That sinking feeling

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I’m at ECCMID in Amsterdam currently listening to a nice report of an OXA-48 Klebsiella pneumoniae outbreak in Gran Canaria in which sinks were found to be contaminated and replaced. Earlier today I listened to a nice paper on how sinks that drain slowly are more likely to contaminate the local environment for up to 1 metre from Paz Aranega Bou who, together with Ginny Moore and other colleagues has published this nice paper . So many papers on sinks now and I do wonder if we have lost sight of what they do and what they really are.

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“Why Dutch hospitals are so good at beating superbugs”

It is with great pleasure that I ask your attention for this article that appeared in the Economist. Yes, we still have low resistance rates in our hospitals and if you’re interested in how that happened, read it. The prosaic composition contains two parts; a very realistic thriller-like opening, followed by a second part with a rather unrealistic explanation. Both parts are separated by a short sentence of absolute nonsense. Time for a review. Continue reading

The Trojan Horse

Trojan_horse_ÇanakkaleI’ve been mulling over the issue of sinks in clinical areas a lot recently and a paper published today in the Journal of Hospital Infection has really crystallised my thoughts. Sinks are everywhere; often extra ones are installed in the quest for high hand hygiene compliance however are we really thinking about the risks that these may cause apart from the traditional ones posed by Pseudomonas and Legionella? Do we even really reflect upon what they are used for? Continue reading

The prevention paradox: E. coli versus Klebsiella

The prevention paradox, as described in 1981, is the “seemingly contradictory situation where the majority of cases of a disease come from a population at low or moderate risk of that disease, and only a minority of cases come from the high risk population (of the same disease). This is because the number of people at high risk is small”, see. In our world this reflects the question how to prevent transmission of ESBL-producing E. coli (ESBL-EC) or K. pneumoniae (ESBL-KP), or both. A new study may help to decide. Continue reading

Making MRSA carriage a crime?

A new chapter has been added to our successful MRSA Search and Destroy policy. Yesterday, a healthcare professional, providing homecare to elderly, testified on Dutch television (item starts @ 12.30 minutes) how unnoticed MRSA carriage had influenced her and her family’s life. It is very laudable that she was willing to share her experience, but it was kind of spooky that she felt that she could only do this if unrecognizable, as if the underworld was still after her and her family. Apparently, MRSA carriage has become a criminal or shameful thing. Continue reading

Water, water everywhere (or nowhere?)

Karakum-Desert-Turkmenistan.-Author-David-Staney.-Licensed-under-the-Creative-Commons-AttributionA new paper by Hopman and colleagues (Andreas is also another author but is being modest) has evaluated the effect of removing sinks from the ICU. The trigger for this intervention was an outbreak caused by an ESBL-Enterobacter that could be related to contaminated sinks. The study looked at what happens if you remove all water sources from the ICU, and all water-related activities were migrated to a tap water-free solution. Continue reading

How much S. aureus is hospital acquired? Mk II

I posted a blog a couple of years ago (was it really that long!) on a fascinating study suggesting that only 1/5 of S. aureus in hospital patients is hospital-acquired. My key conclusion from that study was that the number of potential sources for S. aureus that the team investigated was inadequate to draw any firm conclusions (they didn’t include staff, surfaces, or visitors). I concluded that ‘the next frontier of transmission mapping must be a more comprehensive evaluation of other potential sources…’. The authors must have been reading, because this study from the same group was published recently in Lancet ID, which is a more comprehensive evaluation of other potential sources.

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