You aren’t (necessarily) a walking petri dish!


Clinical question: Does exposure to a patient with a multidrug-resistant organism result in colonization of a health care provider?

Background: Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) are growing threats in our hospitals, particularly vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and resistant gram-negative bacteria. The role of the health care team in preventing infection transmission is paramount. If a team member who is caring for a patient with an MDRO or handling lab specimens becomes colonized with these bacteria, he or she could potentially transmit them to the next patient.

Dr. Suchita Shah Sata of Duke University Health System, Durham, N.C.

Dr. Suchita Shah Sata

Study design: Observational case control.

Setting: Large academic research hospital.

Synopsis: Staff submitted self-collected rectal swabs, which were then cultured for MDROs. 379 health care personnel (which they defined as having had self-reported exposure to MDROs) were compared with 376 staff members in the control group, who reported no exposure to MDROs. There was a nonsignificant difference between growth of multidrug-resistant organisms between the groups (4.0% vs 3.2%).

Bottom line: This study suggests that occupational exposure to an MDRO does not result in subsequent colonization of the health care provider and may not be a major risk factor for nosocomial transmission.

Citation: Decker BK et al. Healthcare personnel intestinal colonization with multidrug-resistant organisms. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2017 May 12. pii:S1198-743X(17)30270-7.

Dr. Sata is a medical instructor, Duke University Hospital.

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