The Key to Controlling HAIs: Focus on the Environment and New Technologies
Many heath care-associated pathogens are a result of environment, according to a paper about controlling Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs), Stephanie J. Dancer, of the Department of Microbiology at Hairmyres Hospital, Scotland, United Kingdom. Dangerous pathogens are spread inadvertently by staff and patients within a hospital setting. They can contaminate surfaces for several days and spread to other patients or staff members. “Recent studies suggest that the risk of acquiring VRE, MRSA Acinetobacter spp., Pseudomonas spp., or C. difficile is increased if a new admission is placed in a room previously occupied with one of these pathogens,” according to the paper. In an investigation that followed a sudden increase in patient acquiring Acinetobacter in a pediatric burn unit, it was discovered that frequently touched clinical equipment were an “outbreak reservoir.” The outbreak took place soon after computers were installed at the bedside of each patient. When the rooms were cleaned, it was discovered that pathogens were present on many surfaces throughout the rooms, including the plastic keyboard covers.