Blog | Friday, June 14, 2013

"Nightmare" on Hospital Street

Not sure how we missed last week's JAMA medical news piece featuring our very own co-blogger Dan Diekema, MD, FACP, but I suspect we might have been distracted by something pretty terrible. The article highlights the rise of carbepenem (CRE) and third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Klebsiella pneumonia strains originally described in ICHE by Braykov et al. The CDC's Arjun Srinivasan emphasized that these strains are almost exclusively hospital-associated and now is the time for hospitals to implement the latest CRE recommendations from the CDC 2012 toolkit.

Dr. Diekema "emphasized the importance of infection control basics such as ensuring a high rate of hand hygiene adherence among staff and making sure that surfaces and equipment are properly disinfected" and said, "If you don't shore up those things, screening [for CRE] isn't going to help."

I'll just paste in my favorite section: "An additional problem is the piecemeal approach to tracking these infections. Only six states require facilities to report CRE cases. "We need a more coordinated response," Dr. Diekema said. He explained that the CDC is doing as much as it can with the resources it has, but underfunding of public health at the national and state levels makes it difficult to mount a more coordinated national effort to contain the spread of these infections. More research is also needed on the best strategies for environmental disinfection, ensuring adherence to hand hygiene and other measures that would prevent the spread of health care–acquired infections."

CRE isn't just a nightmare, it's a recurring nightmare. And just like the nine Nightmare on Elm Street films, it'll get worse over time, especially if we continue with the current "piecemeal approach" prevention plan.

Eli N. Perencevich, MD, ACP Member, is an infectious disease physician and epidemiologist in Iowa City, Iowa, who studies methods to halt the spread of resistant bacteria in our hospitals (including novel ways to get everyone to wash their hands). This post originally appeared at the blog Controversies in Hospital Infection Prevention.