Archive for the ‘Infection control’ Category

h1

What to Know About Zika Virus

January 26, 2016

By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief. Accompanying map via PAHO/WHO.

The media is full of headlines and photos about the recent increase in the number of Brazilian children born with microcephaly, thought to be due to maternal exposure to the Zika virus. If you’re like most nurses, you’ve had family members and friends asking you about it, especially if they’re considering a winter escape to the Caribbean or Mexico. Here are some resources and information to help you stay up to date so you can provide your patients (and families and neighbors) with evidence-based information.

2016-cha-autoch-human-cases-zika-virus-ew-3

Zika basics. Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 in monkeys in the Zika forest of Uganda and the first documented case in humans was in 1952. An outbreak on Yap Island in Micronesia in 2007 showed that it had spread beyond Africa. The virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito, the same mosquito that transmits yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya.

Outbreaks of Zika have been spreading northward from Brazil through the Americas since 2014. (See above PAHO/WHO map of confirmed cases, 2015-2016.) While most transmission is believed to occur via mosquito bites, according to the CDC, “Perinatal, in utero, and possible sexual and transfusion transmission events have also been reported. Zika virus RNA has been identified in asymptomatic blood donors during an ongoing outbreak.”

Symptoms and course are similar to those of other viruses: a few days to a week of fever, headache, arthralgia, rash. Conjunctivitis has also been reported. Treatment is usually limited to supportive care (fluids, rest, etc). Only one-fifth of those infected become symptomatic, and death is rare. However, outbreaks of Zika virus have also been recently associated with neurologic syndromes (Guillain-Barré, meningitis, meningoencephalitis, myelitis).

Zika and pregnancy: emerging concerns. Everyone paid attention when, in late 2015, Brazil reported a sharp increase in the number of infants born with microcephaly. According to reports from WHO, from 2010 to 2014 the national average number of microcephalic infants born was 163. But in 2015, there were 3,530, with most occurring in northeast Brazil and late in the year. Zika virus was found during autopsy in microcephalic infants with other anomalies and in the amniotic fluid of some of the mothers, suggesting an association. (It’s important to note, however, that there may be other factors involved, given the clustering of cases in northeast Brazil while increased incidence of microcephaly have not been widely reported elsewhere. This is an evolving story and the investigation is ongoing.) Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Nurses and Latent TB Infection

January 18, 2016

By Betsy Todd, AJN clinical editor, MPH, RN, CIC

Mantoux skin test/CDC PHIL

Mantoux skin test/CDC PHIL

Are you “PPD positive”?

In December, a California maternity nurse was diagnosed with active tuberculosis. More than 1,000 people, including 350 infants, may have been exposed. In infants, tuberculosis can be hard to diagnose and is more likely than in newly infected adults to progress to active disease and to disseminate to extrapulmonary sites. Therefore, a course of isoniazid was recommended for each of these exposed infants, as well as for any parents, visitors, or staff who tested positive after the exposure.

Some of the details of this incident weren’t released to the media. In my experience, active infection in a health care worker who has not recently traveled to a TB-endemic area is almost always the result of reactivated latent infection. That was the case in a similar exposure more than 10 years ago, when a New York City maternity nurse exposed more than 1,500 infants and adults to active tuberculosis.

And in three of the largest TB exposure investigations on which I’ve worked, the index cases were nurses in oncology, transplant, and the ED whose latent tuberculosis infection progressed to active infection. In these three cases, neither the RNs nor their own primary care providers connected their persistent febrile respiratory infections with their latent TB status.

A positive purified protein derivative (PPD) skin test or TB blood test isn’t simply a benign occupational hazard; it’s an important part of your medical history. For your own safety and that of your family, patients, and coworkers, this information should always be shared with personal health care providers.

While latent disease is most likely to become active within the first two years after infection, many factors can cause later activation, including immunosuppression from drugs or disease, poorly controlled diabetes, certain cancers, chronic renal failure, and malabsorption syndromes, including those precipitated by gastric bypass surgery. The likelihood of reactivation also increases with age. Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Health Technology Hazards, 2016: Inadequate Disinfection of Flexible Endoscopes Tops ECRI List

January 14, 2016
hazard/jasleen kaur, via Flickr

hazard/jasleen kaur, via Flickr

The ECRI Institute has released its Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2016 report, highlighting health technology hazards for health care facilities and nurses to focus on this year.

