a rather startling 52% of surfaces and 45% of air samples collected from across the hospital and some public areas. During the second wave (January 2021), we undertook a similar exercise, and identified a vastly different level of contamination with SARS-CoV-2 RNA: 5% of surfaces and 4% of air samples. What had changed between April 2020 and January 2021 to explain this difference? A whole host of things, and we don’t know for sure – but I suspect that improved testing availability and the introduction of masks for staff and patients were the most important factors.

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Omicron and the diminishing spectre of long COVID

As we move on the journey to ‘Living with COVID’ and in doing so tolerate a greater risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in society and in our hospitals, one of the issues is the threat of “long COVID”. A recent study suggests that long COVID is less common with Omicron than with previous variants, and that vaccination is effective in preventing long COVID.

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Antibiotic allergy labelling: addressing an important public health issue

As we hear about rises in iGAS, the issue of antibiotic allergy – and specifically penicillin allergy – labelling comes to the fore. A good review here outlines some of the issues in this complex space, and makes some helpful suggestions about how this could be improved.

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Finally, an RCT comparing N95s and medical masks to protect healthcare staff from COVID-19

Annals of Internal Medicine today published an RCT comparing the effectiveness of N95s vs. medical masks to protect healthcare staff from COVID-19. It’s a great piece of work, conducted over many years, and whilst the study has some important limitations, suggests that N95s don’t offer significantly increased protection than medical masks for healthcare staff caring for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

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Three key headlines from ESPAUR 2022

Great to see another fantastic annual ESPAUR report. It really is marvellous to have such a clear picture of HCAI and AMR related trends. As ever, there is some good news and some not so good news. Here three key headlines:

  1. Trends in bloodstream infection, antimicrobial resistance, and antimicrobial prescribing have changed during the pandemic.
  2. Tackling deprivation is tackling HCAI and AMR.
  3. We need to keep an eye on CPE
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WAAW 2022: A focus on prevention (IPC and vaccination)

Was delighted to introduce our series of events planned to coincide with World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2022 earlier today. I gave a short talk on why preventing infection via IPC measures and vaccination needs to be a cornerstone of our strategy to turn the time on antimicrobial resistance (slides here).

I also shot a short video to get us thinking about how the language we use will influence the degree to which we connect with the various stakeholders that need to collaborate to address antimicrobial resistance:

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Are we talking the same language? The importance of choosing our words carefully when communicating HCAI and AMR

I was really pleased to have the opportunity to speak at IPS this year on how important it is to choose our words carefully and talk the same language to connect with our audience when communicating HCAI and AMR. My main reflection from preparing the talk is that people listen to you when the message is clear and personal, and they lose interest if the message is complicated or not relevant to them. Simple and small changes to the language that we use in the message that we deliver can make a big impact on the way that people respond. You can view my slides here.

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Omicron COVID-19 harm and winter IPC strategy

We have just published an evaluation of Omicron COVID-19 harm as a research letter in the Journal of Infection. This multicentre study reported the findings of a retrospective review of 129 patients with healthcare-associated Omicron COVID-19, and found that the harm profile was very different to previous waves: a small proportion of patients required supplemental oxygen, escalation to critical care, had an extended length of stay, or died from COVID-19. This informs our winter IPC strategy: whilst COVID-19 is more than “just a cold”, the balance between direct and indirect harms from COVID-19 has shifted towards preventing indirect harms (like reduced hospital throughput and delayed diagnosis) and more of a focus on other issues (e.g. flu, Gram-negative BSIs etc).

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Some highlights and takeaways from Infection Prevention 2022

I spent a lovely few days down in Bournemouth for Infection Prevention 2022, and thought I’d share a few of my highlights and takeaways. (And yes, I did manage to have a swim in the sea!)

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