Hand hygiene: the “before” momentMar042016

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In January, we promoted the 4 Moments for Hand Hygiene – a simple and effective way to ensure safe, quality care and prevent infections in health care settings.

This month, we’re focusing in on the first moment: before initial patient / patient environment contact.

In a nutshell, here’s what you need to remember:

AmbulatoryWhen? Clean your hands when entering a room:

  • before touching client/patient/resident
  • before touching any object or furniture in the client/patient/resident’s environment
    Some examples of patient / patient environment contact may be:
  • shaking hands or stroking an arm
  • taking pulse, blood pressure, chest auscultation, or abdominal palpation
  • helping a patient to move around or get washed, or giving a massage
  • adjusting an IV rate

Why? To protect the client/patient/resident and their environment from harmful germs carried on your hands.

Remember: ambulatory patient areas count, too!

Share your thoughts, enter to win

There’s an interesting statistical trend when it comes to the “before” moment. In provincial hand cleaning compliance audits, hand hygiene rates before contact are consistently lower than after contact (see the graph below). PICNet is interested in hearing why you think this is happening. 


Update March 21: the contest is now closed, but you are still welcome to add comments at any time. (If the comments aren’t displaying, click the More button, below right.)


New research finds how ‘superbugs’ build their defencesFeb232016

mrsa_petri_lores_PHILScientists at the University of East Anglia are getting closer to solving the problem of antibiotic resistance. New research published today in the journal Nature reveals the mechanism by which drug-resistant bacterial cells maintain a defensive barrier.

The findings pave the way for a new wave of drugs that kill superbugs by bringing down their defensive walls rather than attacking the bacteria itself. It means that in future, bacteria may not develop drug-resistance at all.

The team, supported by the Wellcome Trust, used Diamond Light Source, one of the world’s most advanced scientific machines, to investigate a class of bacteria called ‘Gram-negative bacteria’.

Gram-negative bacteria is particularly resistant to antibiotics because of its cells’ impermeable lipid-based outer membrane. The research team previously found an ‘Achilles heel’ in this defensive barrier. But exactly how this defensive cell wall is built and maintained – the ‘assembly machinery’ – was unknown until now.

Lead researcher Prof Changjiang Dong, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “All Gram-negative bacteria have a defensive cell wall. Beta-barrel proteins form the gates of the cell wall for importing nutrition and secreting important biological molecules. The beta-barrel assembly machinery (BAM) is responsible for building the gates (beta-barrel proteins) in the cell wall. Stopping the beta-barrel assembly machine from building the gates in the cell wall cause the bacteria to die.”

Scientists studied the gram-negative bacteria E.coli, in which the beta-barrel assembly machinery contains five subunits – known as BamA, BamB, BamC, BamD and BamE. They wanted to know exactly how these subunits work together to insert the outer membrane proteins into the outer membrane or cell wall.

Prof Dong said: “Our research shows the whole beta-barrel assembly machinery structures in two states – the starting and finishing states. We found that the five subunits form a ring structure and work together to perform outer membrane protein insertion using a novel rotation and insertion mechanism.

“Our work is the first to show the entire BAM complex. It paves the way for developing new-generation drugs.

“The beta-barrel assembly machinery is absolutely essential for Gram-negative bacteria to survive. The subunit BamA is located in the outer membrane and exposed to the outer side of the bacteria, which provides a great target for new drugs.”

Read the full media article on Phys.org

Read another media article on The Washington Post.com

Read the full journal article in Nature.com




New species of tick-borne bacteria causes Lyme diseaseFeb162016

Ixodes_pacificus_8686Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have discovered a new species of tick-borne bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The new species, provisionally named Borrelia mayonii, after the clinic, has been found only in the upper Midwest but may be present elsewhere.

Six patients with the infection were identified by the researchers. The patients had symptoms similar to, but not precisely the same as, those caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, until now the only species known to cause Lyme disease in North America.

Dr. Bobbi Pritt, the medical director of the microbiology laboratory at the Mayo Clinic, where the new strain was first detected, said that because the symptoms vary slightly from those normally seen in B. burgdorferi infection, doctors may not even think to test for Lyme disease.

Only one of the six patients had the bull’s-eye rash that is Lyme’s signature, present in 70 percent to 80 percent of reported cases. Three patients had a rash that was more spread out, Dr. Pritt said. The new strain apparently adds nausea and vomiting to the list of typical Lyme symptoms, which include fever, headache and neck pain. B. mayonii patients also had a higher-than-expected concentration of bacteria in their blood.

Read the full article on The New York Times website.