AIMS: In 1936 the Finnish Anti-Tuberculosis Association founded the first nursery, "Joulumerkkikoti", into which infants born into tuberculous families were admitted and given BCG vaccination to reduce the risk of tuberculosis. This prophylactic regimen was effective in reducing infant mortality and morbidity of tuberculosis. We investigated the mortality of these children later in childhood and adulthood. METHODS: The index cohort consisted of 3,020 subjects born between 1945 and 1965 in Finland and isolated from their family immediately after birth. The average separation time was 218 days. The subjects alive on 1 January 1971 were identified. For every index subject two reference subjects were chosen, the matching criteria being sex, year, and place of birth. Data on causes of deaths were obtained from the Finnish Cause of Death Registry by the end of 1998. RESULTS: The relative mortality rate (RR) was higher in the index cohort than in the reference cohort for all causes of death (RR 1.4; 95% CI 1.2-1.7), and particularly for unnatural deaths: RR 1.5 (1.1-1.9) for men and RR 1.9 (1.0-3.7) for women. CONCLUSIONS: The mortality in the index subjects later in childhood and adulthood was somewhat elevated. This may be explained by a variety of risks experienced during pregnancy, delivery, and childhood. The fall in the socioeconomic status of the family of origin due to tuberculosis may partially explain the result. Another interpretation is that the very early separation from the mother had unfavourable effects on later psychological developments in some children.
Early in 1983 an epidemic of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa resistant to aminoglycosides, carbenicillin, ureidopenicillins, ceftazidime, cefsulodin and imipenem occurred in a cystic fibrosis centre. Most of the epidemic could be attributed to a specific nosocomial strain by means of O-grouping and phage-typing. This strain was present in the centre at a low frequency in 1973 and developed resistance during courses of chemotherapy. The epidemic was stopped by isolating patients with the resistant strains. Restrictive and selective use of antibiotics have not been sufficient to eradicate the resistant strains, which persist in 42% of the patients. The extensive use of the third generation cephalosporins in the clinic is probably responsible for inducing and selecting for the resistant strains. Clustering of patients in the centre has facilitated the spread. First-line use of older beta-lactam antibiotics, close bacteriological monitoring and prompt isolation of patients with resistant strains are recommended.
Infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) represent an increasing problem in Norway, also in nursing homes and other institutions for long-term care. We describe an outbreak of MRSA in a nursing home in Oslo 2004-5.
The nursing home has six wards with 185 beds. The building is old, all rooms have toilets and sinks, but showers are shared. Standard screening procedures were carried out according to the national MRSA guide and by using the nursing home's infection control programme. Later on we used more extensive screening of staff and patients.
The outbreak started in a ward for short-term care, but spread to a ward for patients with dementia after some months. Ten patients, seven staff members and two relatives of infected persons were diagnosed with MRSA. All bacteria probably belonged to the same strain. Four staff members and five patients who were infected had pre-existing wounds or eczema. The nursing home was declared free of MRSA 20 months after the outbreak started, but one member of staff remained a carrier for two years, and one patient became a chronic carrier of MRSA. During the first six months, infected patients were restricted to their rooms, and standard eradication procedures were carried out for five days. Later on, we introduced cohort isolation for infected, exposed and recently treated patients, a different screening routine, a prolonged eradication procedure, restrictions on staff working elsewhere and more stringent precautions for visitors.
An old building and insufficient isolation procedures during the first phase of the outbreak contributed to spreading MRSA and prolonging the outbreak. Cohort isolation seemed to be the most important measure to control the outbreak. All nursing homes should have a designated single patient room for contact precautions. Long-term carriers of MRSA in nursing homes represent a big challenge.
We describe the impact of enhanced infection control interventions on controlling the spread of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in our hematology-oncology unit. Between April and September 1998, 13 patients on this unit were identified as having VRE. In addition to contact precautions, other measures that were needed to control the outbreak included closure of the unit to new admissions, creation of a cohort of VRE-positive patients and staff, and thorough cleaning of patients' rooms with 0.5% sodium hypochlorite.
Body substance precautions was the name given to the body substance isolation-based infection control system that was introduced in January 1990 at a Canadian university hospital with 650 acute care beds and 570 long-term care beds. When the body substance precautions system was begun, traditional category-specific isolation was discontinued.
After 2 years, we reviewed the incidence of several types of nosocomial infections and the frequency of isolation of hospital strains of bacteria before and after the introduction of body substance precautions to find out whether this system was as effective as the previous system of infection control.
Most nosocomial infections did not increase. There was another likely cause for the only one that did. For many years, we had isolated patients infected or colonized by hospital bacteria, limiting their spread throughout the institution. Body substance precautions proved equally effective in doing this.
Our results to date therefore indicate that the body substance precautions system was as successful as category-specific isolation used with other standard infection control techniques in maintaining low rates of nosocomial infections and in controlling the dissemination of hospital strains of bacteria in our institution. Body substance precautions provided a satisfactory alternative to universal precautions and traditional isolation categories for the protection of health care workers against the risk of infection by blood-borne viruses.