Can probiotics prevent pneumonia in patients breathing with the help of ventilators? That's just one question researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis hope to answer as part of innovative new studies to reduce infections in health-care settings.
Their research is funded by a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"Health-care-associated infections are a significant public-health issue, nationally and internationally," says infectious diseases specialist Victoria Fraser, MD, acting chief of the Department of Medicine and principal investigator of the new research. "Working closely with the CDC for many years, we have made dramatic improvements in reducing infections in health-care settings, but significant challenges remain as the population ages and many patients are admitted to hospitals with multiple health problems."
In the United States, about one in 20 hospitalized patients get an infection during the course of their medical treatment, according to the CDC.
Washington University is one of five academic medical centers nationwide awarded a total of $10 million by the CDC as part of the Prevention Epicenter Program to develop and test new approaches for reducing health-care-associated infections. Fraser and her colleagues will work closely with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children's Hospital and other BJC HealthCare hospitals.
"Washington University and BJC have played a long and valuable role in the Prevention Epicenter Program," says John Jernigan, MD, MS, director of CDC office of HealthCare-Associated Infection Prevention Research and Evaluation. "Their program is renowned for its leadership in the field of health-care-associated prevention research, and we look forward to continuing our research partnership together."
The innovative strategies being explored at Washington University and BJC hospitals include:
The other academic medical centers awarded CDC Epicenter grants are Rush University Medical Center, Duke University, Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. Washington University has been part of the CDC's Prevention Epicenter grant program since its inception in 1997.
"Discoveries made by Washington University researchers at BJC hospitals have had a tremendous impact on decreasing health-care-associated infections both locally and nationally," says Clay Dunagan, MD, BJC vice president, Center for Clinical Excellence. "We now have an opportunity to take that knowledge one step further, to develop new ways to prevent and treat these infections in our ongoing efforts to improve the care of patients."
|Contact: Caroline Arbanas|
Washington University School of Medicine