American Journal of Infection Control

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 0196-6553
Publications
Article
A quick review of the basics of sample size and power is presented. Readers can participate in an online exercise that introduces them to a power calculator that can be used in their practice, and illustrates the concepts discussed in the article.
 
Article
A practicing hospital administrator explores how a risk management program can function effectively in a hospital setting. Risk management is defined and methods of planning, developing, and organizing a practical risk management program are outlined. Certain principles are presented to ensure its effectiveness and the advantages and disadvantages of such a program are discussed in this article.
 
Article
Once established in an institution, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) outbreaks have proved difficult to eradicate, despite intensive infection control measures. This report describes the nosocomial infection with MRSA of 22 male infants in a neonatal nursery during a 7-month period and the infection control procedures that effectively brought this outbreak under control and eliminated recurrence for more than 3 1/2 years. After a single index case of bullous impetigo caused by MRSA in a neonate discharged from the nursery 2 weeks previously, an additional 18 cases of MRSA skin infections were clustered in a 7-week period. Aggressive infection control measures were instituted, including changes in umbilical cord care, circumcision procedures, diapers, handwashing, gloves, gowns, linens, disinfection, placement in cohorts of neonates and staff, surveillance, and monitoring. These measures were not effective in slowing the outbreak. The single additional measure of changing handwashing and bathing soap to a preparation containing 0.3% triclosan (Bacti-Stat) was associated with the immediate termination of the acute phase of the MRSA outbreak. The nursery has remained free of MRSA for more than 3 1/2 years, attesting to the success of our program.
 
Article
Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) is well-known for intrinsic resistance to certain antiseptics. We experienced a sudden rise in Bcc bloodstream infections in a 786-bed hospital. An investigation was conducted to identify the source and to intervene in the ongoing infections. The cases were defined as patients with positive blood cultures for Bcc from October 10, 2013-December 16, 2013. We reviewed medical records, interviewed health care workers, and audited the clinical laboratory. A microbiologic culture for a suspected antiseptic was performed, and interventions were instituted. During the outbreak period, Bcc were isolated from 46 blood cultures from 40 patients. The temporal and spatial distributions did not reveal common factors. The clinical features of the case patients suggested pseudobacteremia. A 0.5% chlorhexidine solution product was found to be contaminated with Bcc and had been misused as a skin antiseptic during blood culture. After withdrawal of the product and staff education, the outbreak was terminated. The pseudobacteremia was caused by contaminated 0.5% chlorhexidine from a single company. This contamination was permitted by multiple breaches of infection control principles that could have caused significant outbreaks of true infections. Regulatory actions at the government level are needed to ensure the sterility of antiseptics. Copyright © 2015 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
 
Article
Recent exposure to health care facilities is a risk factor for carriage of multidrug-resistant organisms, but identification of hospitalized patients admitted from other health care facilities is often inefficient. At an acute care hospital, we utilized a standard point of origin code from a universal billing form (UB-04) to categorize hospitalized patients as admitted from any health care facility (long-term care facility vs acute care facility). In a prospective study, the point of origin code and information obtained from physician-documented history were validated against patient self-report. Admission source for 523 patients was assessed. For identifying admission from any health care facility, the point of origin code had 86% sensitivity (95% confidence interval [CI]: 77-92) and 98% specificity (95% CI: 97-99). Physician-documented history had 75% sensitivity (95% CI: 65-84) and 98% specificity (95% CI: 96-99). For identifying patients from long-term care facilities, the sensitivities of the point of origin code and physician history were 50% (95% CI: 23-77) and 71% (95% CI: 42-92), respectively. For identifying patients admitted from acute care facilities, the sensitivities of the point of origin code and physician history were 93% (95% CI: 84-98) and 76% (95% CI: 64-85), respectively. The point of origin code is an accurate method of identifying patients admitted from another health care facility that is comparable with physician-documented history.
 
Article
Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged ≥6 months. The objective of this study was to assess trends in racial/ethnic disparities in influenza vaccination coverage among adults in the United States. We analyzed data from the 2007-2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis to assess influenza vaccination coverage by age, presence of medical conditions, and racial/ethnic groups during the 2007-08 through 2011-12 seasons. During the 2011-12 season, influenza vaccination coverage was significantly lower among non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics compared with non-Hispanic whites among most of the adult subgroups, with smaller disparities observed for adults age 18-49 years compared with other age groups. Vaccination coverage for non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic adults increased significantly from the 2007-08 through the 2011-12 season for most of the adult subgroups based on the NHIS (test for trend, P < .05). Coverage gaps between racial/ethnic minorities and non-Hispanic whites persisted at similar levels from the 2007-08 through the 2011-12 seasons, with similar results from the NHIS and BRFSS. Influenza vaccination coverage among most racial/ethnic groups increased from the 2007-08 through the 2011-12 seasons, but substantial racial and ethnic disparities remained in most age groups. Targeted efforts are needed to improve coverage and reduce these disparities.
 
Article
The purpose of this study was to monitor disinfection with 10,000 ppm sodium hypochlorite for decontamination of common hospital spills. Simulated spills deliberately contaminated with 10(8) bacterial challenges were used for the study. Results showed greater than 5 log reduction in the challenge bacteria for all spills (serum, pus, sputum, csf, ascitic fluid, urine, and stool) except blood. Disinfection was satisfactory for blood contaminated with gram-negative bacteria, but not for staphylococci. As a practical procedure, surfaces contaminated from gross spillage of human body fluids should first be contained with absorbent materials, then disinfected with hypochlorite.
 