Although alarm hazards, which topped the list for the past four years, still pose a significant threat, topping the list at number two, a different repeat offender has claimed the number one spot: inadequate cleaning of flexible endoscopes before disinfection.

Proper reprocessing and cleaning of biologic debris and other foreign material from instruments before sterilization is key, according to the report. And flexible endoscopes, especially duodenoscopes, are difficult to clean because of their long, narrow channels. Failure to clean properly can result in the spread of pathogens. The report points to a series of fatal carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae infections in the last two years to illustrate this particular threat, and recommends that facilities emphasize to their reprocessing staff that inattention to proper cleaning steps can lead to deadly infections.

Some hazards, such as those arising from health information technology (HIT) issues, insufficient training of clinicians in operating room technologies, and failure to appropriately operate intensive care ventilators, have been touched on in previous years. (See our past posts on ECRI top 10 health technology hazards from 2013, 2014, and 2015.) Here is a brief overview of other hazards that made the cut.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Inside an Ebola Treatment Unit: A Nurse Shares Her Experiences in Liberia

December 11, 2015

By Sylvia Foley, AJN senior editor

“It is extraordinarily difficult to establish an IV line in a dehydrated patient by generator-powered light while double gloved, with one’s goggles fogging.”—Deborah Wilson

Author Deborah Wilson at the Foya ETU cemetery. Photograph by Marcos Leitão.In one of this month’s CE features, “Inside an Ebola Treatment Unit: A Nurse’s Report,” author Deborah Wilson offers readers a rare look from the frontlines of the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Her stories about her patients and colleagues are as compelling as they are informative. Here’s a short overview of the article:

In December 2013, the first cases of the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD; formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever) emerged in the West African nation of Guinea. Within months the disease had spread to the neighboring countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone. The international humanitarian aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF; known in English as Doctors Without Borders) soon responded by sending staff to set up treatment centers and outreach triage teams in all three countries. In August 2014, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak an international public health emergency.

In September 2014, the author was sent by MSF to work as a nurse in an Ebola treatment unit in Foya, Liberia for five weeks. This article describes her experiences there. It provides some background, outlines the practices and teams involved, and aims to convey a sense of what it’s like to work during an Ebola outbreak and to put a human face on this devastating epidemic.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Top Health Story Picks of AJN Contributing Editors for 2015

November 19, 2015

By Diane Szulecki, AJN associate editor

Kelley Johnson by Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr

Nurse and Miss America contestant Kelley Johnson by Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr

With the end of the year steadily approaching, AJN asked its contributing editors, editorial board members, and staff to share what they consider to be the most significant health care and nursing-related headlines of 2015 so far. Now it’s readers’ turn. See the top picks below and feel free to leave a comment to share your thoughts and additions to the list.

Clinical/Care Issues

  • The growing patient experience movement and the limitations of patient satisfaction measurements
  • The rise in chronic diseases due to lack of prevention efforts and unhealthy lifestyles
  • Substance abuse, including alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin
  • Vaccinations and issues regarding public trust of vaccines

Professional Issues

  • Nurses’ responses to critical comments made on The View and related ongoing discussion about the nursing profession’s image
  • Challenges and trends in nursing education: the shift toward advanced practice as a career path for many nurses and rapid growth in the number of DNP programs and applicants
  • Workplace stresses: staffing issues, moral distress, strain caused by an aging population with multiple comorbidities, plus an increase in the number of insured due to the Affordable Care Act

U.S Health Care and Health System Issues

  • Gun violence as a critical public health issue
  • Lack of adequate mental health care
  • Health care used as a political wedge by feuding political parties
  • Issues surrounding access to health care, including health equity and culturally sensitive care

Global Health Issues Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Ebola, One Year Later: What We Learned for the Next Big Epidemic

November 6, 2015

By Betsy Todd, MPH, RN, CIC, AJN clinical editor

Scanning electron micrograph of filamentous Ebola virus particles budding from an infected VERO E6 cell (35,000x magnification). Credit: NIAID

Scanning electron micrograph of filamentous Ebola virus particles budding from an infected VERO E6 cell (35,000x magnification). Credit: NIAID

U.S. hospitals have not seen a case of Ebola virus disease since November 11, 2014, when Dr. Craig Spencer was discharged from Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. While the number of new infections has declined dramatically in the West African countries where the 2014–2015 epidemic began, it is virtually certain that the disease will continue to resurface.

