Archive for: Infection Control

AORN expects to revise its guideline for operating room headwear

By: May 17th, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

After participating with other healthcare heavy-hitters in February in a task force that met to discuss recommendations for OR attire, specifically ear and hair covering, The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) expects to make changes to its Guideline for Surgical Attire.

Lisa Spruce, DNP, RN, CNS-CP, CNOR, ACNS, ACNP, FAAN, AORN’s director of evidence-based perioperative practice, tells us that AORN will still recommend complete hair coverage in that revised guideline, but “there’s not going to be a recommendation on which head covering.”

As for the coverage of ears, AORN is “probably going to come out in our new guideline and say the ears don’t need to be covered” because the task force feels the research focusing on its necessity has been inconclusive. “However,” she says, “our guideline stands as is until it’s revised.”

It is significant that AORN will be changing its official guideline. While the organization is the world’s largest professional association for perioperative nurses, it has been a tone-setter for issues that affect all healthcare workers who enter the OR. CMS and subsequently The Joint Commission followed AORN’s lead on headwear and has cited healthcare organizations accordingly.

AORN decided to reconsider its stance on headwear after a study led by Troy Markel, MD, assistant professor of surgery at Indiana University, examined the effectiveness of disposable bouffant hats and skull caps as well as newly-laundered cloth skull caps in preventing airborne contamination.

Not only did Markel and his peers observe no significant differences between the disposable bouffant hats and disposable skull caps “with regard to particle or actively sampled microbial contamination,” they also determined that the disposable bouffant hats had greater permeability, penetration, and greater microbial shed compared to both disposable and cloth skull caps.

Therefore, the researchers wrote in conclusion that disposable bouffant hats “should not be considered superior to skull caps in preventing airborne contamination in the operating room.”

The Markel study made the strongest case to date in the contentious debate over OR headwear, which started several years ago when AORN began, depending on who you ask, either promoting the use of bouffant hats among surgical staff or advocating for skull caps to be banned. AORN encouraged full coverage of the ears in the OR, one of the reasons why it favored bouffant hats.

Spruce says the study “just sparked everybody’s interest and opened up this discussion.” AORN and others felt the evidence was enough to revisit the controversy and, according to Spruce, the American College of Surgeons assembled the task force. That group met in February and recently released a joint statement that “covering the ears is not practical for surgeons and anesthesiologists” and also that “available scientific evidence does not demonstrate any association between the type of hat or extent of hair coverage and [surgical site infection] rates.”

Spruce says AORN had already decided “that it was time to revise that guideline” but “it was valuable” to hear the thoughts among that multi-disciplinary group. She adds, “The perioperative setting has always been a team environment and we’ve always promoted that, so we want the teams to come together and agree on issues that are important to patient safety.”

AORN’s Guideline for Surgical Attire will be reviewed by AORN’s advisory board, which includes representatives from organizations that formed the task force and others. That revised guideline will be available for public comment early next year and will be ready for publication in April.

There’s a new Ebola outbreak overseas, so make sure your organization is ready

By: May 10th, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

Ebola is back in the news, which means it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make sure your healthcare organization has a pandemic plan and staff is familiar with it.

At the moment, the only confirmed current cases of Ebola were reported in a remote location in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But the World Health Organization is concerned that the outbreak, which may have been underway for weeks or months, could spread to major cities in that African country — and then who knows from there.

That’s not to say it is likely this outbreak will lead to cases of Ebola in the U.S. But the outbreak here four years ago serves as a reminder to be ready just in case.

In the fall of 2014, a Liberian national who was visiting family in Dallas became the country’s first confirmed case of Ebola after he checked into a hospital with symptoms. He later died. Two nurses caring for the man at the hospital also came down with symptoms but were treated and recovered. Also that fall, a New York doctor who had been in Guinea treating Ebola patients tested positive for the virus and was later cured.

The cases, the first ever in American hospitals, set off a near panic as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new guidelines and videos to help healthcare workers learn better how to work with personal protective equipment and remain poised when dealing with one of the most infectious diseases on the planet.

According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola virus causes “an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated.” The virus is transmitted from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

Ebola is not the only dangerous infectious disease lurking out there, so, as we wrote in our Briefings on Hospital Safety newsletter in 2016, smart, proactive hospital safety pros “are already thinking of ways to get their staff better trained and bolster their hospital’s defenses should the next pandemic come through their doors.”