Article
According to manufacturers information, the STERRAD 100NX sterilizer-a low temperature H(2)O(2) gas plasma sterilizer-can adequately process single channel stainless steel lumens with an inside diameter of 0.7 mm or larger and a maximum length of 500 mm using standard cycle sterilizing conditions. The aim of this study was to qualify the performance of this H(2)O(2) gas plasma sterilizer under different experimental settings representing worst case conditions. Inoculated carriers were placed at the midpoint position of specified lumens and then submitted to flex scope sterilizing conditions. To simulate insufficient cleaning or crystalline residues, we added organic and inorganic challenges to our inoculated carriers. For experiments done with unchallenged carriers, quantitative analysis reached a log(10) reduction rate of ≥5.71, whereas qualitative results showed no growth in 24 out of 30 biologic indicators tested using flex scope half cycle conditions. Any additional kind of challenge significantly impaired the sterilization outcome. The findings of our current study emphasize the importance of a thorough validated cleaning of medical devices as well as timing for cleaning and decontamination before being exposed to the H(2)O(2) sterilization process and, furthermore, the need for strict adherence to manufacturer's recommendations.
 
Article
Sterrad sterilizers have been developed for the sterilization of thermolabile materials. The aim of the present study was to challenge the efficacy of this low-temperature hydrogen peroxide-based sterilization system with different carrier materials and wrappings under experimental "clean" and "dirty" conditions. We tested the sporocidal effect of the Sterrad 100NX sterilizer (Advanced Sterilization Products, Irvine, CA) on the carrier materials titanium, polyethylene, and polyurethane with single versus 3 wrappings of inoculated carriers. To simulate insufficient cleaning or crystalline residues, carriers were charged with spore inocula containing organic and inorganic burdens. Our qualitative results show that irrespective of the number of wrappings in the "clean" condition, sterilization by the Sterrad 100NX was equally effective on all 3 carrier materials, reaching a log-10 reduction rate of ≥ 6 under standard half-cycle conditions. Any additional organic or inorganic challenge significantly impaired the sterilization outcome. Results of our current study emphasize the utmost importance of thorough and reliable cleaning of medical devices before being exposed to a subsequent hydrogen peroxide sterilization process. Any institution using this sterilization technology should have a well-established and validated cleaning process and enforce a rigorous quality assurance program for all steps of the presterilization processing of medical devices.
 
Article
A surgical site infection (SSI) develops in 2% to 5% of patients undergoing operation. We report SSI surveillance at Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Mass, in coronary artery bypass operation between 1991 and 2001, and demonstrate a substantial decline in SSI rates accomplished with use of multiple intervention strategies. Infection documentation used Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria and a postdischarge questionnaire. Infections were stratified by risk class. Strategies used to lower SSI rates included active surveillance and provision of authenticated SSI rate plus surgeon-specific rates. Interventions included outbreak analyses and targeted nasal mupirocin plus chlorhexidine showering. The rate of coronary artery bypass-related SSIs declined from >8% to <2%, comparing extremely favorably with CDC national data. Percentage of infections documented by postdischarge questionnaire was variable and did not change during the study period. Most SSIs were at the harvest site. Routine implementation of nasal mupirocin plus chlorhexidine preoperative showering effectively disrupted an outbreak of Staphylococcus aureus, and statistically decreased rates of postoperative infections with this organism. Regular provision of authenticated and verified data, use of postdischarge questionnaires, and careful attention to adverse trends and outbreaks with appropriate actions can substantially decrease rates of infections in coronary artery bypass operation.
 
Article
For valid comparisons with the published NNIS nosocomial infection rates, hospitals must define data elements in the same way. Definitions for infections, risk factors, and populations monitored are specified in the NNIS System, but thus far only infection definitions and the list of NNIS operative procedure categories have been published. This article defines other key terms used in the NNIS System.
 
Article
A safe alternative to ethylene oxide for reprocessing heat-sensitive lumen medical devices, such as endoscopes, is needed. The effectiveness of a new, safe, low-cost, and environmentally friendly low-temperature sterilization process using ozone was assessed. Rigid lumen devices were used to assess the maximum length of lumens of different internal diameters that can be sterilized in the TSO(3) model 125L ozone sterilizer. Two inoculation techniques were used. An inoculated wire was placed inside lumens with internal diameters of 0.8 mm and larger, whereas lumens with an internal diameter of 0.5 mm were inoculated directly. Lumens with internal diameters of 0.5 mm, 1 mm, 2 mm, 3 mm, and 4 mm with lengths varying between 45 and 70 cm can be sterilized with ozone. Calculation of the log reduction value for each size demonstrated the achievement of a sterility assurance level of 10(-6). Experimental results demonstrated a linear relationship (with r(2) = 0.990) between the length of lumen that can be sterilized in the 125L ozone sterilizer and its internal diameter. Effective sterilization of an ACMI ureteroscope that is more challenging in terms of sterilant penetration in a small lumen (0.8 mm) compared with the stated lumen claims confirms that the relationship can conservatively be used to predict the length of a lumen device that can be sterilized in the 125L ozone sterilizer for a given diameter. Intermediate sizes of lumen devices that can be sterilized in the 125L ozone sterilizer can be interpolated from the linear relationship between diameter and length found in the present study.
 
