SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Study suggests one VRE infection can spread throughout county hospitals

A recent study found that vancomycin-resistant enterococci in one hospital can increase the total cases of VRE 2.8 percent throughout that county, leading officials to recommend preventative programs.

The study was published in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Control. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, University of California, Irvine and the University of Pittsburgh conducted the study.

The researchers collaborated to mathematically track a VRE infection from hospital to hospital over a 12-month period in Orange County, California. The study highlights a deficiency in hospital intercommunication and collaboration to keep infections under control.

"Our study demonstrates how extensive patient sharing among different hospitals in a single region substantially influences VRE burden in those hospitals," Lead study author, Associate Professor of International Health and Director of Operations Research, International Vaccine Access Center, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Bruce Y. Lee said. "Lowering barriers to cooperation and collaboration among hospitals, for example, developing regional control programs, coordinating VRE control campaigns, and performing regional research studies, could favorably influence regional VRE prevalence."

VRE can generally live inside a human host in the gastrointestinal tract or in the female genital tract without any adverse effects. It can, however, cause infections in the urinary tract and open wounds from catheters or surgical operations or in the bloodstream. There are an estimated 20-85,000 cases of VRE annually in U.S. hospitals.