Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Communication Is Key to Stopping Spread of VRE Infections

Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Communication Is Key to Stopping Spread of VRE Infections

Article excerpt

Patient sharing among hospitals in one county or region combined with a failure to share infection control information can lead to an increase in cases of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) at all hospitals in that county when one facility experiences a moderate increase in cases.

A sustained increase of 10 percent of VRE cases in one hospital can lead to a nearly 3 percent increase in VRE at every hospital in that county, according to a recent study published by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Enterococci are the second most common organisms recovered from catheter-associated infections, and skin and soft tissue infections in the United States, according to the study. Estimates of cases in U.S. hospitals range from 20,931 to 85,586 infections involving the so-called superbug.

"Our study demonstrates how extensive patient sharing among different hospitals in a single region substantially influences VRE burden in those hospitals," says Bruce Y. Lee, M.D., lead author and associate professor of international health, director of operations research, International Vaccine Access Center, and director of public health and infectious diseases computational and operations research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore.

Lee led a team of researchers from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center at the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of California-Irvine, who created the Regional Healthcare Ecosystem Analyst.

The system tracked the movement of VRE-colonized patients who were carrying the organism, but not necessarily infected, over a one-year period in Orange County, Calif. …

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