Article
Multicenter studies assessing hand hygiene adherence and risk factors for poor performance are scarce. In an observational study involving 13 hospitals across Ontario, Canada, we found a mean adherence rate of 31.2%, and that adherence was positively associated with nurses, single rooms, contact precautions, and the availability of alcohol hand rub dispensers. Copyright © 2011 by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
 
Article
Background and aims Appropriate hand hygiene among healthcare workers is the most important infection prevention measure; however, compliance is generally low. Gain-framed messages (i.e. messages that emphasise the benefits of hand hygiene rather than the risks of noncompliance) may be most effective. The aim of this study was to test the impact of gain-framed messages on the frequency of handdisinfection events and compliance with the hand hygiene protocol. Methods The study was conducted in a 27-bed neonatal intensive care unit. We performed an interrupted time series analysis of objectively measured hand disinfection events. We used electronic devices in hand alcohol dispensers, which continuously documented the frequency of hand disinfection events. In addition, hand hygiene compliance before and after the intervention period were directly observed. Results The negative trend in hand hygiene events per patient-day before the intervention (decrease by 2.3 [standard error, 0.5] per week) changed to a significant positive trend (increase of 1.5 [0.5] per week) after the intervention (p < 0.001). The direct observations confirmed these results, showing a significant improved in hand hygiene compliance from 193 of 303 (63.6%) observed hand hygiene events at pretest to 201 of 281 (71.5%) at posttest (p = 0.05). Conclusions We conclude that gain-framed messages concerning hand hygiene presented on screen savers may improve hand hygiene compliance.
 
A 150-bed non-teaching community hospital: number and duration of infection control consultations* 1998-2004.
150-bed non-teaching community hospital: percentage of infection control consultations by function of question (n 5 770)* 1998-2004.
Number of infection control (IC) consultations per quarter* in 150-bed nonteaching community hospitals, January 1, 1998–December 31, 2004. 
Duration of infection control (IC) consultations in hours* in 150-bed nonteaching community hospitals, January 1, 1998-December 31, 2004.
Article
One qualified infection control director, reporting directly to administration, was responsible for the Infection Prevention and Control Program of a 150-bed acute care, non-teaching, for-profit hospital. To observe for potential trending, questions (consultations) and determinations related to infectious processes were documented. To explore the possibility of measuring the essential although "hidden" function of the infection control consultation (process), which is a role not formerly linked to infection rates (outcomes). A 7-year retrospective study was conducted of all infection control consultations requiring more than a 5-minute intervention, as part of routine job responsibilities. The XmR Statistical Process Control charts (XmR Charts) and Pearson's Correlation Coefficient were used to analyze the activity of infection control consultations. From January 1, 1998 to December 31, 2004, there were 770 infection control consultations logged for 375.1 hours. Beginning with 2003, the variation in both the number and duration of infection control consultations in the XmR Charts become more standardized and has a smaller moving range between data points. The Pearson's Correlation Coefficient shows statistical significance (P <.05) between the number and duration of consultations. Assessment of infection control consultations at this 150-bed hospital illustrates that this essential component can be measured, and should be formerly tracked to document overall assessment of infection prevention and control interdisciplinary interaction. The consultation process became more efficient over the 7-year study period because, as the number of questions increased, the duration required to achieve closure decreased.
 
Article
To assess the occurrence of enteric gram-negative bacilli (EGNB) bloodstream infections (BSI) in a neonatal intensive care setting during a 17-year period in which a consistent antibiotic treatment program was in place. To document infections, outbreaks, or epidemics, emergence of antibiotic resistance, clinical correlates, and outcomes of the most prevalent EGNB (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Enterobacter cloacae). This study analyzed demographic, clinical, and bacteriologic information from 360 infants born 1986-2002 who developed 633 blood culture-proven BSI. A total of 121 EGNB were isolated (E coli, K pneumoniae, and E cloacae). Early-onset BSI were discovered within 48 hours from birth, and late-onset BSI were those that occurred thereafter. Suspected early-onset BSI were treated with ampicillin and gentamicin, suspected late-onset BSI with vancomycin and gentamicin. Antibiotics were changed on the basis of organism antimicrobial susceptibility. Early-onset BSI were noted in 52 of 21,336 (244/100,000) live births (1986-1991), 40 of 20,402 (196/100,000) live births (1992-1997), and 25 of 17,926 (139/100,000) live births (1998-2002). Of these cases, 39 were caused by E coli and 4 by K pneumoniae. Antibiograms for E coli isolated during the last 5 years of the study showed an increase in antibiotic resistance that coincided with obstetric group B streptococcus antepartum antibiotic prophylaxis. Group B streptococcus declined from 41 to 4 cases from the first to the last period. Late-onset BSI increased from 111 to 230 cases from the first to the second 6-year study period and declined modestly (171 cases) during the last. Fifteen percent (78 cases) of late-onset BSI were caused by EGNB, 5% by other gram-negative bacilli, 67% primarily by coagulase-negative staphylococcus, and 13% by fungus. Nonspecific clinical and hematologic signs of late-onset BSI were similar across EGNB species, but necrotizing enterocolitis was often associated with E coli, whereas pneumonia and prolonged thrombocytopenia characterized K pneumoniae infections. No outbreaks or epidemics were observed, and strains of EGNB with evidence of extended spectrum beta-lactamase production were never isolated. Antepartum antibiotic prophylaxis may have increased antibiotic resistance in E coli isolates from early-onset BSI but has dramatically decreased group B streptococcus infections. Late-onset BSI caused by EGNB increased, but without changes in antibiotic susceptibility. In spite of medical advances, E coli, K pneumoniae, and E cloacae remain responsible for significant morbidity and mortality, especially in very low birth weight infants.
 