This epidemic was by far the largest and most geographically widespread Ebola epidemic to date, with approximately 28,000 cases (suspected, probable, or confirmed) and more than 11,000 deaths in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, the three hardest-hit countries. The seven other countries affected account for a combined total of 34 confirmed (and two probable) cases and 15 deaths.

According to a recent WHO report, these numbers include (through March of this year) 815 confirmed or probable cases among health care workers, more than half of whom were nurses or nurses’ aides. (Doctors and medical students made up about 12% of total health care worker cases.)

This epidemic has been, for some, a wake-up call about the ease of global disease transmission. The ever-increasing movement of humans and animals over and between continents has created what virologist Nathan Wolfe refers to as a “giant microbial mixing vessel.” Before U.S. health care collides with the next deadly virus, it might be helpful to review some of what we’ve learned from these events.

  • As Paul Farmer, a physician with decades of experience in outbreak control, emphasized late last year: “weak health systems, not unprecedented virulence or a previously unknown mode of transmission, are to blame for Ebola’s rapid spread.”
  • People with Ebola are more likely to survive when they have access to critical care services—care that is unavailable (or inaccessible) in many countries.
  • In monitoring the first large cohort of Ebola survivors, we are learning about possible residual effects of Ebola, including eye pain, blurred vision, hearing loss, swallowing difficulties, arthralgias, sleep problems, neurological changes, and memory loss and confusion. The virus can persist in semen for at least nine months. Pauline Cafferkey, a Scottish nurse who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone, developed meningitis last month, 10 months after she was thought to have recovered from the infection. Ebola virus was detected in her cerebral spinal fluid.
  • More than 30 years ago, people with HIV and the nurses who cared for them were often shunned by family, friends, and coworkers. Neither Ebola nor HIV is spread by casual contact (here’s CDC information on what’s known about transmission risks), but experience during this Ebola epidemic has shown that people with “new” or “scary” infections continue to be stigmatized, even by health care workers.
  • Many nurses had not been using long-standing personal protective equipment (PPE) donning and doffing protocols in everyday practice—there was a scramble to reemphasize these protocols after the first case of Ebola arrived in the U.S.
  • Years of “bottom line” management in U.S. hospitals have left many facilities with inadequate staff, fewer education and training resources, and multiple systems issues that have impeded disaster preparedness and compromised the quality of protective gear and other supplies available to staff.
  • Content-hungry print and electronic media interfere with evidence-based responses to infectious disease threats when they pander to fear and hysteria. The damage during this epidemic ranged from unnecessary quarantine of asymptomatic individuals to willful denials of actual transmission risk in the U.S. to euthanizing the dog of a Spanish nurse after she contracted Ebola.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

AJN in September: Pain Management in Opioid Use Disorder, STIs in the U.S., Teaching Vs. Unit Needs

September 2, 2015

AJN0915.Cover.OnlineOn this month’s cover, perianesthesia nurse Carolyn Benigno helps prepare a young patient for surgery at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. The photo, the first-place winner of AJN’s 2015 Faces of Caring: Nurses at Work photo contest, shows Benigno practicing “Caring through Play.” The art of working at a pediatric hospital, she says, is “learning how to play with children so that part of your nursing care is play.” Such play can both distract a child in the moment and help the child cope with the disorienting experience of hospitalization.

For another piece on how nurses try to make hospitalization less stressful for children, see this month’s Cultivating Quality article, “Improving Pediatric Temperature Measurement in the ED.”

Some other articles of note in the September issue:

CE Feature:Acute Pain Management for Inpatients with Opioid Use Disorder.” Inpatients diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD) commonly experience acute pain during hospitalization and may require opioids for pain management. But misconceptions about opioids and negative attitudes toward patients with OUD may lead to undermedication, unrelieved pain, and unnecessary suffering. This article reviews the current relevant literature and dispels common myths about opioids and OUD. Read the rest of this entry ?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,931 other followers

%d bloggers like this: