Extending the Cure director Ramanan Laxminarayan weighs in on the landscape of hospital infection control in a recent commentary for PNAS.  The commentary is in response to a study by Ke et al that shows how increasing patient sharing leads to decreased heterogeneity of MRSA strains among medical facilities.

This is an abbreviated version of CDDEP's weekly digest of public health news, focusing on antibiotic resistance research in the United States.

A few weeks ago, CDDEP Associate Director Hellen Gelband wrote about a new study on “forgotten" antibiotics – drugs that have been approved but are no longer in common use.

Another study documenting the costs and mortality associated with healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), this time with trauma patients. 

The article from the Archives of Surgery looks at the impact of sepsis, pneumonia, Staphylococcus infections, and C. difficile-associated disease (CDAD) on mortality, length of stay, and inpatient costs.  Here are some of the findings:

Last week we examined the increased emphasis on pay-for-performance mechanisms under the new Affordable Care Act, including the ties between pay-for-performance and reporting of outcomes measures.

A recent study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology found that the ICD-9-CM codes for urinary tract infections (UTIs) are unable to successfully identify hospital-acquired catheter-associated UTIs.

Media Round-Up

Time Magazine (and other media outlets) wrote this week about taking weight into account when prescribing medications. A study released this week finds that, though it is not common practice, weight absolutely should be a factor in antibiotic prescription.  We have written about this on this blog as well.

Media Round-Up

This week, Dutch researchers released a study finding that MRSA is often spread by patients moving from one hospital to another.  They determined that more stringent screening processes can significantly limit the spread of the antibiotic-resistant disease.  The New York Times put together

Yesterday, the Blog of the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) posted a video interview with ETC Director Ramanan Laxminarayan.

 The following is a guest post from Jo of Head Nurse, who calls it "a simple guide to antibiotic resistance for the liberal arts major."

Source: meg_nicol/Flickr

Are surgical masks effective enough to prevent those infected with the flu from transmitting it to others? Do the masks provide wearers with sufficient protection against infection?

Source: pfala

The current recession has been one of the worst economic slumps in recent memory, and hospitals have been not been immune from the slump. Like many businesses today, hospitals have been cutting fixed costs as deeply as they can, and one of the casualties of this cost cutting is infection control, says a recent study from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Here's another one to add to the tally of drawbacks of life-saving antibiotics: according to a recent article in the American Journal of Infection Control, the burden of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) in US health settings is significantly higher than previously estimated. "Thirteen in every 1,000 inpatients has C. diff -- 20 times more than previous estimates" (see attached image for variance in prevelence by state).

Would hospitals with relatively poor infection control practices benefit from knowing that their operations might be subject to inspection at any time? Washington state seems to think so and will begin conducting surprise inspections at Washington hospitals at least once every 18 months to check on compliance with infection control standards and other patient safety guidelines.

We're in Atlanta this weekend, where Extending the Cure and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Get Smart for Healthcare campaign are hosting a meeting on inpatient antimicrobial use.

The goal is optimizing antibiotic use in health care facilities so that susceptible bugs don't become resistant.