BMC Medicine has published some research from our group reporting the findings of a mathematical model comparing various approaches to screening for CPE carriage. The model compared how several operational metrics varied with different approaches to screening (‘slow and cheap’ laboratory culture vs. ‘fast and expensive’ PCR) and in various specialties with variable levels of compliance with CPE admission screening and at various levels of admission prevalence of CPE. The main conclusion was that culture proved to be the best approach in most scenarios, balancing risk and resource.
The current national guidelines for CPE in England recommend three serial admission screens each separated by 48 hours to confirm a negative carrier status combined with pre-emptive isolation. Even leaving aside the infeasibility of pre-emptive isolation, this approach introduces a host of operational challenges. In a study just published in JHI, we find report that serial admission screens do not improving the detection of CPE. However, there was a striking apparent increase in the rate of carriage of other resistant Gram-negative bacteria in the early days of hospital admission, suggesting either an unmasking of pre-existing carriage or acquisition of resistant Gram-negative gut flora.
I recently posted on the WHO CPE guidelines. A couple of people have alerted me to two other recently published guidelines, one from ECDC, and the other from Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare. So, we now have a wealth of guidelines to prevent and control CPE. But how to they compare?
I heard an interesting talk by Dr Michael Miller last week on the ethics of screening for MDROs. Whilst we need to think carefully about the ethics of all medical procedures (great and small), I think the benefits to the individual and the population generally outweigh downsides for MDRO screening programmes.
A brave study from the Palmore/Frank group at NIH has opened the Pandora’s Box that is screening staff for MDROs, and, I’m delighted to say, firmly closed it with their findings! Only 3% of staff carried ESBLs, one carried a CPE, and none carried VRE, and this despite extensive contact with MDRO patients for many of the staff sampled!
BMC Medicine have recently published a study from researchers in Oxford, PHE, and Manchester illuminating the importance of referral networks in the transmission of CPE. The bottom line is that regional referral networks seem to be the most important driver of CPE spread, such that a small CPE problem close to home is more of a threat than a larger CPE problem in a distant referral network!