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Eradication of a large outbreak of a single strain of vanB vancomycin‐resistant Enterococcus faecium at a major Australian teaching hospital

Christiansen, K.J., Tibbett, Pa.A., Beresford, W., Pearman, J.W., Lee, R.C., Coombs, G.W., Kay, I.D., O’Brien, F.G., Palladino, S., Douglas, C.R., Montgomery, P.D., Orrell, T., Peterson, A.M., Kosaras, F.P., Flexman, J.P., Heath, C.H. and McCullough, C.A. (2004) Eradication of a large outbreak of a single strain of vanB vancomycin‐resistant Enterococcus faecium at a major Australian teaching hospital. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, 25 (5). pp. 384-390.

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Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/502410
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate that nosocomial transmission of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) can be terminated and endemicity prevented despite widespread dissemination of an epidemic strain in a large tertiary-care referral hospital. INTERVENTIONS: Two months after the index case was detected in the intensive care unit, 68 patients became either infected or colonized with an epidemic strain of vanB vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium despite standard infection control procedures. The following additional interventions were then introduced to control the outbreak: (1) formation of a VRE executive group; (2) rapid laboratory identification (30 to 48 hours) using culture and polymerase chain reaction detection of vanA and vanB resistance genes; (3) mass screening of all hospitalized patients with isolation of carriers and cohorting of contacts; (4) environmental screening and increased cleaning; (5) electronic flagging of medical records of contacts; and (6) antibiotic restrictions (third-generation cephalosporins and vancomycin). RESULTS: A total of 19,658 patient and 24,396 environmental swabs were processed between July and December 2001. One hundred sixty-nine patients in 23 wards were colonized with a single strain of vanB vancomycin-resistant E. faecium. Introducing additional control measures rapidly brought the out-break under control. Hospital-wide screening found 39 previously unidentified colonized patients, with only 7 more nonsegregated patients being detected in the next 2 months. The outbreak was terminated within 3 months at a cost of $2.7 million (Australian dollars). CONCLUSION: Despite widespread dissemination of VRE in a large acute care facility, eradication was achievable by a well-resourced, coordinated, multifaceted approach and was in accordance with good clinical governance.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/32112
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