Environmental contamination with highly resistant microorganisms after relocating to a new hospital building with 100% single-occupancy rooms: A prospective observational before-and-after study with a three-year follow-up

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Abstract

Introduction: Inanimate surfaces within hospitals can be a source of transmission for highly resistant microorganisms (HRMO). While many hospitals are transitioning to single-occupancy rooms, the effect of single-occupancy rooms on environmental contamination is still unknown. We aimed to determine differences in environmental contamination with HRMO between an old hospital building with mainly multiple-occupancy rooms and a new hospital building with 100% single-occupancy rooms, and the environmental contamination in the new hospital building during three years after relocating. Methods: Environmental samples were taken twice in the old hospital, and fifteen times over a three-year period in the new hospital. Replicate Organism Direct Agar Contact-plates (RODACs) were used to determine colony forming units (CFU). Cotton swabs premoistened with PBS were used to determine presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, carbapenemase-producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa, highly resistant Enterobacterales, carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium. All identified isolates were subjected to whole genome sequencing (WGS) using Illumina technology. Results: In total, 4993 hospital sites were sampled, 724 in the old and 4269 in the new hospital. CFU counts fluctuated during the follow-up period in the new hospital building, with lower CFU counts observed two- and three years after relocating, which was during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CFU counts in the new building were equal to or surpassed the CFU counts in the old hospital building. In the old hospital building, 24 (3.3%) sample sites were positive for 49 HRMO isolates, compared to five (0.1%) sample sites for seven HRMO isolates in the new building (P < 0.001). In the old hospital, 89.8% of HRMO were identified from the sink plug. In the new hospital, 71.4% of HRMO were identified from the shower drain, and no HRMO were found in sinks. Discussion: Our results indicate that relocating to a new hospital building with 100% single-occupancy rooms significantly decreases HRMO in the environment. Given that environmental contamination is an important source for healthcare associated infections, this finding should be taken into account when considering hospital designs for renovations or the construction of hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114106
JournalInternational Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
Volume248
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the board of directors of the Erasmus MC University Medical Center as part of the PE-ONE consortium. The board of directors had no role on the design of the study, in data collection, analysis, interpretation, or writing and approval of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors

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