Tag Archives: Hospital Infectious Disease Practices

Health Services Center in Winnipeg study: Hospital privacy curtains may harbor dangerous germs

30 Sep

Nursing School Hub.com reported in Top 10 Most Common Diseases Found in Hospitals:

1. Norovirus
Noroviruses are generally called “the flu” by many patients, most of whom believe that the symptoms of the resulting gastroenteritis are somehow linked to influenza itself. Norovirus infections typically result in diarrhea, vomiting, and the long-lasting feeling of an upset stomach. Though these symptoms are exceedingly unpleasant, and may last for several days at a time, healthcare professionals cannot treat them with antibiotic drugs. Patients, therefore, are advised to make sure that they attempt to eat meals at regular intervals, and they’re advised to stay hydrated so that the body does not suffer through the effects of dehydration after a few days of symptoms.
2. Mycobacterium abscessus
One of the most serious sources of hospital acquired infections is mycobacterium abscessus. This bacterium is generally known to be the cause of such serious illnesses as leprosy and tuberculosis, and it can be found in any number of compounds. The bacteria have been known to exist in soil, dust, or water, and it has even been known to infect medications and to reside on medical equipment. This represents a very serious concern in today’s busiest medical environments, and many hospitals have procedures in place specifically to prevent against the spread of this bacteria and the potential infection of new patients who come to the hospital with other ailments.
If infection from this bacteria does result, patients are most likely to notice irritable infections of the skin and soft tissues, though a slight minority may actually experience lung infections that can be quite serious and severe. Medical treatment is almost always required for a full and quick recovery from any kind of mycobacterium abscessus infection.
3. Klebsiella
Another very serious source of hospital acquired infections is the bacteria known as Klebsiella. This gram-negative bacteria almost always infects patients after a visit to the hospital, as it seems to be particularly at home on medical equipment in patient treatment areas. Infection by this bacteria can result in a number of serious ailments, including an infection of the bloodstream, infection of any open wounds or surgical sites, or the onset of a very serious form of pneumonia. Treatment is generally quick and straightforward, although some antimicrobial strains of the bacteria have required added research and more serious forms of treatment in a small minority of today’s patients.
4. Influenza
Without a doubt, one of the most common and persistent types of viral infection is influenza. The disease comes and goes with varying degrees of potency every year but most medical professionals estimate that between 5 percent and 20 percent of the American population is infected each year. Influenza is also responsible for annual hospitalization of as many as 200,000 Americans. Typically, those hospitalized by the disease are those at the extreme young or old ends of the spectrum, though it’s not entirely unheard of for healthy, young adult sufferers to experience complications. This community-based virus is easy to contract, especially when cases have been cited near the hospital’s location during the height of what is known as “flu season.”
5. Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an infection that results from a common form of bacteria more widely called just Pseudomonas. The infection is quite common in medical settings, though it targets a specific group of people. In almost every case, a bout of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is found in those patients who are already experiencing vastly weakened or suppressed immune systems as a result of a larger medical condition during their stay in a medical environment or long-term care facility. Treatment of this bacterial infection is generally pursed through the prescription of high dosage antibiotics, and the problem generally eases within 24 to 48 hours of first treatment.
6. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Abbreviated as MRSA, this staph bacteria has evolved over time to become immune to many of the most popular antibacterial drugs. Indeed, MRSA can often not be treated with either penicillin or amoxicillin, with most patients requiring higher doses of more nontraditional antibiotics in order to defeat the condition. It often manifests itself in the form of a skin infection in most patients, and should be treated by a medical professional as soon as any signs or symptoms have been noticed by the patient. Staph bacteria does represent one of the most aggressive bacterial threats to the human body.
7. Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci
VRE is so named because this bacterial infection is resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. Infections of this nature are most common in medical settings, especially when a patient is admitted to the hospital for long-term care and nursing. Most sufferers experience symptoms that affect the intestines, which can result in a case of upset stomach, minor vomiting, or even occasional diarrhea. The good news for those suffering from this bacterial infection, though, is that treatment is rather quick and easy with alternative antibiotics in heavier doses.
8. Tuberculosis (TB)
Most often, the transmission of tuberculosis in medical and nursing environments is done on a patient-to-patient basis. Typically, this is because one patient with the disease is simply not isolated from the rest of the hospital’s population. In other cases, it’s because the patient simply was not aware that they suffered from TB at the time of their admission to the facility. Most forms of TB can be treated and minimized, though particularly aggressive strains of the disease have shown a great deal of resistance to antibiotics that are typically used to treat the condition.
9. Vancomycin-intermediate or Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Known in the medical community as either VISA or VRSA, these two diseases are actually quite common among those patients who have medical equipment attached to their body on a long-term or permanent basis. Those with kidney problems are particularly predisposed to infection, as are those patients who commonly use a catheter tube before, during, or after some kind of serious surgery.
The two forms of staphylococcus are so named because they are moderately or entirely resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. Treatment can be conducted using other antibiotic drugs, however, and most patients are able to recover from this infection when it is caught early, treated effectively, and prevented on a proactive basis going forward. Unlike viral infections, however, bacterial infections can occur again at any time. For this reason, increased vigilance is urged of those who are connected to medical devices that penetrate the skin, enter the body, and assist with daily functions like kidney function, urination, and many others.
10. Staphylococcus aureus
In what might be the least invasive and least concerning disease commonly found in hospitals, Staphylococcus aureus is actually present in just under one third of the entire population. The condition is associated with negative effects on the skin, as it is typically a skin infection. The side effects of the disease most often manifest themselves in small, pimple-like growths that ebb and flow over the course of the infection. Treatment with antibiotics is effective in virtually every case, and this less severe form of staphylococcus can be eradicated in just a few days after treatment has commenced.
Plenty of Threats: A Bacterial or Viral Infection is All Too Common
The very nature of today’s hospitals means that patients are exposed more than ever to the potential for both viral and bacterial infections, placing their health at risk in at least ten ways during every visit. The good news is that virtually every common infection or disease transmitted at today’s hospitals can be treated with either extended vigilance or a robust dose of antibiotics. In fact, many of these diseases are considered relatively minor in the grand scheme of hospital infections and the diseases treated at today’s medical centers….. https://www.nursingschoolhub.com/most-common-diseases-found-in-hospitals/

An Elsevier reported study said hospital surfaces may harbor dangerous germs.

