J Hosp Infect. 2023 Sep;139:192-200. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2023.06.025. Epub 2023 Jul 12.
BACKGROUND: Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) is a leading cause of nosocomial infection, driven by its ability to spread between patients and persist in the hospital environment.
AIM: To investigate the impact of a long-established cardiothoracic hospital moving to new premises with close to 100% single-occupancy rooms on the rates of environmental contamination and infection or colonization by VRE.
METHODS: Prospective environmental surveillance for VRE was conducted at five time-points between April and November 2019, once in the original building, and four times in the new building. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) of VRE infection/colonization were determined for the one-year period before and after the hospital move, and compared to a nearby hospital.
FINDINGS: In the original location, the first environmental screen found 29% VRE positivity. The following four screens in the new location showed a significant reduction in positivity (1-6%; P<0.0001). The VRE infection/colonization rates were halved in the new location (IRR: 0.56; 95% confidence interval: 0.38-0.84), compared to the original location, contrasting with an increase in a nearby hospital (1.62; 1.17-2.27) over the same time-period. Genomic analysis of the environmental isolates was consistent with reduced transmission in the new hospital.
CONCLUSION: The use of single-occupancy rooms was associated with reduced environmental contamination with VRE, and lower transmission and isolation of VRE from clinical samples. The cost-effectiveness of single-occupancy room hospitals in reducing healthcare-associated infections should be reassessed in the context of operational costs of emerging pandemic and increasing antimicrobial resistance threats.