Detecting 20 percent of bacterial carriers could significantly reduce infection spread

Aug. 26, 2019

Identifying at least 20 percent of hospitalized patients who carry carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)—drug-resistant bacteria that can lead to a dangerous healthcare-associated infection—could help prevent spread of the organism, according to a study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Researchers developed a computer model to understand the impact of detecting an increasing number of carriers of CRE in adult inpatient healthcare facilities in Orange County, California.

They determined that detecting one out of every five carriers of CRE and using contact precautions during care of the identified carriers would be sufficient to significantly reduce the spread of the bacteria in a large population. Researchers also noted that eliminating all CRE carriage would be ideal but is not feasible.

“While knowing all carriers provided the most benefits, if not feasible, it may be worthwhile to aim for detecting more than one in five carriers,” the researchers said.