While that article is a couple of years old now, the expert advice within it still holds up. Give it a read if your healthcare organization doesn’t currently have a pandemic plan in place, or if you want to make sure yours is thorough and complete.

Task force weighs in with conclusions on bouffant hat vs. skull cap debate

By: May 3rd, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

Back in February, a task force that included The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), The Joint Commission (TJC), and others met to discuss recommendations for operating room (OR) attire, specifically ear and hair covering, a topic that continues to be debated by researchers and interested parties.

Earlier this week, the task force jointly released a few collective conclusions.

One conclusion the task force made was that “the requirement for ear coverage,” a selling point for bouffant hats and a sticking point for AORN in its latest guideline for OR attire, “is not supported by sufficient evidence.”

The task force wrote in a joint statement: “Over the past two years, as recommendations were implemented, it became increasingly apparent that in practice, covering the ears is not practical for surgeons and anesthesiologists and in many cases counterproductive to their ability to perform optimally in the OR.”

It also concluded that “available scientific evidence does not demonstrate any association between the type of hat or extent of hair coverage and [surgical site infection] rates.” To back up that conclusion, the task force referenced this recent study on head coverings that identified the disposable bouffant hat, not the skull cap hat, as “the least effective barrier to transmission of particles.”

The joint statement added that “in reassessing the strength of the evidence for this narrowly defined recommendation,” the task force concluded that “evidence-based recommendations on surgical attire developed for perioperative policies and procedures are best created collaboratively, with a multi-disciplinary team representing surgery, anesthesia, nursing, and infection prevention.”

AORN — which a year ago sought to publicly clarify its stance on skull cap hats, saying they were fine as long as they confined all hair and completely covered the ears, scalp skin, sideburns, and nape of the neck — released a separate statement in addition to the joint statement.

It said that AORN’s Guideline for Surgical Attire will be reviewed by the AORN Guideline Advisory Board comprised of representatives from the task force, as well as the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).

“AORN welcomed the opportunity to reach consensus on the new evidence,” said Lisa Spruce, DNP, RN, CNS-CP, CNOR, ACNS, ACNP, FAAN, director of evidence-based perioperative practice for AORN. “AORN guidelines are developed following an extensive review of all literature and the resulting recommendations are based on the quality of the studies. We are pleased that surgical attire is continuing to be evaluated and AORN will reflect the latest evidence in the revised guideline.”

AORN said its revised guideline will be available for public comment from January 2, 2019 through February 22, 2019 and ready for publication in April 2019.

In addition to AORN and TJC, the task force that met to discuss recommendations for OR attire included the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST), the American College of Surgeons (ACS), and the Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety (CSPS).

In the joint statement, the task force also said “other issues regarding areas of surgical attire need further evaluation,” so more conclusions could be on the way.

New study found that 71% of reusable scopes tested positive for bacteria

By: April 25th, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

Infection control (IC) issues with endoscopes aren’t limited to duodenoscopes.

In a study published last month in the American Journal of Infection Control, researchers found that 71% of reusable medical scopes that were deemed ready for use on patients tested positive for bacteria at three U.S. hospitals. The study found problems in scopes used for routine operations such as colonoscopies and kidney stone removal.

IC issues related to endoscopes have been frequently linked to inadequate reprocessing. This study “evaluated the effectiveness of endoscope drying and storage methods and accessed associations between retained moisture and contamination” through visual examinations and tests, wrote the authors.

They found that reprocessing and drying practices were substandard at two of the three hospitals they studied last year, and damaged endoscopes were used at all three. Fluid was detected in 22 of 45 endoscopes (49%) and microbial growth was found in 32 (71%). Bacteria discovered on the scopes included Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Citrobacter freundii, and Lecanicillium lecanii/Verticillium dahliae.

The authors said that the complex design of most endoscopes makes them difficult to clean, which can be compounded when healthcare workers, rushing to reprocess the scopes for the next patient, are not following reprocessing protocols.

These results are pretty scary,” Janet Haas, president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, told Kaiser Health News. “These are very complicated pieces of equipment, and even when hospitals do everything right, we still have a risk associated with these devices. None of us have the answer right now.”

