Be Fundamentally Sound to Prevent Infections

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One need look no further than the emerging threat from Candida auris (C. auris), a fungus that is highly resistant to drugs designed to kill it, to realize the importance of the back-to-basics theme of this year’s International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW).

Titled “Celebrating the Fundamentals of Infection Prevention,” the 2023 concept from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) was selected to emphasize how doubling down on basic infection prevention practices are more important than ever – and how good practices save lives as well as healthcare dollars. Established in 1986, IIPW celebrates how infection preventionists keep communities safe from infectious threats, including surgical site and other healthcare-associated infections, around the globe.

Awareness of emerging threats is important, says Benjamin D. Galvan, MLS(ASCP), CIC, CPH, the director of infection prevention at two HCA Florida Healthcare hospitals in Tampa. C. Auris, for example, is rising in the community, is easily transmissible and some people are colonized with it, much like MRSA, says Mr. Galvan. Here’s the CDC’s latest list of resources on C. auris.

“That's why it's so important to make sure we're following our usual infection prevention practices for environmental cleaning and disinfection -- especially in surgical settings -- because we don't want to be inadvertently transmitting hard-to-treat multidrug-resistant organisms like Candida auris,” says Mr. Galvan. “We should always stress the importance of the fundamentals of infection prevention such as cleaning and disinfecting our environment and equipment, wearing PPE properly in surgical settings and making sure we’re engaging in effective hand hygiene.”

That’s precisely the message APIC would like its members to spread during IIPW. APIC has pre-written materials and other resources to help facilities that would like to carry the message to employees and the communities they’re part of. For example, there’s a promotional toolkit that includes sample social media posts, ideas for how to thank your infection prevention specialist, as well as downloadable infographic posters, logos and web buttons.

Mr. Galvan says the 2023 theme for IIPW is on point because, no matter what the latest infectious threat, the first steps town minimizing its spread is always getting back to basic preventative measures.

“The C. auris threat highlights the continued need to perform really strong infection control practices, because we are going to continue to see more multidrug-resistant organisms emerge that could put all our patients at risk,” he says. “We always have to be aware of what might be coming and potentially add new screening measures for certain populations to identify patients who might have it in your facility.” OSM

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