Infection Control & First Aid Blog

Breakdowns in Communication Lead to Outbreaks

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/18/17 9:00 AM / by Morgan Bedford posted in Infection Control, Healthcare-associated infections

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Communication failures between healthcare facilities can lead to infection outbreaks. A two-year research study conducted by OSU/OHSU College of Pharmacy, the Oregon Health Authority, and other collaborators suggests that statement is true. Researchers focused on an opportunistic pathogen associated primarily with infections among patients who have compromised immune systems and are in health care facilities known as Acinetobacter baumannii. The pathogen is extensively drug-resistant and can contain many antibiotic resistance genes that can be transmitted to other organisms. Multiple sites in the Pacific Northwest were studied, where “scientists identified 21 cases, including 16 isolates, of Acinetobacter baumannii that contained a rare gene responsible for resistance to the carbapenem class of antibiotics.”

Among the studied facilities, patients’ transfer history and isolates’ genetic profiles showed how the pathogen spread from facility to facility. Surprisingly, a lack of inter-facility communication aided the spread of the pathogen. “The findings support a recent Oregon law requiring written notification from the discharging facility to the receiving facility anytime a patient carrying a multidrug-resistant organism, or other infection requiring transmission precautions, is transferred.”

Jon Furuno, co-author of the study and associate professor in the College of Pharmacy explains, “it just makes sense that you would want to alert a receiving facility if patients have a specific drug-resistant organism. The discharging facility needs to include that information with the discharge summary or somewhere on the chart, and the receiving facility needs to know where to look for it.” Furthermore, lead author and pediatric infectious disease specialist, Genevieve Buser comments, “An entire chain of transmission can be prevented if staff at a receiving facility know about a patient’s multidrug-resistant organism status. This outbreak might not have been identified if not for a new, limited, voluntary surveillance system in Oregon and an astute infection preventionist.”

Reporting of an Acinetobacter baumannii infection is not required by most public health jurisdictions in the United States, and clinical laboratories generally do not test for an organism’s underlying genetic resistance mechanisms. Though, proper communication can ensure appropriate contact precautions are taken.

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Occupational Exposure- Healthy Lung Month (October)

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/11/17 8:45 AM / by Jill Tilton posted in Healthy Lung Month

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We all know how important it is to maintain a clean, healthy, and compliant work environment, so in support of National Healthy Lung Month (HLM), we are going to focus on workplace air quality. Occupational exposure to common and potentially hazardous airborne debris or bacterial contaminants can have a big impact on an employee's immediate and long term health. Varying based on the occupation, prolonged exposure to toxic air can be hazardous to laborers in both high and low concentrations. Common industrial gases and toxic dusts can cause damage to the lungs, resulting in serious conditions, cancers, and even death. So to help those most at risk, we are sharing common air pollutants based on specific occupations.

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Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes Have Scary Potential

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/9/17 8:45 AM / by Morgan Bedford posted in Disease

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According to a new CDC report published in the Journal of Medical Entomology on September 21, 2017, more than 75 percent of the United States is at risk of an outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases.

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Improving Operating Room Efficiency

[fa icon="calendar'] 10/4/17 8:45 AM / by Morgan Bedford posted in Operating Room Efficiency

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Out of all hospital operations, operating rooms are one of the most costly areas. However, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint the true cost of OR operations. According to research from Stanford University School of Medicine, hospital administrators often ballpark $15-$20 per minute for a basic surgical procedure.

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Hepatitis A Outbreak: San Diego

[fa icon="calendar'] 9/25/17 8:45 AM / by Morgan Bedford posted in Infection Control, Hepatitis A

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Each year, approximately 30,000 to 50,000 cases of Hepatitis A occur in the United States. Since late 2016, San Diego has been attempting to combat an outbreak of this disease. Hepatitis A is spreading like wildfire, primarily affecting the homeless population and heavy drug users in the San Diego area. On September 1, the county declared the outbreak a public health emergency. According to the San Diego Health & Human Services Agency, as of Sept. 5, 2017, the outbreak has infected 398 people, caused 279 hospitalizations, and 15 deaths. “Once Hep A is transmitted in a community like this, its kind of hard to stop.”

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Do You Feel Comfortable Discussing Hand Hygiene?

[fa icon="calendar'] 9/11/17 8:30 AM / by Jill Tilton posted in Hand Hygiene

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Sometimes when you bring up concerns of hygiene, it may be taken as a criticism. This feeling can be the same amongst coworkers, family members, and everyone alike. If your hospital, care facility, or even your industry stays away from discussing hygiene issues - you could be letting the germs get a free pass.

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What is the Difference Between Pandemic Flu and Seasonal Flu?

[fa icon="calendar'] 8/28/17 8:45 AM / by Jill Tilton posted in Influenza Season, Flu Prevention

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We know and accept that germs are spread each and every place that we go. Those germs that cause the flu are even more apparent from October to May. There is however a difference year after year in how many people are affected by the virus. 

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How Can I Stay Healthy If I Don’t Get The Flu Shot?

[fa icon="calendar'] 8/22/17 8:00 AM / by Jill Tilton posted in Influenza Season, Cold and Flu

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Although most doctors recommend that everyone must get the flu vaccination, that is not always the case. In a study completed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 40% of people in the United States get the flu shot. Even if someone doesn’t get the vaccine every year, there are plenty of other ways to protect yourself from catching the virus.

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Fungal Disease Awareness Week

[fa icon="calendar'] 8/16/17 8:30 AM / by Jill Tilton posted in Disinfectant

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August 14–18, 2017, is the first Fungal Disease Awareness Week. CDC and partners have organized this week to highlight the importance of recognizing serious fungal diseases early enough in the course of a patient’s illness to provide life-saving treatment.

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Who Is Considered High Risk During Flu Season?

[fa icon="calendar'] 8/14/17 8:30 AM / by Jordan Weinstein posted in Influenza Season, Flu Prevention, Cold and Flu

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Each year, flu season hits and it seems like everyone is getting sick at some point or another. While the general public gets mostly mild symptoms of illness and recovers quickly, others are not so lucky. For people 65 or above and children younger than 5 with weak immune defenses, they are at more of a risk for developing serious problems in combination with influenza. Some examples of these issues would be Pneumonia, Bronchitis, and both sinus and ear infections.

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