The study’s authors, led by Minnesota-based epidemiologist Cori Ofstead, concluded that “more effective methods of endoscope reprocessing, drying, and maintenance are needed to prevent the retention of fluid, organic material, and bioburden that could cause patient illness or injury.”

Their findings reinforced that duodenoscopes aren’t the only concern, though those have rightfully been scrutinized after being tied to at least 35 deaths in the U.S. since 2013. They are still being eyed by the FDA, which was also criticized for not alerting the public to the threat until after a 17-month investigation.

Don’t let your facility be the next statistic and ensure your organization complies with requirements set by The Joint Commission and CMS. Check out this 90-minute HCPro webinar led by infection control experts Peggy Prinz Luebbert, MS, (MT)ASCP, CIC, CHSP, CBSPD, and Terry Micheels, MSN, RN, CIC, who discussed the critical steps of high-level disinfection that must be met each and every day.

Three proposed tweaks to ASHRAE’s ventilation standard open for comment

By: April 6th, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is now accepting public comment on a trio of proposed changes to ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2017, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities.

Addendum o to Standard 170-2017 is scheduled for public comment until May 7. This “voluntary risk-based approach” to establish “operational ventilation rates for spaces” calls for infection control and prevention professionals to segregate infected persons to both protect them and prevent them from putting others at risk.

Addendum p to Standard 170-2017, also scheduled for public comment until May 7, would update Table 7.1 by, amongst other things, moving requirements for Residential Health, Care, and Support spaces to a new table in a different addendum; relocating and updating filtration requirements; and also revising the “space name terminology, table organization, and subheadings to better correlate with” 2014 FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities.

Addendum q to Standard 170-2017, scheduled for comment until April 22, would change the scope of the standard by including “resident” to differentiate from “patient” in residential health applications and by clarifying that the standard addresses more than outside air quantities and that it does not establish “comprehensive thermal comfort design requirements,” which are addressed in Standard 55.

This is just a summary of the proposed changes. To access these public review drafts, see a full rundown, and comment, visit ASHRAE’s online database.

CDC calls for ‘aggressive approach’ after ‘nightmare bacteria’ found in many states

By: April 5th, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sounded the alarm this week after it found that “nightmare bacteria” capable of resisting most antibiotics have popped up across the country. But officials also expressed optimism that “an aggressive approach can snuff them out” before those germs become widespread.

That new Vital Signs report released by CDC this week said that U.S. health departments found 221 cases of germs with “unusual antibiotic resistance genes” during 2017. Those germs include those that cannot be killed by all or most antibiotics, are not common to a geographic area or the U.S., or have specific genes that enable them to spread their resistance to other germs, according to a CDC release.

“The bottom line is that resistance genes with the capacity to turn regular germs into nightmare bacteria have been introduced into many states,” Anne Schuchat, MD, CDC’s principal deputy director, said Tuesday during a conference call with media. “But with an aggressive response, we have been able to stomp them out promptly and stop their spread between people, between facilities and between other germs.”

Antibiotic-resistant germs kill more than 23,000 Americans each year and approximately 2 million Americans are sickened by antibiotic-resistant germs annually. “As fast as we have run to slow resistance, some germs have outpaced us,” said Schuchat. “We have had some success, but it just isn’t enough to turn the tide. We need to do more and we need to do it faster and earlier with each new antibiotic resistance threat.”

The CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Lab worked with local health departments to deploy a containment strategy to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance. The first step is rapid identification of new or rare threats; after a germ with unusual resistance is detected, healthcare facilities must quickly isolate patients and begin aggressive infection control and screening actions, according to the CDC release.

“CDC’s study found several dangerous pathogens, hiding in plain sight, that can cause infections that are difficult or impossible to treat,” stated Schuchat. “It’s reassuring to see that state and local experts, using our containment strategy, identified and stopped these resistant bacteria before they had the opportunity to spread.”

After rapid identification of antibiotic resistance, the CDC’s strategy calls for infection control assessments, testing patients without symptoms who may carry and spread the germ, and continued assessments until the spread is stopped. It requires coordinated response among healthcare facilities, labs, health departments, and the CDC through the Antibiotic Resistance Lab network.

The CDC study also found that 11% of screening tests of patients without symptoms found a hard-to-treat germ that spreads easily, which means that the germ could have spread undetected in that facility. For carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), the report estimates that the containment strategy would prevent as many as 1,600 new infections in three years in a single state — a 76% reduction.

