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The dissemination of staph infections in hospitals



IMAGE: This image shows the network of contacts and MRSA carriage. Patients and healthcare workers (with a '+' on their heads) are linked by a grey line if they had contact.... view more

Credit: Obadia et al.

Wireless sensors recording human interactions explain the transmission of germs, such as MRSA, in hospitals, according to research by Thomas Obadia and colleagues.

The study, published this week in PLOS Computational Biology, reveals that close proximity interactions between patients and healthcare workers in Berck-sur-Mer hospital, France, acted as pathways for the transmission of Staphylococcus aureus strains.

The i-Bird (Individual Based Investigation of Resistance Dissemination) study involved analyzing 85,025 daily interactions measured every 30 seconds between 590 participants over a 4 month period. The availability of wireless sensors made capturing interactions between individuals easier than ever and the research supports the use of high-tech approaches for infection control.

Two key features that allowed the analysis were: the simultaneous measurement of contacts and microbiological data - previous studies focused on one or the other component; and the long term follow-up that was instrumental to link incident episodes with contacts.

The results indicate that the study of individuals contact may help identify increased risk of transmission situations and ultimately reduce the burden of nosocomial S. aureus transmission.

The researchers say: "Contact networks have been increasingly used in modeling the spread of infectious diseases. Yet, the contacts collected were often incomplete or used proxies that were thought to capture situation at risk. In this unique experiment, the joint analysis of contact and carriage validates the use of close-proximity interactions recorded by electronic devices, and opens a new field for prevention measures in hospitals."


Image Caption: Network of contacts and MRSA carriage. Patients and healthcare workers (with a "+" on their heads) are linked by a grey line if they had contact. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus carriers are shown in red.

Image Credit: Obadia et al.

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Thomas Obadia
UMR_S 1136
Faculté de Médecine Pierre et Marie Curie
27 rue Chaligny
Paris cedex 12, 75571
Phone: 0033149283227

Citation: Obadia T, Silhol R, Opatowski L, Temime L, Legrand J, Thiébaut ACM, et al. (2015) Detailed Contact Data and the Dissemination of Staphylococcus aureus in Hospitals. PLoS Comput Biol 11(3): e1004170. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004170

Funding: This study was supported by the European Commission under the Life Science Health Priority of the 6th Framework Program (MOSAR network received from the French Government through the National Clinical Research Program and the Investissement d'Avenir program, Laboratoire d'Excellence "Integrative Biology of Emerging Infectious Diseases" (grant no. ANR-10-LABX-62- IBEID). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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