Posts tagged: antibiotic resistance

What’s Up Doc: Why are only half of you complying with hospital hand hygiene rules?

“The critical thing that all of us as healthcare providers can do is clean our hands between patient contact: and that is the number one, two, and three action to keep our patient safe,” said Dr. John Embil, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre, in an interview (beginning at the 12:54 mark) at a recent conference on infection control at the HSC.

Patient safety is a live issue because hospital-associated infections (HAIs) are the most common serious complication of hospitalization in Canada, affecting 10% of all patients in acute-care hospitals and are the fourth leading cause of death. And crucially, the contaminated hands of healthcare workers are the most common vehicles of transmission in most settings. In other words, HAIs are preventable.

The solution is literally at our fingertips: just wash your hands. As simple as that seems, the data is telling us that not only is that not happening, it’s also telling us that doctors, of all people – the leaders and role models in the hospital environment – are the biggest offenders.

The hospitals themselves are reporting low hand washing compliance rates of about 65% for nurses and less than 50% for doctors. For example, the Vancouver Island Health Authority reported physician compliance rates as low as 18%.  Yet some people say even those numbers are too high because they are gathered at a time when staff are told they are being monitored. Thus, they argue, the true rate is anywhere between 10 and 30%, with anecdotal evidence suggesting – stunningly – that doctors never wash their hands, outside of surgery.

Physician non-compliance so concerns the medical community that it will be the focus of an upcoming Canadian study that was announced this past February: i.e. why aren’t physicians washing their hands and what can be done about it? In a literature review conduct by the researches in advance of their own investigations they have identified several reasons specific to doctors: namely, physicians reported not ‘remembering to perform hand hygiene;’ ‘high workload or feeling too rushed;’ educational gaps in infection control training among physicians; a perception among physicians that their compliance is much better than it actually is; the development of a more cavalier attitude towards infection control as clinical experience increases, with an associated drop in compliance rates; and the lack of positive role models among physicians who are part of a healthcare team.

Healthcare worker hand hygiene as defined by Dr. Embil above is a hospital Required Organizational Practice, what Accreditation Canada considers an evidence-based best practice that mitigates risk and contributes to improving the quality and safety of health services.

So what’s up doc? If you aren’t getting something  as simple as the hand washing thing right, should patients and their families be asking what else you might not be getting right?

Why New Innovations In Infection Control Are Important To Our Future

Recently, a report from CTV’s medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip highlighted our innovative technology being used at Vancouver General Hospital. After a year long project, the use of MRSAid nasal decolonization and chlorhexidine body wipes before surgery demonstrated a significant reduction in the number of patients contracting surgical site infections.

We are counting on public support to encourage early adoption of this important infection prevention technology in our healthcare facilities. Lives and better patient outcomes are at stake as so many of our current antibiotics have become less effective against a growing number of superbugs. Everyone now knows of someone who has died of an infection; this was not the case when I was growing up.

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Which Country Leads The World In Infection Surveillance?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that healthcare-associated infections cost the United States approximately $45 billion and claim the lives of thousands of patients annually. Surveillance of infections have become an enormous challenge for the healthcare systems across the world, and have become increasingly problematic due to antibiotic resistance. So which country is leading the world in this area?

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Antibiotic Awareness Week: Stepping up to the Challenge of Antibiotic Resistance

Imagine a world where antibiotics are no longer effective and where even the simplest of illnesses, such as strep throat or a urinary tract infection, can lead to permanent disability, or even death.  Now imagine the effect this may have on your family or loved ones—watching an elderly parent die from pneumonia, or a child losing a limb from an antibiotic resistant infection.  Whether we like it or not, our lives have become intimately connected with the fate of antibiotics.  Chances are we’ve all been treated at some point or other—for childhood illnesses, such as ear infections or strep—or even for something as small as a complicated scrape.  Chances are we’ve also taken antibiotics for granted.  Unfortunately, antibiotic resistance is quickly catching up to even the strongest antibiotics in our arsenal—potentially limiting their future use and effectiveness.

This is the primary focus of Antibiotic Awareness Week (Nov. 12 – 18): a campaign meant to educate various groups on the dangers of antibiotic resistance and warn of inappropriate use.  Sponsored by antibioticawareness.ca, and backed by an international coalition of healthcare and disease control organizations, the event features international meetings, webinars for health professionals, fact sheets, and downloadable awareness posters. Read more »

MRSA On The Rise Among Children

Hospitalized children colonized with MRSA have a very real risk for invasive infections, both while in the hospital and once they leave, so mitigating this risk is a serious priority – Dr. Aaron Milstone

The antibiotic resistant bacteria known as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is on the rise and children are at high risk for contracting skin infections that could develop into life threatening cases.  In a 2007 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was shown that 95,000 people had developed serious MRSA infections and that nearly 19,000 died. The rate of hospitalization among children due to skin infections has more than doubled since 2000.  Hospitalized children who carry MRSA and yet show no signs of ill health are indeed still at risk for developing full-blown MRSA infections.

