NewsEffectiveness of infection prevention measures in healthcare facilities proven

Effectiveness of infection prevention measures in healthcare facilities proven

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A recent study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases has investigated the effectiveness of infection prevention (IP) measures in safeguarding healthcare workers (HCWs) and patients from contracting severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The research, utilizing large-scale viral genomic and social network analyses, aimed to assess the adequacy of IP protocols during the pandemic.

Despite widespread SARS-CoV-2 transmission and challenges in personal protective equipment (PPE) availability, the study found a decrease in COVID-19 incidence among HCWs. The lack of specialized research on the efficiency of infection control methods, including PPE and air exchange, has led to uncertainties regarding their efficacy.

The cross-sectional, retrospective study conducted from November 2020 to January 2022 utilized an electronic contact record (ECR) algorithm and IP protocols during three COVID-19 waves. The research focused on identifying and mitigating SARS-CoV-2 transmission in healthcare settings.

Key Findings:

Genetic Analysis and Social Network Assessment: The study involved high-grade whole-genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 from 12,933 individuals, with a focus on electronic health records (EHRs) for social network assessments. The Omicron-infected population was older and had a higher vaccination rate.

ECR Algorithm Effectiveness: The ECR algorithm identified 291 contact pairs among 7,821 sequences. Thirty-four pairs had genomically associated viral sequences, indicating potential transmission. The remaining 257 pairs were inconsistent with SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

Transmission Events: Most transmission events occurred between HCWs or in shared patient rooms at older hospitals. No healthcare-associated transmissions were identified among individuals with the infection.

Transmission Rates: The study observed an increase in HCWs contracting SARS-CoV-2 in December 2021 and January 2022. Transmission rates per 1,000 admissions were higher at the Hillcrest campus compared to the La Jolla campus.

Impact of Shared Rooms: Individuals placed in shared rooms during their stay, especially in older hospitals, showed a higher likelihood of transmission events. No transmissions were noted from exposures in open COVID-19 patient rooms or non-negative pressure-type rooms.

ICU Admissions: No SARS-CoV-2 transmission to healthcare workers was identified from individuals admitted to intensive care units due to COVID-19.

Conclusions:

The study suggests that IP strategies effectively prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission in healthcare settings. The findings support the implementation of multipronged, scalable infection control protocols to control the spread of the virus. The research contributes valuable insights for healthcare systems in managing infections during the ongoing pandemic.

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