CMM Weekly News Recap-October 11, 2019
Infection outbreaks were in the news this week, with facility and health officials scrambling to contain pathogens that sickened building occupants.
A waterborne bacteria which causes pseudomonas infections sickened eight premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of a Pennsylvania hospital, resulting in three fatalities. Hospital officials closed the NICU to premature infants and began extensive measures to eliminate the infection, such as ensuring optimal chlorination in water lines, conducting routine tap water cultures, and increasing the deep cleaning of the NICU.
Another waterborne bacteria, legionella, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, closed down a North Carolina event center that was the site of a state fair. The outbreak resulted in 116 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, with one death and 80 hospitalizations. Officials determined that a hot tub display was probably to blame for the outbreak. Event center staff worked to minimize water aerosolization opportunities that could spread the disease.
In some good news on the pathogen front, researchers found that frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces and adherence to hand hygiene practices can lead to the containment of an emerging pathogen posing a threat to health care facilities. This emerging pathogen—Candida auris—is a species of fungus first described in 2009 that can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections. Patients who have been hospitalized for a long time and/or have a central venous catheter or other lines or tubes entering their body appear to be at highest risk of infection with this pathogen.
To help hospital staff concerned with Candida auris and other health care-acquired infections, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has created a new draft of an Antimicrobial Performance Evaluation Program (APEP) strategy to test the effectiveness of disinfectants used in hospitals. Before the draft strategy is finalized, the EPA is seeking public input through December 2, 2019. After considering these comments, the EPA will revise the APEP strategy as appropriate.
Learn more about infection control by reading through CMM’s articles on the best ways to eliminate harmful pathogens from heath care, school and commercial facilities, as well as residential buildings. In the meantime, have a good weekend and join us again on Monday for more news.