A study conducted between 2007 and 2010 at John Hopkins Children’s Centre found that children carrying MRSA were six times more likely to develop serious infections after they were discharged in comparison with their non-carrier counterparts, and eight times more likely to develop invasive MRSA infections while still in the hospital. The study also found that children that had been prescribed four courses of antibiotics prior to being treated were 18 times more likely to be diagnosed with MRSA than children that had not been prescribed antibiotics. These statistics suggest that the misuse and overuse of antibiotics are placing children at higher risk of developing serious MRSA infections. Read more »

Running the MRSA Vanguard with Vancomycin

In today’s world, a higher degree of exchange is taking place between places through commerce and travel, and contact with new strains of bacteria is now becoming commonplace. Even more disconcerting is certain bacteria have begun to develop resistance to last line treatments such as Vancomycin.

Most people have never heard of Vancomycin and they are lucky. In a recent survey, three out of four doctors considered Vancomycin as the leading treatment for MRSA infections[1]. Vancomycin doesn’t allow common types of bacteria to latch onto the cells in your body and because of this, many of the bacteria will die. The treatment for MRSA is one of six “indications” for which Vancomycin is restricted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is because the more an antibiotic is used, the more resistant bacteria can develop. As a result, we should restrict usage to the most serious indications and limit antibiotic resistance. Read more »

Dr. Cale Street Profiled On National TV Via CEO Clips

MRSAidTM would like to congratulate Dr. Cale Street on being profiled on CEO Clips where he discusses the severity of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) and future plans for MRSAidTM.  Dr. Street touches upon the seriousness of superbugs that are becoming resistant to antibiotics and subsequently resulting in difficult to treat HAIs.

MRSAidTM is currently being used at Vancouver General Hospital for patients undergoing select surgeries in order to reduce the risk of developing post-surgical site infections.  Since MRSAidTM does not generate bacterial resistance, this is a milestone in the fight against HAIs and antibiotic resistant superbugs. Watch the video below:

Over 100 Million Doses Of Antibiotics Are Administered Every Year

More than 80 years ago, Alexander Fleming, a bacteriologist, theorized that antibacterial would be found in his own nasal mucus.  During his experiment, a spore of a variant called Penicillium notatum accidentally contaminated his culture plate of Staphylococcus bacteria. This mold released a substance that inhibited the growth of the bacteria, leading to the breakthrough discovery of penicillin which triggered the beginning of a worldwide medical revolution.

Antibiotics, such as penicillin, have greatly reduced illness and death from infections. Today, 130 million doses of antibiotics are administered every year, and up to half of these have been deemed as unnecessary.  One of the main reasons for this occurs when antibiotics are prescribed for viral rather than bacterial infections. As a result, bacterium such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) have “learned” to develop resistance against common antibiotics and have begun to cause severe infections that are expensive to

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The 5 Minute Simulator that Could Save Your Life

The US Department of Health and Human Services has created an interactive training video simulation that lets you participate in life-changing infection control decisions. In a program called Partnering To Heal:Teaming Up Against Healthcare-Associated Infections, the video educates viewers on how to prevent some of the most serious healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), such as surgical site infections, from occurring in hospitals.

There are five character options in the simulation-a doctor, a nurse, an infection preventionist, a family member or a third-year medical student. You are completely in control of each person and every decision that you make will change the patient’s life forever.  The dramatic and sometimes shocking outcomes allow you to peel back the curtain of medical care to better grasp the impact of your decisions and how they can affect your patient’s health.

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MRSA In The News – Now Being Found In Milk

Another instance of MRSA is happening again, but this time scientists in the UK have found a strain of MRSA in cow’s milk. It was found during a study on udder infection mastitis in dairy herds. It has since caused a small number of serious blood infections and other minor infections in people. There is no clear link to how people are becoming infected with this strain of MRSA, but the study suggests that this is likely a result of being in contact with infected cattle or people that work with animals.

Dr. Mark Holmes, who led the study, stated that milk from infected cows was safe to drink because the bug, along with other bacteria, was killed by pasteurisation. This is good news since more than 99% of milk consumed in the UK is pasteurised.

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