How to Focus Your Efforts When Investigating Infectious Disease Outbreaks
JUL 15, 2017 | CONTAGION® EDITORIAL STAFF
Arjun Srinivasan, MD, Associate Director, Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Programs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shares how to focus your efforts for infectious disease outbreak investigations.
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)
“The approach to antibiotic-resistant outbreaks is very similar to the approach that we take for any type of outbreak. These common factors of coming up with a definition for the cases, looking for associated factors, and then looking for the behavioral practices that might be leading to the transmission. Those are common [strategies that we do] for almost all of the types of pathogens.
That’s one of the advantages of learning to do an outbreak investigation because once you learn, you can apply those skills to really any type of pathogen. What you do have to know though, is the specifics of what the pathogen is doing; how is it transmitted? For example, [organisms] like Burkholderia or Ralstonia, those tend to be organisms that live in water-borne areas, and wet things. So, you’re going to focus your efforts on the factors that are most likely to lead to transmission of things that like it to be wet. Something like [Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus] VRE likes to live on surfaces, so you’ll focus your efforts on surfaces that might be shared between different patients.
The approach that you take is similar, whether the organism is resistant or susceptible, but the things that you look for would be different depending on the specific type of organism that you’re dealing with, and that’s why it’s so helpful to engage your microbiologists in the investigation because they are the experts who can really help guide you to where you might be most likely to find the problem.”
To stay informed on the latest in infectious disease news and developments, please sign upfor our weekly newsletter.
Influenza A (H3N2) has caused most of the illnesses in this severe flu season, but influenza B is becoming increasingly responsible for more infections as the flu season continues to hit the United States.
Contagion® is a fully integrated news resource covering all areas of infectious disease. Through our website, quarterly journal, email newsletters, social media outlets, and Outbreak Monitor we provide practitioners and specialists with disease-specific information designed to improve patient outcomes and assist with the identification, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases. Our mission is to assure that the healthcare community and public have the knowledge to make more informed choices and have a positive impact on patient outcomes.
2 Clarke Drive
Cranbury, NJ 08512