Article
To describe and analyze trends in hygiene-related advertisements and examine potential social and regulatory changes that might be associated with these trends. From 1940 to 2000, advertisements in January issues of 2 widely read magazines were analyzed every fifth year, and 2 additional magazines only available from 1960 to 2000 were also analyzed every fifth year. In a content analysis, the total number of advertisements were determined and specific advertisements were grouped into categories (personal hygiene, dishwashing, laundry, and house cleaning) and further examined for the presence of 4 key claims (aesthetics, health effects, time-saving, and microbial effects). From 1940 to 2000 for all magazines combined, 10.4% of the advertisements were devoted to hygiene products. After 1960 there were significantly fewer hygiene advertisements as compared with 1940 to 1955, and there was a significant increase after 1980 (P <.00001). Throughout all 6 decades, most advertisements related to personal hygiene. There were no significant differences over time in the proportion of advertisements that made claims related to health, microbial effects, or aesthetics, but significantly more advertisements before 1960 made time-savings claims (P =.009). This content analysis reflects a cyclical attention in consumer advertising to personal and home hygiene products during the past 6 decades, with a waning of interest in the decades from 1960 to 1980 and an apparent resurgence of advertisements from 1985 to 2000. The potential contributions of federal regulatory bodies and societal changes (e.g., new marketing strategies and options, product development, new and re-emerging infectious diseases, increasing concern about antimicrobial resistance, and increasing recognition that infectious diseases are unlikely to be eradicated) to these marketing trends are discussed.
 
Article
To determine the prevalence of and risk factors for antibody to the hepatitis C virus in hospital employees. Retrospective testing of serum samples obtained from 1677 hospital employees during a prehepatitis B vaccination program in a private teaching community hospital. Twenty-three employees (1.4%) were found to have antibody to hepatitis C virus. The prevalence of antibody to hepatitis C virus was higher in blacks (3.4%) than in whites (1.1%, p = 0.03) and Hispanics (2.6%, p = 0.88). In a logistic regression model, factors significantly associated with antibody to hepatitis C virus seropositivity included antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (p = 0.002), a history of blood transfusion (p = 0.03), and needlestick injuries (p = 0.04). Although the prevalence of antibody to hepatitis C virus in health care workers was not high, needlestick injuries were associated with an increased risk for acquiring hepatitis C virus infection.
 
Article
An estimated 4 million patients per year in the United States are subjected to urinary catheterization. Approximately 25% of patients who are hospitalized have an indwelling urinary tract catheter placed at some time during their hospital stay and nosocomial urinary tract infections develop in 5% per day, with associated bacteremia in 4% of patients. We sought to assess the prevalence and the appropriateness of the use of urinary catheters at a community teaching hospital in medical patients age 65 years and older. We randomly selected 285 charts from a total of 2845 patients admitted during the year 2000 who were 65 years and older and had an indwelling urinary tract catheter inserted during the first 24 hours after admission. We excluded patients who had a urinary catheter placed before admission and patients admitted for operation. On chart review we found an appropriate indication for catheterization for 46% of these patients. A physician or nurse explicitly documented the reason for catheter placement in only 13%. No order for catheterization was written in 33% of the charts. Mean duration of catheter use was 3 days. Less than half of urinary catheterizations in this teaching hospital were indicated and even fewer had an explicit indication recorded in the chart. Other investigators have had similar findings at other hospitals. Interventions are needed to decrease the inappropriate use of urinary catheters.
 
Article
Biomedical research journals are important because peer reviewed research is viewed as more legitimate and trustworthy than non-peer reviewed work. Therefore, it is important to know how knowledge transmitted through academic biomedical journals is produced. This article asks if some organizations are more likely to produce research than others and if organizational setting is linked with an article's impact, as measured by citation counts. Using research on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as a case study, we examined the role that hospitals, universities, public health agencies, and other organizations have in shaping an emerging research area. We collected public data on the organizational affiliations of researchers who authored 1,721 articles in general interest and selected specialty journals. MRSA research appears to have evolved in stages that require the participation of different types of organizations. Additionally, our analyses indicate that an author's organizational affiliation predicts citation counts, even when controlling for other factors. Organizations vary greatly in their ability to produce research, and this should be taken into account by those who manage or award funds to research organizations. Copyright © 2014 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
 
Article
We reviewed the English-language peer-reviewed journals and the Centers for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports between 1970 and 1984 presenting information about infections and infection risk in residents of long-term care facilities. More than 50 articles met review criteria. Approximately one third of the articles were reports of outbreaks, primarily of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Seven articles reported rates for several infection sites, but most rates were not directly comparable to one another because numerators and/or denominators were different. Many of the studies have been done in Veterans Administration hospitals with largely male populations, which may limit their applicability to freestanding long-term care facilities with largely female clients. This review establishes the need for high-quality observational studies of infections in long-term care facilities. Such studies are needed before intervention studies can be done to measure the effect of manipulation of risk factors on infection outcome.
 
