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To describe the infection control preparedness for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) due to SARS-CoV-2 [previously known as 2019-novel coronavirus] in the first 42 days after announcement of a cluster of pneumonia in China, on 31 December 2019 (day 1) in Hong Kong.
A bundle approach of active and enhanced laboratory surveillance, early airborne infection isolation, rapid molecular diagnostic testing, and contact tracing for healthcare workers (HCWs) with unprotected exposure in the hospitals was implemented. Epidemiological characteristics of confirmed cases, environmental and air samples were collected and analyzed.
From day 1 to day 42, forty-two (3.3%) of 1275 patients fulfilling active (n=29) and enhanced laboratory surveillance (n=13) confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2 infection. The number of locally acquired case significantly increased from 1 (7.7%) of 13 [day 22 to day 32] to 27 (93.1%) of 29 confirmed case [day 33 to day 42] (p<0.001). Twenty-eight patients (66.6%) came from 8 family clusters. Eleven (2.7%) of 413 HCWs caring these confirmed cases were found to have unprotected exposure requiring quarantine for 14 days. None of them was infected and nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was not observed. Environmental surveillance performed in a patient with viral load of 3.3x106 copies/ml (pooled nasopharyngeal/ throat swab) and 5.9x106 copies/ml (saliva) respectively. SARS-CoV-2 revealed in 1 (7.7%) of 13 environmental samples, but not in 8 air samples collected at a distance of 10 cm from patient's chin with or without wearing a surgical mask.
Appropriate hospital infection control measures could prevent nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
A liver transplant recipient developed hospital-acquired symptomatic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 6a infection 14 months post transplant.
Standard outbreak investigation.
Patient chart review, interviews of patients and staff, observational study of patient care practices, environmental surveillance, blood collection simulation experiments, and phylogenetic study of HCV strains using partial envelope gene sequences (E1–E2) of HCV genotype 6a strains from the suspected source patient, the environment, and the index patient were performed.
Investigations and data review revealed no further cases of HCV genotype 6a infection in the transplant unit. However, a suspected source with a high HCV load was identified. HCV genotype 6a was found in a contaminated reusable blood-collection tube holder with barely visible blood and was identified as the only shared item posing risk of transmission to the index case patient. Also, 14 episodes of sequential blood collection from the source patient and the index case patient were noted on the computerized time log of the laboratory barcoding system during their 13 days of cohospitalization in the liver transplant ward. Disinfection of the tube holders was not performed after use between patients. Blood collection simulation experiments showed that HCV and technetium isotope contaminating the tip of the sleeve capping the sleeved-needle can reflux back from the vacuum-specimen tube side to the patient side.
A reusable blood-collection tube holder without disinfection between patients can cause a nosocomial HCV infection. Single-use disposable tube holders should be used according to the recommendations by Occupational Safety and Health Administration and World Health Organization.
Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) are increasingly reported in residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs). We assessed whether implementation of directly observed hand hygiene (DOHH) by hand hygiene ambassadors can reduce environmental contamination with MDROs.
From July to August 2017, a cluster-randomized controlled study was conducted at 10 RCHEs (5 intervention versus 5 nonintervention controls), where DOHH was performed at two-hourly intervals during daytime, before meals and medication rounds by a one trained nurse in each intervention RCHE. Environmental contamination by MRDOs, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter species (CRA), and extended-spectrum β-lactamse (ESBL)–producing Enterobacteriaceae, was evaluated using specimens collected from communal areas at baseline, then twice weekly. The volume of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) consumed per resident per week was measured.
The overall environmental contamination of communal areas was culture-positive for MRSA in 33 of 100 specimens (33%), CRA in 26 of 100 specimens (26%), and ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in 3 of 100 specimens (3%) in intervention and nonintervention RCHEs at baseline. Serial monitoring of environmental specimens revealed a significant reduction in MRSA (79 of 600 [13.2%] vs 197 of 600 [32.8%]; P<.001) and CRA (56 of 600 [9.3%] vs 94 of 600 [15.7%]; P=.001) contamination in the intervention arm compared with the nonintervention arm during the study period. The volume of ABHR consumed per resident per week was 3 times higher in the intervention arm compared with the baseline (59.3±12.9 mL vs 19.7±12.6 mL; P<.001) and was significantly higher than the nonintervention arm (59.3±12.9 mL vs 23.3±17.2 mL; P=.006).
The direct observation of hand hygiene of residents could reduce environmental contamination by MDROs in RCHEs.
To study the association between gastrointestinal colonization of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
We analyzed 31,526 patients with prospective collection of fecal specimens for CPE screening: upon admission (targeted screening) and during hospitalization (opportunistic screening, safety net screening, and extensive contact tracing), in our healthcare network with 3,200 beds from July 1, 2011, through December 31, 2015. Specimens were collected at least once weekly during hospitalization for CPE carriers and subjected to broth enrichment culture and multiplex polymerase chain reaction.
Of 66,672 fecal specimens collected, 345 specimens (0.5%) from 100 patients (0.3%) had CPE. The number and prevalence (per 100,000 patient-days) of CPE increased from 2 (0.3) in 2012 to 63 (8.0) in 2015 (P<.001). Male sex (odds ratio, 1.91 [95% CI, 1.15–3.18], P=.013), presence of wound or drain (3.12 [1.70–5.71], P<.001), and use of cephalosporins (3.06 [1.42–6.59], P=.004), carbapenems (2.21 [1.10–4.48], P=.027), and PPIs (2.84 [1.72–4.71], P<.001) in the preceding 6 months were significant risk factors by multivariable analysis. Of 79 patients with serial fecal specimens, spontaneous clearance of CPE was noted in 57 (72.2%), with a median (range) of 30 (3–411) days. Comparing patients without use of antibiotics and PPIs, consumption of both antibiotics and PPIs after CPE identification was associated with later clearance of CPE (hazard ratio, 0.35 [95% CI, 0.17–0.73], P=.005).
Concomitant use of antibiotics and PPIs prolonged duration of gastrointestinal colonization by CPE.
To determine the prevalence and molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains among residents in residential care homes for the elderly in Hong Kong.
Cross-sectional and descriptive study.
A total of 949 residents in 13 residential care homes for elderly persons in Hong Kong in January 2005.
MRSA colonization was assessed by culture of swab specimens from anterior nares and active skin lesions. Characteristics of residents were obtained by a standard questionnaire. All MRSA isolates were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction for their staphylococcal cassette chromosome (SCC) mec content and were typed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequencing.
MRSA colonization was detected in 27 residents (2.8%). No MRSA was found in 2 facilities. The rate of MRSA carriage in the other 11 facilities ranged from 1.9% to 4.2%. In univariate analysis, functional immobility (odds ratio [OR], 1.4), history of hospital admission (OR, 2.3), and the use of nebulized medication (OR, 5.4) were significantly associated with MRSA colonization. The isolates had 11 unique antibiograms, with 14 isolates susceptible to all but 1 or 2 of the non-β-lactam antimicrobial agents tested. The isolates exhibited SCCmec types I (1 isolate), II (2 isolates), III (1 isolate), IV/IVA (10 isolates), and V (13 isolates). No isolates had the Panton-Valentine leukocidin genes. PFGE analysis clustered all except 1 isolate into 7 PFGE types, designated HKU10 to HKU70. Between 1 and 4 unique PFGE types were found in the individual residential care facilities.
This study documented the emergence of SCCmec types IV and V among genetically diverse MRSA strains in residential care homes for elderly persons in Hong Kong.
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