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Prompt actions halt alarming infection outbreak at Dallas hospital
Date:7/13/2010

Rapid identification and aggressive infection control measures allowed a Dallas hospital to stop the spread of Acinetobacter baumannii, a type of bacteria that has become increasingly prevalent in healthcare facilities and is resistant to most antibiotics. The findings were presented today at the 37th Annual Conference and International Meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Methodist Dallas Medical Center identified an unusual cluster of drug-resistant Acinetobacter during a one-week period in 2009 and conducted an immediate investigation. Through rapid response and comprehensive interventions, the hospital was able to arrest the outbreak in a much shorter time-frame compared with most other reported outbreaks of this bacterium that have been known to last for months or years.

Infection control staff at the 515-bed hospital, in consultation with the Hospital Epidemiologist, Dr. Zakir Shaikh, quickly concluded that the known cases met the criteria for full epidemiological investigation and began an aggressive campaign of surveillance and intervention. All current and incoming patients were tested for Acinetobacter, and in affected units, every patient was put under contact precautionswhere staff is required to don gloves and gowns upon entry to the patient's room, and visitors are encouraged to do the same. The hospital also instituted regular meetings between all of the departments involved with caring for these patients; administrators, physicians, nurses, lab technicians, environmental services and physical plant staff were all consulted to control the outbreak.

"A responsive hospital administration including a CEO who supports our program, close contact with local and state health departments, and collaborative teamwork between departments were responsible for our success," said Beth Wallace, MPH, CIC, infection preventionist at Methodist Dallas Medical Center who presented
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Contact: Liz Garman
egarman@apic.org
202-454-2604
Association for Professionals in Infection Control
Source:Eurekalert

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