Chinese carbapenamases: Fly like an eagle

I blogged on mcr-1 (colistin resistance) in China last week, to share the latest reassuring data. Well, the paper on which todays’ blog is printed will be used to wrap tomorrows’ market fish (typical Dutch expression). Nicolle Stoesser (Oxford) send me the latest news, coming from a Nature Microbiology study providing evidence for the potential of spread of carbapenamases by flies and birds. Not reassuring at all, and potentially with major consequences. Continue reading

The room lottery: why your hospital room can make you sick


In this era of increasing patient choice, let’s imagine you were offered the choice between two identical looking hospital rooms. Your chances of picking up a multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) are approximately doubled if you choose the wrong room. But you have no way of knowing which room is safest.

So what explains this lottery? The key information you have not been told is the MDRO status of the previous room occupants. One of the rooms was previously occupied by a patient with C. difficile, and if you choose this room, your risk of developing C. difficile infection doubles. And it’s not just C. difficile – this same association has been demonstrated for MRSA, VRE, Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Underpinning this association is the uncomfortable fact that cleaning and disinfection applied at the time of patient discharge is simply not good enough to protect the incoming patient.

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Fidaxomicin reduces C. difficile environmental contamination

It is well-established that fidaxomicin reduces the recurrence rate of C. difficile infection (CDI), but this study from my old research group at GSTT / KCL is the first to evaluate the impact of treatment with fidaxomicin on environmental contamination. The bottom line is that patients treated with fidaxomicin had less C. difficile contamination than patients treated with vancomycin / metronidazole.

In total, the rooms of 38 / 66 (57.6%) patients treated with metronidazole / vancomycin had one or more positive environmental cultures compared with 25 / 68 (36.8%) patients treated with fidaxomicin (P = 0.02). Similarly, when considering all of the sampled environmental sites (four per room), 68 / 264 (25.8%) were positive in patients treated with metronidazole / vancomycin compared with 47 / 272 (17.3%) in patients treated with fidaxomicin (P = 0.02) (see Figure below).

Fidax CDI

Figure: Environmental contamination with C. difficile in the rooms of patients treated with fidaxomicin vs. vancomycin / metronidazole.

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What’s lurking in the hospital environment? The importance of cleaning and disinfection in infection prevention and control


I was asked to speak to a group of link nurses at Southampton Hospital earlier in the week, and thought I’d share my slides, here.

I am passionate about the importance of surface contamination in transmission: I still think it’s really under-rated. I am pretty sure that most healthcare workers would have no idea that your chances of acquiring C. difficile infection (and others) is influenced by who used the room or bed space before you. And who would believe that VRE could survive on a dry surface for 4 years? Or that touching a surface is as important as touching the patient in terms of acquiring contamination on your hands?

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Hot stuff?

9028655160_a307baac17_zSo I’m really quite interested in seasonality of infections. I first became interested in it when looking at increases in E. coli bacteraemia for ARHAI (report here) because of Jennie Wilson’s excellent paper showing seasonality of gram negative bacteraemia, echoed by similar observations and conjecture on warmer weather, more infection. This is true in hospitals as well as the community. Why would this be? We have tussled with increasing E. coli bacteraemia in the UK for a few years now. Goes up every summer, does not return to the baseline, goes up again next summer etc., etc.. Other countries have also reported this. I have heard some suggest this is due to longer hours of daylight leading to more barbeques and more sexual activity. Given that the majority of infections in the UK are >70 years of age, my senior years have no fears for me then.

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Mycobacterium chimaera & Open-Chest Heart Surgery

20_det_heater_C_v1_Outbreak of Mycobacterium chimaera Infection After Open-Chest Heart Surgery

Reported by Andreas Widmer in Basel and now published by Hugo Sax and colleagues (CID April 15th, 2015), the amazing story of open-cheat heart surgery, Mycobacterium chimaera infections (years after the operation!), and contaminated heater-coolers in your operating room.

While the Swiss were first, we know by now that this problem is unfortunately not limited to the Alp region, but furthermore present e.g. in the Netherlands.   If your hospital has a program for open-chest heart surgery, now is the time to check your heater-coolers, to avoid further airborne transmission of M. chimaera from contaminated heater-cooler units.

Schermafbeelding 2015-05-06 om 11.50.47