While the CDC tried to put a positive spin on the findings of this Vital Signs report, some experts remain concerned about the rise of antibiotic-resistant germs.

“This isn’t an acute crisis where a wave just hits you,” Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, told Liz Szabo of Kaiser Health News. “But we see these rare cases of resistance in remote areas of the world, and within a year or two, it’s everywhere.”

Joint Commission shares 2017 standards compliance data for healthcare facilities

By: March 27th, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

The Joint Commission (TJC) has released its lists, each based on the type of facility surveyed, of the requirements most frequently scored as “not compliant” during accreditation surveys and certification reviews during the 2017 calendar year.

The list of requirements scored as “not compliant” during 1,443 hospital surveys:

  1. LS.02.01.35: Systems for extinguishing fires are provided and its systems/devices are appropriately installed and maintained. (86%)
  2. EC.02.05.01: Utility systems are well designed, inventoried, monitored, and managed according to written procedures when disruptions in the utility system occur. (73%)
  3. LS.02.01.30: Building features are maintained which prevent the spread and fueling of fire and smoke. (72%)
  4. IC.02.02.01: Infection prevention and control activities are performed relative to the cleaning, storing, and disposing of medical equipment/devices. (72%)
  5. EC.02.06.01: Physical environment (e.g., lighting, temperature, ventilation, equipment, furnishings, space, etc.) is safe and functional. (70%)
  6. LS.02.01.10: Effects of fire, smoke, and heat are mitigated through the design and maintenance of building and fire protection features. (66%)
  7. EC.02.02.01: Risks related to hazardous materials and hazardous waste are managed as described in written policy. (63%)
  8. LS.02.01.20: Means of egress are maintained. (62%)
  9. EC.02.05.05: Testing and regular inspections of utilities are done. (62%)
  10. EC.02.05.09: Medical gas and vacuum systems are labeled, tested, inspected, and maintained. (59%)

The list of requirements scored as “not compliant” during 104 surveys of office-based surgery practices:

  1. IC.02.02.01: Infection prevention and control activities are performed relative to the cleaning, storing, and disposing of medical equipment/devices. (63%)
  2. HR.02.01.03: Individuals permitted by law and the organization to practice independently are granted by the practice initial, renewed, or updated clinical privileges. (61%)
  3. EC.02.04.03: Testing and regular inspections of medical equipment are done. (37%)
  4. MM.03.01.01: The hospital’s medications are stored in a manner which maintains their integrity, minimizes their diversion, reduces dispensing error, and promotes availability while following manufacturer guidelines, laws, and regulations. (34%)
  5. IC.02.01.01: Implementation of the written infection surveillance, prevention, and control plan is implemented by the hospital. (27%)
  6. NPSG.03.04.01: Medications, medication containers, and other solutions removed from their original container and placed into a container, both on and off the sterile field, are labeled as consistent with safe medication practices. (24%)
  7. HR.01.06.01: The organization has a competency assessment process in place. (23%)
  8. EC.02.05.07: Emergency power systems are tested, inspected, and maintained as required by the Life Safety Code®. (22%)
  9. WT.04.01.01: Quality control checks are performed as defined in the quality control plan for waived testing. (20%)
  10. MM.01.01.03: High-alert and hazardous medications defined by the hospital are safely managed. (18%)

Study: Antibiotic-resistant infections cost U.S. hospitals $2.2 billion annually

By: March 26th, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

Editor’s note: A version of this blog post first appeared on the website for BLR’s Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare magazine.

A new study found that in addition to being a deadly killer of patients, and in some cases afflicting healthcare workers, antibiotic-resistant infections cost U.S. hospitals more than $2 billion each year. The study was conducted by researchers from Emory University and Saint Louis University and published in Health Affairs last week.

The researchers cite a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that antibiotic-resistant infections kill 23,000 Americans annually. The study used data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to estimate incremental healthcare costs of treating these infections, which the researchers say is the first national estimate of the price tag for this treatment.

The study found that antibiotic resistance adds $1,383 to the cost of treating a patient with a bacterial infection. Taking the estimated number of these infections in 2014, the researchers say the national cost of treatment is $2.2 billion annually.

