Posts tagged: HAIs

The Human Microbiome Project: Which Bacteria Live Normally In Your Body

In a recent post, I discussed the release of a new drug to combat C. diff. In that post, an important theme was the fact that several types of germs can live in the bodies of humans without causing harm—until our bodies are no longer able to keep such germs in check. But exactly which types of germs live normally in the human body? Well, thanks to the dedication of many brilliant scientists, the Human Microbiome Project answers that question, as it has mapped out specifically which microbes live in the normal human body.

One of the project’s main areas of exploration was aimed at learning more about why certain microbes harm some individuals, but not others. In order to learn more about the various microbes, scientists analyzed the DNA of the many different types of germs. This endeavor involved over 200 scientists affiliated with nearly 80 different research institutions. Five years and $173 million dollars later, we now know more about the 10,000+ species of microbes that reside within the average human body, and how they all work together.

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Study Shows That 1 In 3 Healthcare-Associated Infections Go Unreported

In a recent study conducted by the California Public Health Authorities, it was concluded that approximately one-third of the infections that should have been reported under California law were in fact not reported. This study, which was conducted in 2011, reviewed one-hundred hospitals in the state.

Several states have passed laws requiring the mandatory reporting of infection statistics from hospitals and other healthcare facilities. I personally had the honor of testifying at the Rhode Island State House in 2009 on behalf of such a bill, which was eventually made law. Public reporting of healthcare-associated infection statistics from hospitals and other applicable healthcare facilities is important for several reasons, including the fact that such statistics provide the public with tangible evidence that can help public health officials and other professionals better gauge the problem at hand. Yet as this study proves, more progress in this area is still needed in order to curb the unnecessary deaths due to healthcare-associated infections.

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Healthcare-associated Infections Kill 5 Times More People Than AIDS Every Year

It has been over 30 years since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first cases of HIV/AIDS. Since then, so much has been done to learn more about the virus and disease, as well as significant attempts to raise awareness and prevent the transmission of the virus to uninfected individuals. It is estimated that nearly 30 million people have died as a result of HIV/AIDS since the early 1980s. While these needless deaths are truly a tragedy, what is almost more shocking is the fact that in the United States, more people die annually as a result of something many of you may have not heard of: Healthcare-associated Infections.

Healthcare-associated infections include a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that a patient acquires while in any healthcare setting. Common HAIs include central-line associated bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and surgical site infections. Collectively, more than 1.7 million HAIs occur every year, killing more than 99,000 people. AIDS kills 18,000. Read more »

A Silent Epidemic: A Documentary That Could Save Your Life

In August of 2008, I lost my father to a number of healthcare-associated infections including C. diff, MRSA, and pseudomonas. As I began my freshman year at Providence College the following week, I started doing research to learn more about what happened to my dad, and what I learned astonished me. HAIs infect approximately 1.7 million individuals annually in the United States alone, killing nearly 99,000 of those who become infected. I also learned that these infections are largely preventable.

As I learned more about healthcare-associated infections, I knew I had to do something to help bring that information to others. The perfect opportunity arose when I became a film minor, with the hope of eventually making a film to raise awareness. In January of 2012, I contacted Pat Mastors, who I had met the winter after my dad passed away. Pat lost her father in 2007 as a result of C. diff, and has since become a huge advocate for patient safety and awareness, creating the Patient Pod, which is a tool to help keep patients safe in hospitals, nursing homes, and other related environments. She has also been an immense help in the production of this film, as she put me in contact with a number of individuals across the country, and also set up my interview with Dr. David Lowe, an infectious disease specialist who saved the life of one of her close friends. Dr. Lowe’s interview was also immensely helpful, as he explained complicated scientific information in a way that the average person can easily understand.

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Healthcare-Associated Infections: A Silent Epidemic That Took My Father

In July of 2008, my father, Richard G. Croke Jr., went into the hospital for a surgery to remove a piece of his esophagus after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer the previous winter. While the initial chances of survival for this type of cancer were slim, six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments left my dad cancer free. Although the esophagealectomy was an invasive procedure, we were told that the surgery would be the easy part of his journey now that he was cancer free.

