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Affirmation Center
One Main Street
Hartford, CT 06106

Phone: (860) 727-8703
Fax: (860) 548-2045

Cole Center
2550 Main Steet
Hartford, CT 06120

Phone: (860) 548-0101
Fax: (860) 524-7781

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Can Tracking Germs in One Hospital Make All Hospitals Safer?

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: May 24th 2017

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, May 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- One hospital's germ history may help doctors curb infections in all hospitals, researchers report.

Scientists analyzed more than 10,000 samples collected over 12 months from surfaces, air and water in the University of Chicago's new hospital, the Center for Care and Discovery. Samples were also taken from 252 patients. The samples were collected for two months before the hospital opened in February 2013, and for 10 months after the opening.

Germ DNA was detected in 6,523 of the samples.

But the makeup of those germs changed drastically once there were humans in the building.

"Before it opened, the hospital had a relatively low diversity of bacteria," said study author Jack Gilbert, director of the Microbiome Center at the University of Chicago. "But as soon as it was populated with patients, doctors and nurses, the bacteria from their skin took over."

Another interesting finding was that germ movement reversed quickly in hospital rooms.

On a patient's first day in the hospital, germs tended to move from surfaces in the room to the patient. But after that, most germs moved from the patient to the room, the investigators found.

"Within 24 hours, the patient's microbiome [germ makeup] takes over the hospital [room] space," Gilbert said.

And the longer a patient was in the room, the more drug-resistant dangerous germs became, the findings showed.

Samples from the rooms of 92 patients who had longer hospital stays showed bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis managed to acquire genes that could boost antibiotic resistance and promote host infection.

"This requires further study, but if it proves to be true, then these genetic changes could affect the bacteria's ability to invade tissue or to escape standard treatments," Gilbert noted.

The researchers believe these findings could help other hospitals battle the spread of infections among patients.

"The Hospital Microbiome Project is the single biggest microbiome analysis of a hospital performed, and one of the largest microbiome studies ever," explained Gilbert, who is also group leader in microbial ecology at Argonne National Laboratory.

"We've created a detailed map, highly relevant to clinical practice, of microbial exchange and interaction in a large hospital environment," he said in a university news release.

"This describes the ecology of a building, a thriving microbial ecosystem that regularly interacts with patients in a seemingly benign way -- at least most people don't appear to be negatively affected. It gives us a framework, something we can build on, showing how microorganisms enter and colonize a hospital environment," Gilbert noted.

The study was published May 24 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

More information

The National Patient Safety Foundation has more on preventing infections in the hospital.




To quit smoking, call Connecticut QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  Please contact HBH's Intake Department at 860-548-0101 x354.

 

Affirmation Center
One Main Street

Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: (860) 727-8703
Fax: (860) 548-2045
Mon & Tu: 8:30 - 7:00
Wed, Th, Fri, Sat: 8:30 - 4:30

Cole Center
2550 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06120
Phone: (860) 548-0101
Fax: (860) 524-7781
Mon, Tu, & Fri: 8:30 - 4:30
Wed & Thu: 8:30 - 7:00

Our offices are closed from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM for lunch.

 

CRISIS HOTLINE:

Children (under 18),
please call 211.

Adults, please call our mobile
crisis unit at 860-297-0999

For an immediate crisis call 911.


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