Science Daily reported in Hospital privacy curtains may harbor dangerous germs:

Without timely intervention, privacy curtains in hospitals can become breeding grounds for resistant bacteria, posing a threat to patient safety, according to new research published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
The longitudinal, prospective, pilot study tracked the contamination rate of ten freshly laundered privacy curtains in the Regional Burns/Plastics Unit of the Health Services Center in Winnipeg, Canada. While the curtains had minimal contamination when they were first hung, the curtains that were hung in patient rooms became increasingly contaminated over time — and by day 14, 87.5 percent of the curtains tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a pathogen associated with significant morbidity and mortality. In contrast, control curtains that were not placed in patient rooms stayed clean the entire 21 days.
None of the rooms where the curtains were placed were occupied by patients with MRSA. Four curtains were placed in a four-bed room; four were placed in two double rooms; and two controls were placed in areas without direct patient or caregiver contact. Researchers took samples from areas where people hold curtains, suggesting that the increasing contamination resulted from direct contact….
By day 21, almost all curtains exceeded 2.5 CFU/cm, the requirement for food processing equipment cleanliness in some locations, such as the United Kingdom….
The study authors acknowledge the small sample size of this pilot study and recommend additional research to understand the clinical consequences of contaminated curtains. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180927215701.htm

Citation:

Hospital privacy curtains may harbor dangerous germs
Date: September 27, 2018
Source: Elsevier
Summary:
Without timely intervention, privacy curtains in hospitals can become breeding grounds for resistant bacteria, posing a threat to patient safety, according to new research.
Journal Reference:
Kevin Shek, Rakesh Patidar, Zeenib Kohja, Song Liu, Justin P. Gawaziuk, Monika Gawthrop, Ayush Kumar, Sarvesh Logsetty. Rate of contamination of hospital privacy curtains in a burns/plastic ward: A longitudinal study. American Journal of Infection Control, 2018; 46 (9): 1019 DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2018.03.004

Here is the press release:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 27-SEP-2018 Hospital privacy curtains may harbor dangerous germs: New study
ELSEVIER
Arlington, Va., September 27, 2018 – Without timely intervention, privacy curtains in hospitals can become breeding grounds for resistant bacteria, posing a threat to patient safety, according to new research published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
The longitudinal, prospective, pilot study tracked the contamination rate of ten freshly laundered privacy curtains in the Regional Burns/Plastics Unit of the Health Services Center in Winnipeg, Canada. While the curtains had minimal contamination when they were first hung, the curtains that were hung in patient rooms became increasingly contaminated over time – and by day 14, 87.5 percent of the curtains tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a pathogen associated with significant morbidity and mortality. In contrast, control curtains that were not placed in patient rooms stayed clean the entire 21 days.
None of the rooms where the curtains were placed were occupied by patients with MRSA. Four curtains were placed in a four-bed room; four were placed in two double rooms; and two controls were placed in areas without direct patient or caregiver contact. Researchers took samples from areas where people hold curtains, suggesting that the increasing contamination resulted from direct contact.
“We know that privacy curtains pose a high risk for cross-contamination because they are frequently touched but infrequently changed,” said Kevin Shek, BSc, the study’s lead author in the article. “The high rate of contamination that we saw by the fourteenth day may represent an opportune time to intervene, either by cleaning or replacing the curtains.”
By day 21, almost all curtains exceeded 2.5 CFU/cm, the requirement for food processing equipment cleanliness in some locations, such as the United Kingdom.
“Keeping the patient’s environment clean is a critical component in preventing healthcare-associated infections,” said 2018 APIC President Janet Haas, PhD, RN, CIC, FSHEA, FAPIC. “Because privacy curtains could be a mode of disease transmission, maintaining a schedule of regular cleaning offers another potential way to protect patients from harm while they are in our care.”
The study authors acknowledge the small sample size of this pilot study and recommend additional research to understand the clinical consequences of contaminated curtains.
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Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Patients have little information to guide them in their choice of hospitals regarding infection practices of hospital.

Reuters reported in ‘Superbug’ scourge spreads as U.S. fails to track rising human toll:

Fifteen years after the U.S. declared drug-resistant infections to be a grave threat, the crisis is only worsening, a Reuters investigation finds, as government agencies remain unwilling or unable to impose reporting requirements on a healthcare industry that often hides the problem…. https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-uncounted-surveillance/

Patients are on their own when asking about a particular hospital’s superbug and infectious control practices.

Resources:

Hospital Cleaning Best Practices: How to Keep Patients and Staff Safe https://www.kaivac.com/a_433-Hospital-Cleaning-Best-Practices-How-to-Keep-Patients-and-Staff-Safe

The most dangerous germs in the hospital may be those you bring with you http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/most-dangerous-germs-hospital-may-be-those-you-bring-you

How gloves & gowns can spread germs in hospitals http://www.healthcarebusinesstech.com/germs-gloves-gowns/

10 Ways to Stave Off Hospital Superbugs and Other Nasty Germs https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/10-ways-protect-yourself-superbugs/

Germs https://drwilda.com/tag/germs/
http://www.webmd.com/children/features/childhood-illnesses-get-the-facts

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