Article
A total of 446 manuscripts published between 1973 and 1981 were selected for analysis in this review of the literature. More than half of these articles used research designs, with presentations of epidemic outbreaks the single greatest category. The overall category of surveillance was addressed in some way in almost three fourths of all manuscripts reviewed. Some aspect of ICP role components was the topic of about 10% (n = 55) of the total sample. Physicians were credited as first authors in 56.7% of the articles. It was not possible to determine the exact extent of ICP authorship because credentials varied widely. Finally, a cursory effort was undertaken to quantify numbers of articles that might have met study criteria for inclusion in years after 1981. That effort confirmed the investigators' suspicion that the yearly total of published manuscripts continued to escalate, as did the number of specialty journals in infection control.
 
Article
To study the impact of the professional background of infection control personnel, we compared the characteristics and activities of 107 infection control nurses (ICNs) with those of 13 infection control laboratorians (ICLs), all in hospitals with 300 beds or more. Although the two groups performed similarly in many respects. ICNs spent more time teaching, whereas ICLs spent more time and appeared more proficient in investigating outbreaks. Staff nurses at hospitals with ICNs found the infection control person more visible on the wards and more available for discussing infection control matters. ICNs appeared less hesitant to speak up to personnel not following correct handwashing techniques. ICNs and ICLs appear to offer different skills that should be considered when filling different infection control positions.
 
Article
We describe the relative frequency of health care-associated pathogens by infection site over 29 years using hospital-wide surveillance data from a large academic hospital. Comprehensive hospital-wide surveillance was provided by trained infection preventionists using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definitions. Five 5-year blocks and one 4-year block were created for each site: bloodstream infections (BSI), urinary tract infections (UTI), respiratory tract infections (RTI), and surgical site infections (SSI). The blocks of relative frequency of health care-associated pathogens were compared by χ(2) analysis, and trends for each pathogen were estimated by regression analysis. At least 1 pathogen was isolated from 28,208 (83.5%) of 33,797 health care-associated infections (HAI). Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), Enterococcus species, and Clostridium difficile and other anaerobes significantly increased, whereas Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella species, Enterobacter species, and other streptococci significantly decreased in the relative proportion of pathogens during the study period. By infection site, results showed significant increasing trends of S aureus in UTI, RTI, and SSI; CoNS in BSI and SSI; Candida in SSI; and Enterococcus in BSI and UTI. Significant changes in relative frequency of health care-associated pathogens by infection site occurred over the 29-year period. These findings have implications for implementation of infection prevention strategies.
 
Article
We compared the relative frequency of pathogens isolated from 1985 to 1989 (N = 4358) with those isolated from 1980 to 1984 (N = 5290) in a university hospital to determine trends in the relative importance of pathogens causing nosocomial infection. Our study was based on surveillance data prospectively obtained between 1980 and 1989 from a 600-bed university hospital. Statistically significant trends occurring from 1980 to 1984 to 1985 to 1989 were determined by chi 2 tests with Bonferroni corrections (i.e., p less than [0.05/17]). Overall an increased frequency of isolation occurred for Candida and other yeasts and for Haemophilus species. A decreased frequency was noted for Proteus species, non-Bacteroides anaerobes, and Serratia species. Comparison of 1985 to 1989 with 1980 to 1984 revealed that the most significant change in nosocomial pathogens was the marked increase in infections with yeast, principally Candida species. Candida and other yeast infections increased 40%, from 7.6% (rank, 5) to 10.6% (rank, 3) of all pathogens isolated. Increases, which occurred in urine, blood, and wound isolates, were especially marked among surgical patients. In addition, a significant increase was noted among blood isolates in the isolation of yeast other than Candida albicans. We conclude that Candida and other yeasts are being isolated increasingly as causative agents of nosocomial infection.
 
Article
Respondents (N = 473) from a randomized stratified sample (N = 600) of U.S. hospital ICPs in a national survey sponsored by the Certification Board of Infection Control were asked to rate specific task, knowledge, and ability statements related to infection control for frequency and importance. The questions included 175 items, of which 99 were for specific tasks and 76 were for knowledge and abilities for practice. Areas covered included patient care practices, infectious diseases, epidemiology and statistics, microbiologic practices, sterilization and disinfection, education, employee health services, and management and communications. A "profile respondent" group (N = 317) was defined as persons most likely to be practicing the full scope of infection control practice and was used to identify key tasks, knowledge, and abilities for practice. Results showed that patient care practices (i.e., suctioning, dressing changes, and catheterization) were rarely performed. The development of infection control policies and procedures were key tasks. Knowledge of microbiology and infectious diseases in order to interpret laboratory reports and other patient data was rated as essential; however, few respondents actually performed laboratory procedures. Epidemiologic principles were frequently used for surveillance and problem investigation. Although presentation of epidemiologic data was rated as important, analytic statistics were rarely used. Assessment of educational needs and teaching were large components of ICPs' activities.
 
