Hospital uses whole genome sequencing to aid in infection control
A recent study found that conducting whole genome sequencing can quickly isolate a specific strain of an outbreak-causing bacteria and speed identification of the contamination source, thereby aiding in infection control and prevention.

The study was published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, a journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Researchers at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia, investigated an outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in infants. The researchers collected nasal swabs and found 18 infants were colonized with the bacteria. They also swabbed common areas such as sink stations.

Real-time DNA sequencing of the samples revealed that all babies except one were colonized by a specific strain of P. aeruginosa, ST253, and that two samples from different sinks contained the same strain. Infection control personnel were able to take measures to ensure no other babies became sick from the bacteria.

The study’s lead researcher, Rebecca Davis, M.D., stated in a press release that “Whole genome sequencing gave us the ability to see that all but one of the babies were infected by the same strain of P. aeruginosa, something that would not have been recognized otherwise. When trying to stem infection, the ability to exclude a patient from the outbreak is just as important as the recognition of the outbreak itself. Additionally, the thorough information provided about factors of each strain, like antibiotic resistance mutations if present, and the quick processing time make it a superior tool in infection control.” 

Also this week:

ASHE offers guidance on new CMS process for equivalency requests
The American Society of Healthcare Engineering released a brief on best practices for hospitals when submitting equivalencies to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services(CMS). CMS requires that any deviation from adopted codes include an assessment of hardship and assurance that the deviation does not diminish patient safety.

Joint Commission leader urges more action in infection prevention
At the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation 2015 Conference & Expo George Mills, director of the Department of Engineering at the Joint Commission, spoke to health care technology management professionals, encouraging them to play a greater role in stemming preventable health care-associated infections. He also highlighted the importance of proper endoscope reprocessing and the need for collaboration in forming best practices for sterilization.

AMA supports new study on violence prevention
The American Medical Association (AMA) passed a policy this week to support a new study on methods to prevent workplace violence in health facilities. The AMA cites a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine that says more than 150 shootings have occurred in health facilities over the past decade. “It’s clear that we need to explore more ways to curb the incidence of violence against America’s health care providers,” AMA Board Chair Stephen R. Permut, M.D., states.

Study emphasizes hand hygiene’s role in infection prevention
The Leapfrog Group released a report stating that 23 percent of hospitals it surveyed have not implemented all of the practices and policies it recommends for proper hand hygiene. However, the percentage of hospitals meeting all of Leapfrog’s hand-hygiene best practices increased from 69 percent in 2013 to 77 percent in 2014.

ASHE addresses fire safety issue
Following an isolated fire incident at New York Methodist Hospital that originated in a trash chute, ASHE offered guidance on what facility professionals can do to prevent this type of occurrence. The group points to an NFPA standard and lists best practices that health facilities should follow to prevent fire incidents as well as ways to minimize their impact should one occur.

CDC updates MERS guidance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its interim guidance for health care professionals regarding Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. The guidance has updates on who should be evaluated for MERS-CoV and includes best practices on reporting, laboratory testing and infection control.