The day after his surgery, I went to the hospital to visit him. He was up talking and cracking jokes in his usual manner. Everything seemed fine. Until we received a phone call from the hospital in the middle of the night saying that my dad was extremely ill and might not make it through the night. That was the beginning of the six weeks that changed our lives forever.

Upon entering his ICU room that night, my dad was full of almost 100 pounds of excess fluid, was attached to a number of IVs, and had a ventilator breathing for him. We were told that my dad was in septic shock, which was caused by MRSA entering the bloodstream through the contaminated central line on his foot. He spent six weeks in the hospital, and for a while was getting better until he caught C. diff about a month after the initial bout with sepsis.

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Dr. Cale Street, Vice President of Research, Profiled On CEO Clips

Ondine would like to congratulate Dr. Cale Street for being profiled on national TV via CEO Clips. In this video, Dr. Street touches upon the seriousness of antibiotic resistant superbugs and Ondine’s solution to this growing problem. MRSAidTM is a novel, non-antibiotic system designed to reduce the incidence of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). In the US alone, more than 99,000 people die every year as a result of HAIs.

MRSAidTM is currently being used at Vancouver General Hospital on patients undergoing select surgeries in order to reduce their risk of developing post surgical site infections.  Since MRSAidTM does not generate bacterial resistance, this is a critical milestone in the fight against HAIs and antibiotic resistant superbugs. Click here to watch another video of MRSAidTM and Dr. Cale Street being featured on Canadian national news.

Healthcare-associated Infections: A Preventable Worldwide Problem

Healthcare-associated infections occur when a patient acquires an infection during the course of treatment at, or a visit to, a healthcare facility

Globally, healthcare-associated infections involve millions of people and kill hundreds of thousands of people annually. Available statistics suggest that 8,500 to 12,000 Canadians will die from HAIs every year1, making these infections one of the largest killers in Canada.

Healthcare-associated infections occur when a patient acquires an infection during the course of treatment at, or a visit to, a healthcare facility. It is classified as an HAI once doctors have ruled out that the patient did not enter the healthcare facility with this infection present. The duration of the infection has to be at least 48 hours to be considered an HAI2. In some unfortunate situations where the patient is admitted for less than 48 hours, the infection will not show up until after the patient has been released from the hospital. These HAIs may not be included in the statistics. Read more »

Catheter-Associated UTIs: How Infection Occurs

Urinary tract infections are one of the most common healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in the US, accounting for 30% of all reported cases.  Approximately 75% of these UTIs are associated with the use of urinary catheters1, which are called catheter-associated UTIs. Patients with long term catheterization have been shown to have a higher risk of developing a catheter-associated biofilm infection.

In the US, more than five million hospital and nursing home patients require urinary catheterization every year2. This process is illustrated in the images above. During urinary catheterization, a thin flexible plastic tube is lubricated and inserted into a patient’s urethra. Once the catheter enters the bladder, a small balloon is inflated to hold the tube in place. A urine drainage bag with an emptying spout is connected to the external end of the catheter. This end collects the urine. Read more »

Prevention of catheter-associated UTI is focus of new CDC Guidelines

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a national guideline on the prevention of catheter-associated UTIs. Dr. Carolyn Gould, the primary author of these guidelines, has blogged to bring awareness to this growing group of infections. In her post, she calls catheter-associated UTIs “one of the most common, yet most preventable” types of healthcare-associated infections.

The new CDC guideline for the prevention of catheter-associated UTIs is an updated and expanded version of the original published thirty years ago. Today, urinary tract infections are the #1 most common healthcare-associated infection. They account for 30% of all reported cases of HAIs and are responsible for killing an estimated 13,000 Americans every year2. Read more »

Top healthcare-associated infections: UTI, VAP, SSI

Urinary tract infections, ventilator associated pneumonia and surgical site infections are three of the top HAIs

Healthcare-associated infections cost the US healthcare system a shocking $35-$45 billion each year1. There are many different types of HAIs that contribute to this disturbingly high number. Let’s focus on three of the top HAIs that are demanding immediate public attention:

  1. Urinary tract infections
  2. Ventilator associated pneumonia
  3. Surgical site infections Read more »
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