Article
One aspect of the Certification Board of Infection Control's (CBIC) task analysis survey was to determine those tasks done most frequently and considered most important by ICPs. A randomized stratified sample of ICPs was taken from U.S. hospitals of various bed-size categories. There were 473 responses (78.8%) from a targeted sample of 600 ICPs. Statistical analyses were done to find if a relationship existed between hospital size and the tasks performed. The frequency of performance and importance of the majority of infection control tasks studied were found to vary in relation to hospital size. Some tasks were found to be both important and frequently performed by the majority of ICPs in all hospital bed-size categories. These included performing and reporting epidemiologic surveillance, educating personnel, developing infection control policies and procedures, and consulting with hospital personnel. Other tasks were found to be relatively less important and infrequently performed by the majority of ICPs in all hospital bed-size categories. These included performing bedside patient care procedures, recommending specific antimicrobial therapy, and using statistical methods. The greatest differences in the performance of tasks were found in the subsample of the ICPs from hospitals with less than or equal to 100 beds.
 
Article
The Association for Practitioners in Infection Control (APIC), in existence now for 16 years, is still considered to be a relatively young professional organization. During that time its many accomplishments include membership growth to more than 7500 persons, establishment of a national office, annual revenues of more than $700,000, publications of a bimonthly scientific journal, publication of the standard reference work for infection control practice, establishment of the process leading to a certifying examination in infection control, an annual educational conference attended by more than 1000 persons, and increasing recognition by other professional groups, state and federal agencies, and the scientific community as a leading voice that represents professionals involved in infection control practice in the United States. These accomplishments have been due in large part to the dedication and hard work of its members, especially the hundreds of persons who have filled local and national positions of leadership. However, APIC now finds itself at a crossroads; changes in the current health care climate and publication of the results of a national study on the efficacy of infection control practice have contributed to a reassessment of infection control programs and the role and scope of persons involved in the field. The purpose of this editorial is to review the background of our two position papers, to comment on an expanded role of hospital epidemiology, and to examine the response of APIC to our membership in terms of commitments identified in the two papers.
 
Article
To study changes in the use of National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance System (NNIS) surveillance components since 1986 that could reflect an evolution in the way in which NNIS hospitals conduct surveillance of nosocomial infections. We analyzed NNIS data from 1986 to 1993 collected at the 199 US hospitals that participated in the NNIS system during this period. The number of hospitals participating in the NNIS system increased threefold between 1986 and 1993. A parallel increase was noticed in the amount of surveillance data for all NNIS components except for the hospital-wide component. The percentage of all hospitals reporting at least 1 calendar month per year of data from the hospital-wide component decreased from 95% in 1986 to 37% in 1993. During this period, use of the hospital-wide component was greater among the hospitals whose first participation in the NNIS system occurred before 1987. Interest by NNIS hospitals in the hospital-wide component apparently decreased between 1987 and 1993. In contrast, the interest in NNIS components that allow calculation of risk-adjusted nosocomial infection rates (intensive care unit, high-risk nursery, and surgical patient components) increased dramatically after 1986. This increased interest in surveillance with NNIS components that allow risk adjustment and interhospital comparison of infection rates suggests that the feasibility of collection of and interest in such data are high.
 
Article
To gauge the impact of regulatory-driven improvements in sharps disposal practices in the United States over the last 2 decades, we analyzed percutaneous injury (PI) data from a national surveillance network from 2 periods, 1993-1994 and 2006-2007, to see whether changes in disposal-related injury patterns could be detected. Data were derived from the EPINet Sharps Injury Surveillance Research Group, established in 1993 and coordinated by the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia. For the period 1993-1994, 69 hospitals contributed data; the combined average daily census for the 2 years was 24,495, and the total number of PIs reported was 7,854. For the period 2006-2007, 33 hospitals contributed data; the combined average daily census was 6,800, and the total number of PIs reported was 1901. In 1992-1993, 36.8% of PIs reported were related to disposal of sharp devices. In 2006-2007, this proportion was 19.3%, a 53% decline. This comparison provides evidence that implementation of point-of-use, puncture-resistant sharps disposal containers, combined with large-scale use of safety-engineered sharp devices, has resulted in a marked decline in sharps disposal-related injury rates in the United States. The protocol for removing and replacing full sharps disposal containers remains a critical part of disposal safety.
 
Article
Between December 1987 and December 1989, 74 adults employed in Los Angeles County acute care hospitals were found to have measles. To investigate measles infection control policies in Los Angeles County and to gain information on employee measles cases, two surveys were performed. A survey of all infection control practitioners (N = 102) of acute care hospitals was conducted in July 1989. Reported employee measles cases were surveyed after initial case reports were reviewed. The survey of acute care hospitals revealed that only 17% had mandatory measles infection control policies requiring written proof of past measles vaccination, disease, or seropositivity. Only 4% of hospitals had policies affecting students or volunteers. A second survey of hospital employees with confirmed measles revealed that 46% (34/74) were working in hospitals without measles infection control policies, 43% (32/74) were born before 1957, and 31% (21/67) were working in jobs not traditionally considered to provide a high risk of measles exposure. One third of the sick employees were hospitalized. The standard of either birth date before 1957 or oral history of measles illness or vaccination would have classified 93% (39/42) of the employees with measles as immune. Effective infection control policies against measles and rubella should be adopted and enforced. Those policies should only allow written documentation as proof of measles immunity and should address all employees, regardless of age or job description.
 
