Results from a recent study published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine show that the connectivity of cystic fibrosis centers, as measured by the movement of patients between them, seems to be an important risk factor for the acquisition of shared P aeruginosa strain infections.
“Our study shows that the movement of patients with cystic fibrosis between different health care settings seems to be an important risk factor for the acquisition of transmissible P. aeruginosa infections,” Timothy J. Kidd, PhD,a postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s University in the U.K., said in a recent news release.
In the study, the researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis to examine the movement of CF patients infected with P. aeruginosa from 2007 to 2010. Kidd and colleagues performed a social network analysis of patient movement data from patients infected with P. aeruginosa to examine the role of mobility in the prevalence of P. aeruginosa genotype.
The team also used networks linking treatment centers based on the movement of patients that attended pediatric and adult CF centers and compared these with the movement of patients infected with all P. aeruginosa strains, unique strains and common Australian shared strains.
Results revealed that the 983 patients provided 2,887 P aeruginosa isolates for ERIC-PCR genotyping, which yielded 531 distinct genotypes: 493 unique strains in 373 patients and 38 shared strains in 610 patients. AUST-01 infections were associated with higher in-degree centrality and k-core estimates and AUST-02 infections with higher degree centrality, out-degree centrality, and k-core estimates for the previous health-care facilities; associations for the present cystic fibrosis centre were not significant.
These results were significant for adult patients (AUST-01 in-degree centrality and k-core; AUST-02 degree centrality, out-degree centrality, and k-core), but not for paediatric patients. By contrast, infections with unique strains were associated with a lower k-core estimate for the present cystic fibrosis centre overall; this finding was significant in adults, but not in paediatric patients.
“These results show the importance of prioritizing infection control interventions, including prospective molecular surveillance, strict infection control, hospital design and ventilation to limit cross-infection,” Kidd concluded in the news release. The new findings underscore the importance of avoiding cross-infection with the CF community while being treated at care centers, and should serve as a call for new best practices.