As I’m sure you’ve heard (unless you’ve been living under a rock), there’s something going on in China: a Novel Coronavirus has been identified, associated with an outbreak affecting 44 people (one of whom has died and a small number of whom are critically unwell) in Wuhan Providence, China. Here’s what we know so far:
I blogged about a review of the surprising ability of some respiratory viruses (especially SARS-CoV and Influenza virus) to survive on dry surfaces last year. In the review, I predicted that MERS-Cov would also share the same ability to survive on dry surfaces as SARS-CoV – so I was interested to see a recent article in CID demonstrating that MERS is indeed more environmental than you may think.
Most virologists would probably tell you that enveloped viruses are generally pretty fragile outside of their host and so wouldn’t survive for long on dry surfaces. They may well say “If you were talking about a non-enveloped virus (like norovirus) then, yes, it would probably survive on surfaces for quite a while. But enveloped viruses, no – you’d be lucky if it survived for more than a few hours.” But when I looked at the literature to investigate the potential for dry surface-mediated transmission of respiratory viruses with pandemic potential (SARS, MERS and influenza), the picture that emerged was quite different. These respiratory viruses can survive on dry surfaces for ages, and the contaminated environment may well be an underestimated reservoir for their transmission. This is summarised in a review published recently in the Journal of Hospital Infection.
Infection Prevention 2015, the annual conference of IPS, was held in Liverpool this year. I’m delighted to say that the abstracts from the submitted science are published Open Access in the Journal of Infection Prevention. This first instalment of my report will be “bug-focussed”, followed by another two on different themes:
Part I: Beating the bugs
The conference kicked off with fellow ‘Reflections’ blogger Prof Andreas Voss. By Andreas’ own admission, he was given a curve-ball of a title: ‘CRE, VRE, C. difficle or MRSA: what should be the priority of infection prevention?’ [No idea where that could have come from…] Andreas developed a framework for grading the priority of our microbial threats, accounting for transmissibility, virulence, antibiotic resistance, at-risk patients, feasibility of decolonisation, cost, and impact of uncontrolled spread. And the result? Any and all microbes that cause HCAI should be a priority of infection prevention. Even those that seem to have less clinical impact (such as VRE) are good indicators of system failure. If we focus too much on one threat, we risk losing sight of the bigger picture.
Now that you have digested your Christmas turkey, I thought that it would be a good time to send out an update. These articles have been posted since the last update:
- Who’s harbouring CRE? (Published 22nd December 2014)
- ECDC data shows progressive, depressing increase in antibiotic resistance in Europe (Published 16th December 2014)
- Is deliberately seeding hospital rooms with Bacillus spores a good idea? No, I don’t think so either! (Published 8th December 2014)
- Filling the gaps in the guidelines to control resistant Gram-negative bacteria (Published 2nd December 2014)
- Journal Roundup November 2014: Journal Roundup: Ebola (again), The rise (and rise) and fall of MRDOs & Infection Prevention 2014 (Published 28th November 2014)
- The inanimate environment doesn’t contribute to pathogen transmission in the operating room…OR does it? (Published 27th November 2014)
- Being bitten by antibiotic resistant CRAB hurts! (Acinetobacter that is.) (Published 25th November 2014)
- Reflections from HIS 2014, Part III: Education, communication, and antibiotic resistance (Published 21st November 2014)
- Reflections from HIS 2014, Part II: Dealing with the contaminated environment (Published 20th November 2014)
- Reflections from HIS 2014, Part I: Updates on C. difficile, norovirus and other HCAI pathogens (Published 19th November 2014)
- What’s trending in the infection prevention and control literature? (Published 16th November 2014)
- HIS Poster Round: Dealing with contaminated hands, surfaces, water and medical devices (Published 15th November 2014)
- Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE): so what should an infection prevention and control team do now? (Published 11th November 2014)
- A postcard from Portugal: “Some days we don’t have any needles on the ICU” (Published 5th November 2014)
- Ebola: infection prevention and control considerations (Published 30th October 2014)
- ID Week 2014 as seen by an Infection Preventionist (Published 28th October 2014)
- Selective Digestive Decontamination (SDD) is dead; long live faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) (Published 27th October 2014)
I’m in a rather reflective mood, so time to remind you of some of the key themes from 2014: Ebola, MERS-CoV, universal vs. targeted interventions, faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), whole genome sequencing (WGS), carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), and some interesting developments in environmental science. And what will we be still talking about come Christmas 2015? Let’s hope it won’t be Ebola, and I think that WGS will be a lab technique akin to a Vitek machine rather than subject matter for NEJM. But I think we still have ground to cover on whether to go for universal or targeted interventions, FMT, and improving our study designs in infection prevention and control. I can also foresee important studies on the comparative and cost-effectiveness of the various tools at our disposal.