Article
A survey was conducted in 1992 in Los Angeles County, California, to assess changes since an earlier survey in 1989 in the numbers of acute care hospitals that had established policies on measles, mumps, and rubella infection control and the extent to which these policies were implemented. A questionnaire inquiring about measles, mumps, and rubella infection control was sent to ICPs of 133 acute care hospitals in Los Angeles County. The results were compared with those of a similar survey conducted in 1989. The increase in the number of hospitals with such policies between 1989 and 1992 was analyzed. In 1989, 29 (28%), 9 (9%), and 65 (64%) of the 102 respondent hospitals had measles, mumps, and rubella infection control policies, respectively. Larger proportions of the 95 respondent hospitals in 1992 had measles (56, 59%), mumps (15, 16%), and rubella (69, 73%) infection control policies. The number of hospitals with infection control policies for measles, mumps, and rubella increased from 1989 to 1992. Efficiency and scope of such policies varied, however, and could be improved by making the policies mandatory, requiring written documentation of employee immunity, and extending policies to cover all employees. The most dramatic increase was in the number of hospitals with infection control policies for measles; this increase may have been caused by the 1987 to 1989 measles epidemic in Los Angeles County, by increased awareness of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee recommendations, or by increased sensitivity to the issue of infection control triggered by the 1989 survey.
 
Article
Recent nosocomial outbreaks have raised concern about the risk of Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission in United States hospitals. To determine current tuberculosis (TB) infection control practices, we surveyed a sample of approximately 3000 acute care facilities about the number of patients with drug-susceptible or multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), health care worker (HCW) tuberculin skin test (TST) results, and compliance with the 1990 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) TB guidelines. Analyses were restricted to one response per hospital. Personnel at 1494 (49.8%) hospitals returned a completed survey. Respondent hospitals had a mean of 881 HCWs (range 8 to 10,000) and 196 (range 6 to 2450) beds; 62% percent were community nonteaching hospitals. Of respondent hospitals providing data for 1989 through 1992, the proportion that cared for patients with TB or MDR-TB increased from 46.4% to 56.6% and 0.8% to 4.5%, respectively. The pooled mean HCW TST positivity rate at hire rose from 0.95% to 1.14%, and the pooled mean HCW TST conversion rate increased from 0.40% to 0.51%. In 1992, when we compared hospitals with zero, one to five, or six or greater patients with TB, the risk of a positive HCW TST result at hire or at routine testing significantly increased with increasing number of patients with TB. From 1989 through 1992, the number of hospitals reporting the use of surgical masks for HCW respiratory protection decreased from 96.8% to 66.8%. In 1992, 66% of the hospitals reported compliance with four or more of the AFB isolation room criteria specified in the 1990 CDC TB guidelines. Contrary to prior surveys, this study shows that many U.S. community hospitals admit patients with TB less frequently than do teaching hospitals, and infrequently admit patients with MDR-TB. Because the risk of HCW TST conversion varies with hospital characteristics, these data show the importance of performing a risk assessment, as recommended in the CDC TB guidelines, for each ward and hospital so that TB control measures can be individualized.
 
Article
In March 1989, Mount Sinai Hospital, a community hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, faced a potential hospital-wide outbreak of measles when eight cases of measles occurred among medical personnel during several days. This article describes the chronology of events, from the initial discovery of the outbreak to the evolution of the hospital-wide containment program designed to protect patients and staff members. Measles IgG immune status was determined for 1249 employees during a 9-day period. Measles vaccine and immune serum globulin were administered to patients and employees. We offer advice from our experience for infection control practitioners who may face outbreak situations in their institutions.
 
Article
Paralleling the resurgence of tuberculosis (TB) in the United States, the reported number of persons with TB in Texas increased by 33% during 1985 through 1992, the third largest rise among all the states. This increase prompted us to survey hospitals in Texas to determine their degree of compliance with recommendations in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention TB guidelines. In April 1992, we mailed a voluntary questionnaire about TB infection control practices, health care worker tuberculin skin testing procedures, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis laboratory methods to a convenience sample of hospitals in Texas. Of 180 hospitals surveyed, 151 (83%) returned completed questionnaires. Of these, 90 (60%) were nonteaching community hospitals; 28 (19%) were teaching community hospitals; 13 (9%) were university-affiliated hospitals; and 20 (13%) were other hospitals. The number of hospitals to which patients with TB were admitted increased from 98 (65%) in 1989 to 122 (81%) in 1991. Respondent hospitals had a mean of 183 acute care beds (median 100, range 5 to 999), 6 acid-fast bacillus isolation rooms (median 2, range 0 to 57) and 7.5 admissions/year of patients with TB (median 2, range 0 to 202). Of hospitals responding to specific questions, 20% (27/137) admitted patients with multidrug-resistant TB, 18% (25/140) reported not having any acid-fast bacillus isolation rooms, and 28% (35/125) had no rooms meeting all of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for acid-fast bacillus isolation (negative air pressure, > or = 6 air changes per hour, and air directly vented to the outside). The tuberculin skin test conversions among health care workers rose from 246 (0.6%) in 1989 to 547 (0.9%) in 1991. Although the number of Texas hospitals admitting patients with TB increased during 1989 through 1991, many facilities still did not have infection control practices consistent with the 1992 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention TB guidelines.
 
