An observational study conducted in a French hospital showed that human contact was responsible for 90 percent of the spread of one species of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to new patients, but less than 60 percent of the spread of a different species. These findings suggest hand hygiene is a key, but more methods are needed to fight multidrug-resistant infection. Audrey Duval of the Versailles Saint Quentin University and the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, and colleagues present these results in PLOS Computational Biology.
People treated in hospitals and other health care settings are increasingly at risk of infection with multidrug-resistant bacteria. Many of these microbes produce enzymes called extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs), which make them resistant to antibiotics. Understanding how ESBL bacteria spread from person to person is key to developing effective prevention strategies.
In the new study, Duval and colleagues distributed wearable sensors to hundreds of patients and health care workers in a French hospital. Equipped with RFID tags, the sensors allowed the researchers to track patterns of human contact between patients over an eight-week period. Meanwhile, they systematically screened patients for ESBL-producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumonia.
The scientists found that 90 percent of the spread of ESBL K. pneumonia to new patients could be explained by direct or indirect contact with patients who had the same bacteria within the previous eight weeks; this figure was less than 60 percent for ESBL E. Coli. The findings suggest that contact-prevention strategies—primarily hand hygiene—can be very efficient in limiting transmission of ESBL K. pneumonia. However, additional measures, such as environmental decontamination or using antibiotics more appropriately, may be necessary to prevent spread of ESBL E. Coli.
The researchers suggest that the same kind of wearable-sensor analysis could be extended to other multidrug-resistant species. Investigation of more detailed genomic data could further illuminate how ESBL-producing bacteria spread.
“By combining digital epidemiology and rapid microbiological diagnostic tools, we may be entering a new era to understand and control the risk of hospital-acquired infection with multidrug-resistant bacteria,” Duval says.
Close proximity interactions support transmission of ESBL-K. pneumoniae but not ESBL-E. coli in healthcare settings, PLOS Computational Biology, May 30th, 2019
Audrey Duval1, Thomas Obadia2,3, Pierre-Yves Boëlle4, Eric Fleury5, Jean-Louis Herrmann6, Didier Guillemot1, Laura Temime7,8*, Lulla Opatowski1*, the i-Bird Study group
1. Equipe PheMI, unité B2PHI, Inserm, Université de Versailles Saint Quentin, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France,
2. Malaria: Parasites & Hosts Unit, Department of Parasites & Insect Vectors, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France,
3. Institut Pasteur —Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Hub—C3BI, USR 3756 IP CNRS—Paris, France,
4. Sorbonne Université, Inserm, Institut Pierre Louis d’Epidémiologie et de Santé Publique, PARIS, France,
5. Université de Lyon, CNRS, ENS de Lyon, Inria, UCB Lyon 1, LIP UMR 5668, Lyon, FRANCE,
6. Inserm U1173, UFR Simone Veil, Versailles-Saint-Quentin University, Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, France. AP-HP, Service de Microbiologie, Hôpital Raymond Poincaré, Garches, France,
7. Laboratoire MESuRS, Conservatoire national des Arts et Métiers, Paris, France,
8. Institut Pasteur, Cnam, unité PACRI, Paris, France
* These authors contributed equally to this work.
Nota Bene : This study was supported by the European Commission under the Life Science Health Priority of the 6th Framework Program (MOSAR network contract LSHP-CT-2007-037941), funding was also received from the French Government through the National Clinical Research Program and the Investissement d’Avenir program, Laboratoire d’Excellence "Integrative Biology of Emerging Infectious Diseases" (grant no. ANR-10-LABX-62-IBEID, http://www.agencenationale-recherche.fr/ProjetIA-10-LABX-0062) to DG and from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique (EHESP, https://www.ehesp.fr/) to AD. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.