The findings point to “the need for innovative new infection prevention programs, antibiotics, and vaccines to prevent and treat antibiotic-resistant infections,” the researchers wrote.

New HHS fact sheet gives guidance for handling long-term patient surge

By: February 27th, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

One of the deadliest flu seasons in recent memory has prompted the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to release a fact sheet that gives guidance on handling an influx of patients flocking to healthcare facilities for treatment of the flu and other seasonal illnesses.

While the latest briefing from the CDC suggests that this flu season has peaked, the fact sheet provides useful information healthcare facility emergency planners should consider when developing plans to deal with a similar surge of sick patients in the future. Note that this fact sheet states “these considerations are different than those of planning to handle surge from a no-notice, short duration event” like the recent mass shootings in Orlando, Las Vegas, and Parkland, Florida.

The HHS fact sheet states that “all hospitals must have an emergency operations plan” to deal with a long-term surge. Among the strategies it recommends are expanding normal clinic hours to limit the number of clinic patients coming to the ED, rescheduling elective procedures to free up beds, and setting up “surge sites” such as tents or mobile units located next to the ED.

It also recommends preventive steps that could minimize the surge during a severe flu season, including the use of telehealth, telephone prescribing, virtual information, community paramedicine programs, and risk communications and creating media campaigns encouraging vaccinations, handwashing, and other infection control practices.

The HHS fact sheet states that “there is little an individual hospital or health system can do to prevent patient surge from seasonal illness, but a region or healthcare coalition, in partnership with public health, can use coordinated strategies to help provide situational awareness to support patient surge management throughout the community.”

To download the fact sheet from the HHS website, click right here.

Pentax duodenoscopes voluntarily recalled for design and labeling updates

By: February 7th, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

The FDA announced today that it has cleared the updated design and labeling for Pentax ED-3490TK duodenoscopes and that the scopes will be recalled so the manufacturer can make design changes meant to reduce leakage of patient fluids — thus limiting the spread of infection — and update product operations manuals.

In 2015, the FDA issued a safety warning against Pentax and two other duodenoscope companies. The warning stated that a design flaw prevented the scopes, which are designed to be used on multiple patients, from being cleaned properly, creating an infection risk. Duodenoscopes are flexible, lighted tubes that threaded through the mouth, throat and stomach into the top of the small intestine (duodenum).

A subsequent Senate investigation revealed that dirty scopes were the direct cause of 25 infection outbreaks, sickening dozens of patients and leading to the death to at least 21 people. The FDA bore some of the blame for deciding to not alert the public to the threat until after its 17-month investigation into the matter.

After the manufacturers revised their reprocessing instructions, the FDA in 2016 deemed the duodenoscopes safe for healthcare facilities to use again.

The FDA stated in today’s news release that since then it has been working with the manufacturers to “modify and validate their reprocessing instructions to further enhance the safety margin of their devices,” and “show with a high degree of assurance that their reprocessing instructions, when followed correctly, effectively clean and disinfect the duodenoscopes.”

Specifically, the FDA asked that Pentax reduce the potential for leakage of patient fluids into ED-3490TK’s closed elevator channel and under the distal cap.

Now that Pentax has done this, the FDA recommends that facilities acknowledge their Urgent Medical Device Correction and Removal notification disclaimer icon and identify affected products, return the field correction response form, and indicate if they do not have any affected duodenoscopes or operations manuals, and remove and dispose of older operations manuals once the new ones are received.

For more information on today’s news, check out the FDA’s official release here.

High-reliability healthcare, ‘preoccupation with failure’ and a valuable workshop

By: February 1st, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

Gary L. Sculli, MSN, ATP, brings a unique perspective to safety in healthcare. In addition to being a registered nurse for more than three decades, he has served as an officer in the United States Air Force Nurse Corps and for many years worked as a pilot for a major U.S. airline.

Three years ago, Sculli shared some of his experiences and many of the insights gained during a diverse career in an HCPro book, “Building a High-Reliability Organization: A Toolkit for Success,” which was coauthored by Douglas E. Paull, MD, MS, FACS, FCCP, CHSE. Below is a book excerpt from a chapter on failure, in which the authors urged healthcare leaders, in the pursuit of high reliability, to embrace the concept of “preoccupation with failure.”

