C. auris questionnaire – the outcome

Overall 61 colleagues from 17 countries answered the questionnaire.  A large proportion (26 of 61) of the answers came from the UK, which might have to do with the fact that the first European outbreak was described in England.

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-25 om 01.40.50

Of the respondents 32.8% said that their institution released a warning about C. auris.  Analyzing the data separately for the UK and the other participating countries, it became clear that the first European outbreak had impact on the preparedness. In the UK 42.3% of the institutions were warned about the unique capacities of C. auris, versus 25.7 in all other countries.  Regarding the existence of a written guideline dealing with C. auris, the differences were far less pronounced, namely 26.9% versus 20.0%, respectively.

53.9% of the UK responders believe that their lab can correctly diagnose C. auris, versus 31.4% in the other countries.  In addition, the proportion of responders, who didn’t know if their lab was prepared, was higher outside the UK (45.7% versus 26.9%, respectively).

Despite the emerging spread of  C. auris clusters this questionnaire is an indication that most institutions are not adequately prepared.  Obviously the sample is really small, but the outcome was predictable.  With an increasing body of literature, including papers on diagnostic methods and infection control measures, we should hope that the situation should change very soon.  Thus, don’t lean back, start writing.



Candida auris part III. Are you prepared?

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-20 om 13.28.23

MMWR just published on the ongoing transmission of Candida auris in the US, while at the same time PLOS Pathogens came with an excellent review on the topic.

By now I had the debatable pleasure to be around for the birth of a few “superbugs”, but this one is clearly putting a lot of effort into reaching the top of the list. I believe (classical pessimist) that many institutions still ignore this new adversary (or are even unaware), and most certainly have no game-plan to prevent its introduction and consequent spread.  In the MMWR publication the current recommendations for C. auris–colonized or infected patients were repeated, with only one change from previous recommendations, namely that a more effective (sporicidal) disinfectant is needed, but I seriously wonder who follows this guidance.

Thus, here it comes, another 30-seconds-questionaire.  Why?  Because I hope that you will prove me wrong and that we – the infection control people at the frontline – act on threat, instead of re-act once we are overrun.

Link to questions  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QCK9RWS


Notes from the Field: Ongoing Transmission of Candida auris in Health Care Facilities — United States, June 2016–May 2017. Weekly / May 19, 2017 / 66(19);514–515 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6619a7.htm?s_cid=mm6619a7_e

Chowdhary A, Sharma C, Meis J. Candida auris: A rapidly emerging cause of hospital-acquired multidrug-resistant fungal infections globally. PLOS Pathogens  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006290 May 18, 2017

The 12 Days of Infection Prevention and Control

outbreak phylogenetic tree

You have to sing this. Out loud. Loud.


On the twelth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:

Twelve bowels running

Eleven lines infecting

Ten kids a whooping

Nine hand hygiene dancers

Eight babes a milking

Seven stools a swimming

Six geese a sneezing

No g-o-l-d rings*

Four oozing wounds

Three copper pens

Two sterile golves

And – an – outbreak – in – a – phylogenetic – tree.


* Plain metal bands allowed.


This blog is inspired by a tweet from @IPS_Infection:

Image: HMS Beagle Blog (awaiting permission).

Ebola: infection prevention and control considerations

I gave a webinar yesterday on some of the infection prevention and control considerations related to Ebola. You can view the recording and download the slides here.

Whilst preparing the webinar, it occurred to me that the real game changer in the outbreak that made the world take note was the three transmissions of Ebola in developed healthcare systems outside of West Africa. One occurred in Madrid, Spain in early October, and a further two occurred in Dallas, Texas, a few weeks later. Before these in-hospital transmissions, there was a general feeling that developed healthcare systems could handle Ebola safely. Clearly, that was not the case!

Furthermore, the ratio of secondary transmissions for dealing with Ebola cases in developed healthcare systems isn’t great: of the 13 cases that have been cared for outside of West Africa, three secondary transmissions have occurred.

The outbreak has thrown up some new challenges, outlined below.

Figure: the emerging challenges of the Ebola outbreak (the dark shaded circles indicate the new and emerging challenges).

Ebola challenges

Many of us now find ourselves scrambling to develop Ebola preparedness protocols. These must start at the hospital door, with carefully considered risk assessments for patients presenting with Ebola-like symptoms. We can’t afford to get our full PPE kits out for every patient who presents with a fever, so what should be the trigger for a suspected case? (PHE and CDC have published useful algorithms to help with this, but it’s not straightforward.)

One area of controversy is the appropriate protocols for terminal decontamination following a case of Ebola. Clearly, the most important risk in terms of transmission is direct contact with blood or body fluids from infected patients. However, despite being an enveloped virus, Ebola can surface on dry surfaces for days to weeks under some conditions in laboratory studies. Furthermore, transmission has been associated with indirect contact with contaminated environments. For example, in a recent report from the field, inadequate use of PPE for dealing with surfaces that were grossly contaminated with body fluids from confirmed cases was identified as one of the risk for acquisition. So, we need to make sure that contaminated surfaces are dealt with appropriately, and most hospitals that have dealt with cases outside of West Africa have used hydrogen peroxide vapour for terminal decontamination.

There is a suggestion today that the epi curve may be peaking in Liberia, which is the epicenter of the outbreak in West Africa. Even if that is the case, we can still expect to see more repatriations to developed healthcare systems and perhaps more cases showing up at our hospitals. So, we need to make sure we do everything in our power to prevent secondary in-hospital transmissions.