And finally, before I sign off for 2014, a classic BMJ study on why Rudolf’s nose is red (it’s to do with the richly vascularised nasal microcirculation of the reindeer nose, apparently).
Image: Christmas #27.
I was privileged to speak at the Healthcare Infection Society meeting in France today on ‘What’s trending in the infection prevention and control literature? HIS 2012 -> HIS 2014’. You can download my slides here, and view the recording below:
I have always enjoyed attending these light-hearted summary sessions at other conferences, so I hope I struck the right tone. In order to track some of the trends in the infection prevention and control literature since the last HIS conference (in late 2012), I plugged some search terms into Google trends (Figure).
Figure: Google Trends for all search terms (excluding viruses) (2004 to present). Logos and arrows represent the time of the HIS 2012 and HIS 2014 conferences. Search terms: hospital cleaning; carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae, whole genome sequencing, fecal microbiota transplantation. [Note, I had to spell it ‘wrong’ (fecal v faecal) to detect a trend. Blasted Americans.]
Based on my search terms, there was one infection control trend that trumped all others: Ebola. If I include in with the other Google search terms, it eclipses all others! Whilst trends in Google searches may not necessarily correlate with trends in the infection prevention and control literature, in this case, it is true that the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has prompted a lot of publications in the literature – and consumed an awful lot of professional time for all who are connected with hospital infection prevention and control! Aside from Ebola, other trends in the infection prevention and control literature that I covered include MERS-CoV, universal vs. targeted interventions, faecal microbiota transplantation, whole genome sequencing, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), and some aspects of environmental science. Finally, I looked into my crystal ball and predict some of the trends in the infection prevention and control literature by the time HIS 2016 comes around.
It’s been another busy quarter on the blog, with some updates from ECCMID and APIC, the inaugural ‘Journal Roundup’ plus a few key studies.
- ESCMID MDR-GNR guidelines (Published 2nd July 2014)
- Inaugural ‘Journal Roundup’ (June 2014) (Published 26th June 2014)
- What works to control antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the ICU? A two-for-the-price-of-one study (Published 17th June 2014)
- Highlights from APIC 2014 (Published 9th June 2014)
- Which transmission route is most important for influenza? (Published 4th June 2014)
- MERS-CoV: a survival guide for you and your patients (Published 28th May 2014)
- Perspectives from ECCMID 2014: the box set (Published 21st May 2014)
- Perspective from ECCMID Part IV: We need to stop polluting our planet with antibiotics (Published 20th May 2014)
- Perspective from ECCMID Part III: CDI synthetic “repoopulation” (bacteriotherapy) closer than you think & “CA-CDI” still pie in the sky (Published 19th May 2014)
- Perspective from ECCMID 2014 Part II: What to do about MDR-GNR? (Published 16th may 2014)
- Perspective from ECCMID 2014 Part I: a voice against ‘selective’ digestive decontamination (SDD) (Published 15th May 2014)
- What does lab diagnosis of MDR-GNR have to do with SURFing? (Published 9th May 2014)
- Chronic wound? No problem – a splash of oxygen peroxide should do the trick (Published 7th May 2014)
- How much Clostridium difficile infection is hospital-acquired? Part II (published 29th April 2014)
- APIC New England 2014 Conference Report: ‘The how, when, & where of C. diff – can you “C” the difference?’ (Published 25th April 2014)
- IFIC 2013 Conference Report (Published 17th April 2014)
Please keep your responses coming – and let me know if you’d like to contribute a guest blog!
Photo: ‘Summer’ by Matteo Angelino.