The objective of this paper was to develop an agent-based modeling framework in order to simulate the spread of influenza virus infection on a layout based on a representative hospital emergency department in Winnipeg, Canada. In doing so, the study complements mathematical modeling techniques for disease spread, as well as modeling applications focused on the spread of antibiotic-resistant nosocomial infections in hospitals. Twenty different emergency department scenarios were simulated, with further simulation of four infection control strategies. The agent-based modeling approach represents systems modeling, in which the emergency department was modeled as a collection of agents (patients and healthcare workers) and their individual characteristics, behaviors, and interactions. The framework was coded in C++ using Qt4 libraries running under the Linux operating system. A simple ordinary least squares (OLS) regression was used to analyze the data, in which the percentage of patients that became infected in one day within the simulation was the dependent variable. The results suggest that within the given instance context, patient-oriented infection control policies (alternate treatment streams, masking symptomatic patients) tend to have a larger effect than policies that target healthcare workers. The agent-based modeling framework is a flexible tool that can be made to reflect any given environment; it is also a decision support tool for practitioners and policymakers to assess the relative impact of infection control strategies. The framework illuminates scenarios worthy of further investigation, as well as counterintuitive findings.
During the last decades, healthcare-associated genotypes of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (HA-MRSE) have been established as important opportunistic pathogens. However, data on potential reservoirs on HA-MRSE is limited. The aim of the present study was to investigate the dynamics and to which extent HA-MRSE genotypes colonize patients, healthcare workers (HCWs) and the environment in an intensive care unit (ICU).
Over 12 months in 2006-2007, swab samples were obtained from patients admitted directly from the community to the ICU and patients transferred from a referral hospital, as well as from HCWs, and the ICU environment. Patients were sampled every third day during hospitalization. Antibiotic susceptibility testing was performed according to EUCAST guidelines. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing were used to determine the genetic relatedness of a subset of MRSE isolates.
We identified 620 MRSE isolates from 570 cultures obtained from 37 HCWs, 14 patients, and 14 environmental surfaces in the ICU. HA-MRSE genotypes were identified at admission in only one of the nine patients admitted directly from the community, of which the majority subsequently were colonized by HA-MRSE genotypes within 3 days during hospitalization. Almost all (89%) of HCWs were nasal carriers of HA-MRSE genotypes. Similarly, a significant proportion of patients transferred from the referral hospital and fomites in the ICU were widely colonized with HA-MRSE genotypes.
Patients transferred from a referral hospital, HCWs, and the hospital environment serve as important reservoirs for HA-MRSE. These observations highlight the need for implementation of effective infection prevention and control measures aiming at reducing HA-MRSE transmission in the healthcare setting.
Four hepatitis C virus transmission chains at three dialysis units were disclosed by limited sequencing; three of these were disclosed by analysis of the NS5-B region of the genome. Dialysis on the same shift as that during which infected patients were dialyzed was the common factor for seven patients in two chains. Two nurses exposed to needle sticks and their sources of infection constituted two other chains. The strains of three chains belonged to subtype 1a and formed clusters with an intrachain variability of 0 to 6 nucleotides compared to 8 to 37 nucleotides for unrelated strains within this subtype. The clusters were supported by bootstrap values ranging from 89 to 100%.
A total of 533 throat and nasopharyngeal cultures were obtained from 328 staff who nursed cases of diphtheria and carriers of Corynebacterium diphtheriae; none yielded C. diphtheriae. Only one out of 189 environmental samples relating to 22 patients and carriers was positive. In addition, one carrier with chronic skin disease was found to have widespread colonization with C. diphtheriae. Several samples both from his hospital room and home yielded C. diphtheriae, indicating that he was a 'disperser.'
Although an increasing number of medical devices are labeled "for single use only," cleaning and reuse of single-use medical devices continues, because of the economic incentive. We conducted a survey of the economic literature to obtain the current evidence available and to assess the costs and benefits of reusing single-use medical devices.
A comprehensive literature search was carried out to identify articles that compared single use and reuse of single-use medical devices and that met specific scientific criteria, including evaluation of economic outcomes. Each selected article was independently reviewed by 2 reviewers to extract cost and clinical outcome data and to assess the quality of the study.
Nine published articles met the selection criteria. The savings were about 49% of the direct cost. These savings would be offset by adverse-event costs, but none were detected. However, quality of the studies was generally poor.
There is little available evidence of quality in the published literature to assess the practice of reuse of single-use medical devices. Moreover, data on clinical outcomes are missing and, where available, cannot be attributed specifically to the reuse of single-use medical devices.