At the core, much of patient safety is dealing with uncertainties and unexpected events, the cardiac arrest being a prime example. In moments like these, not only do organizations rely on the technical expertise of staff and best practice guidelines, but also benefit from teams that are flexible, can adapt, and in essence, are resilient. Organizations themselves must be resilient to deal effectively with the changing face of healthcare.

Let’s examine a disaster from forest firefighting history—the Mann Gulch Fire in 1949. Young firefighters parachuted into Mann Gulch, near Helena, Montana, to combat what they believed was a rather routine forest fire. They were led by foreman Wag Dodge. But when the fire jumped from the south to the north side of the gulch, the firefighters were trapped and isolated from their escape route to the Missouri River. There were two possible routes for survival; either join Wag Dodge in his newly devised “circle of fire” or run to the top of the north ridge. This was the first time the circle of fire had been utilized during forest firefighting. Essentially, Dodge lit the grasslands on fire depriving the oncoming fire of any fuel to spread, thus protecting anyone within the circle. Whether due to a lack of trust, leadership, or communication, none of the other firefighters joined Dodge within the circle, despite his efforts to encourage them to do so. In addition, the young firefighters would not drop their heavy backpacks, slowing their ascent to the top of the north ridge. Thirteen firefighters died with their backpacks on and within sight of safety in the circle of fire or beyond the ridge. Dodge survived because he was able to pivot and adjust to rapidly changing and unexpected conditions.   

Several authors have discussed resilience, flexibility, innovation, and adaptability as attributes of successful organizations, including those in healthcare. Healthcare organizations must be able to learn from their mistakes. They must be able to face reality, “drop their old tools,” and accept the fact that the landscape can and will change suddenly and that unexpected events will occur. They must also accept that the best solutions to navigate the unexpected may be found in high-reliability industries. When viewed in this manner, leaders are not afraid to actively demand, even when faced with obstacles, such things as perpetual team training, mass standardization, briefings and handoffs, situational awareness support, just culture, staffing increases, and other patient safety initiatives. Leaders model open-mindedness and embrace innovation when unforeseen or novel situations arise. They talk with and listen to staff at the frontline when it comes to identifying and solving systemic challenges and failures. In many ways, current healthcare leaders are in a position similar to Wag Dodge. They must be resilient, prepared to build a circle of fire, and change course in order to solve unexpected and complex problems.

This spring, Sculli is again partnering with HCPro to give healthcare leaders the needed tools and guidance to create a culture of high reliability and safety within their organizations.

On April 16, Sculli will lead an intensive one-day workshop at Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld® in Orlando, Florida. For more information on this upcoming HCPro workshop — which targets healthcare safety professionals, CEOs, COOs, VPMAs, risk managers, and quality/performance improvement professionals — please check out the event page at hcmarketplace.com.

WHO: Antibiotic resistance a ‘serious situation’ worldwide

By: January 29th, 2018 Email This Post Print This Post

While releasing surveillance data from 40 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday declared antibiotic resistance a “serious situation” in both high- and low-income countries.

In a press release, WHO said the data, collected as part of its new Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System, “revealed widespread occurrence of antibiotic resistance among 500,000 people with suspected bacterial infections across 22 countries.” Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Salmonella spp were the most commonly reported resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance has led to the increase in healthcare-associated infections in recent years.

According to WHO, 25 high-income, 20 middle-income and seven low-income countries are enrolled in its Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System. Forty of those countries shared data about their national surveillance systems for this report, the release said.

“The report confirms the serious situation of antibiotic resistance worldwide,” said Dr. Marc Sprenger, director of WHO’s Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat, in the release. “Some of the world’s most common — and potentially most dangerous — infections are proving drug-resistant. And most worrying of all, pathogens don’t respect national borders. That’s why WHO is encouraging all countries to set up good surveillance systems for detecting drug resistance that can provide data to this global system.”

WHO is encouraging other countries to establish antimicrobial resistance surveillance systems that “produce reliable, meaningful data,” and pointed to “solid” drug resistance surveillance programs already helping to battle tuberculosis, HIV and malaria.

“The report is a vital first step towards improving our understanding of the extent of antimicrobial resistance,” stated Dr. Carmem Pessoa-Silva, who coordinates the new surveillance system at WHO. “Surveillance is in its infancy, but it is vital to develop it if we are to anticipate and tackle one of the biggest threats to global public health.”

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