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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Offers Guidance on CRE Measures

Infections with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are increasingly being reported from patients in healthcare settings. They are associated with high patient morbidity, attributable mortality and hospital costs. Patients who are “at-risk” may be carriers of these multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (MDR-E). The purpose of this guidance, according to Magiorakos, et al. (2017) is to raise awareness and identify the “at-risk” patient when admitted to a healthcare setting and to outline effective infection prevention and control measures to halt the entry and spread of CRE.

The guidance was created by a group of experts who were functioning independently of their organizations, during two meetings hosted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. A list of epidemiological risk factors placing patients “at-risk” for carriage with CRE was created by the experts. The conclusions of a systematic review on the prevention of spread of CRE, with the addition of expert opinion, were used to construct lists of core and supplemental infection prevention and control measures to be implemented for “at-risk” patients upon admission to healthcare settings.

Individuals with the following profile are “at-risk” for carriage of CRE: a) a history of an overnight stay in a healthcare setting in the last 12 months, b) dialysis-dependent or cancer chemotherapy in the last 12 months, c) known previous carriage of CRE in the last 12 months and d) epidemiological linkage to a known carrier of a CRE.

Core infection prevention and control measures that should be considered for all patients in healthcare settings were compiled. Preliminary supplemental measures to be implemented for “at-risk” patients on admission are: pre-emptive isolation, active screening for CRE, and contact precautions. Patients who are confirmed positive for CRE will need additional supplemental measures.

The researchers conclude that strengthening the microbiological capacity, surveillance and reporting of new cases of CRE in healthcare settings and countries is necessary to monitor the epidemiological situation so that, if necessary, the implemented CRE prevention strategies can be refined in a timely manner. Creating a large communication network to exchange this information would be helpful to understand the extent of the CRE reservoir and to prevent infections in healthcare settings, by applying the principles outlined here. This guidance document offers suggestions for best practices, but is in no way prescriptive for all healthcare settings and all countries. Successful implementation will result if there is local commitment and accountability. The options for intervention can be adopted or adapted to local needs, depending on the availability of financial and structural resources.

Reference: Magiorakos AP, et al. Infection prevention and control measures and tools for the prevention of entry of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae into healthcare settings: guidance from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. 2017;6:113

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