Article
Nosocomial infections (NIs) are a serious patient safety issue. Infection control personnel are responsible for implementing interventions to reduce this risk. The purpose of this systematic review was to audit the published economic evidence of the attributable cost of NIs and interventions conducted by infection control professionals and to evaluate the methods used. Economic evaluation methodology and recommendations for standardization are reviewed. A search of MEDLINE and HealthSTAR with medical subject headings or text words "nosocomial infections," "infection control," or "hospital acquired infections" cross-referenced with "costs," "cost analysis," "economics," or "cost-effectiveness analysis" was conducted. Published review articles were also searched. Inclusion criteria included articles published between 1990 and 2000 that contained an abstract and original cost estimate and were written in English. Results were standardized into a common currency. Fifty-five studies were eligible. Approximately one quarter examined NIs in intensive care patients (n = 13). Most studies were conducted from the hospital perspective (n = 48). The costs attributable to bloodstream (mean = $38,703) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections (mean = $35,367) were the largest. Increased standardization and rigor are needed. Clinicians should partner with economists and policy analysts to expand and improve the economic evidence available to reduce hospital complications such as NI and other adverse patient/staff outcomes.
 
Article
Some articles have suggested that to survive in the 1990s an infection control practitioner (ICP) will have to be "smarter, brighter, or gone"--they assume that new initiatives for hospital peer review (utilization review, risk management, antibiotic use review, and quality assurance) soon will swallow up the ICP and the infection control program. This article questions that assumption. It reviews data supporting the continuing need for hospital infection control programs and presents information suggesting that the need for the ICP will increase rather than decline during the 1990s. Four essential characteristics for infection control programs are listed, and skills that make the ICP a valuable resource for other peer review programs are described. Several ways that the ICP can (and must) bring this information to the attention of other hospital personnel are suggested. Such actions help assure recognition of the continuing important role of the ICP and the hospital infection control program in each U.S. hospital and long-term care institution.
 
Article
Antimicrobial resistance among bacteria is an increasing public health problem. In 1991, New Jersey was the first state to establish statewide, hospital-based surveillance for antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Each month, all 96 nonfederal New Jersey hospital laboratories complete a form listing the species identity and drug susceptibility results for selected antimicrobial-resistant bacteria isolated from blood cultures from hospital inpatients. Penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae and aminoglycoside-resistant gram-negative rods were studied from 1991 to 1995. Vancomycin-resistant enterococci and imipenem-resistant gram-negative rods were studied from 1992 through 1995. From 1992 to 1995, the vancomycin-resistant enterococci bloodstream infection prevalence rate increased from 11 to 29 per 100,000 hospital admissions (p < 0.001); the rate was higher at larger hospitals, urban and inner-city hospitals, and teaching hospitals. From 1991 to 1995, the penicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae bloodstream infection rate increased from 1.1 to 9.9 per 100,000 admissions (p < 0.001). In contrast, bloodstream infection rates did not change significantly for imipenem-resistant (12.5 during 1992 and 14.1 during 1995, p = 0.4) or aminoglycoside-resistant (8.0 during 1991 and 6.8 during 1995, p = 0.4) gram-negative rods. We found that vancomycin-resistant enterococci and penicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae, but neither of two groups of antimicrobial-resistant gram-negative rods, are increasing rapidly in prevalence in New Jersey. Continued monitoring and interventions to slow these increases are needed.
 
Article
The Certification Board of Infection Control directed its Research Subcommittee to compose a Job Analysis Committee in 1991. This 9-member Job Analysis Committee, in collaboration with Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc., conducted a job analysis of ICPs during 1992. The reassessment of the previous Certification Board of Infection Control task analysis, formation of a job-analysis survey tool, and the actual job-analysis process and its results are described in this article. The previous and newly revised test specification outlines are compared. The national Certification Examination for Infection Control for November 1993 will reflect the efforts of this endeavor.
 
Article
A task analysis survey was conducted in 1982 by the Certification Board of Infection Control ( CBIC ) to determine the tasks performed by ICPs and the knowledge and abilities needed to perform these tasks. Data were obtained from 473 (78.8%) respondents to a nationwide mail survey of 600 ICPs . The respondents represent a randomized, stratified sample of ICPs in various types of U.S. acute care hospitals ranging in size from fewer than 50 beds to more than 500 beds. The results of the survey were used, in part, to develop the Infection Control Certification Examination, offered for the first time on November 19, 1983. According to the survey results, the modal or typical ICP is a white woman between the ages of 31 and 50 years using the title of infection control nurse. She has been employed full time for 2 to 10 years in infection control practice in a Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH)--accredited community acute care hospital having 301 to 500 beds. She is working at the supervisory level, is on the nursing department payroll, votes as a member of the hospital's infection control committee, and received her last degree or diploma more than 15 years ago.
 
Top-cited authors
Teresa Horan
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
James M Hughes
  • Emory University
Victor D Rosenthal
  • International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium (INICC)
Jonathan R Edwards
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Robert P Gaynes
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention