Cross Transmission of Multi Resistant Organisms, Clinical Specimens versus Surveillance Swabs

Ms Kimberley Phelan, Mrs Wendy Beckingham

1Canberra Hospital and Health Services, Garran, Australia,

2Canberra Hospital and Health Services, Garran, Australia


Patients who have been residing with a patient identified with a multi resistant organism (MRO) for more than 48 hours may be at an increased risk of acquiring the same MRO as the index case. Questions raised by the Infection Prevention and Control team at the Canberra Hospital include; Is there an increased risk to the other patients if the index patient had the MRO identified in a clinical specimen or a surveillance swab? Could the policy be altered if there is reduced or minimal transmission of MRO on surveillance swabs versus clinical specimens?


Data has been collected since October 2015 on all inpatients who have been sharing the same room as a patient identified with an MRO in either a clinical specimen or colonisation.


This situation arises several times each month in the healthcare setting. Upon analysing the data it is more prevalent an MRO spreads easily to other patients if the index case has faecal incontinence or a urinary catheter.


This data will drive policy change if those cared for in a shared bedroom if the data reflects reduced transmission.


Kimberley trained as a Registered Nurse at the University of Central England, Birmingham UK in 1994. Kimberley has spent the majority of her Nursing career specialising in Infection Prevention and Control, with her main passion, education and training. Kimberley is currently studying for her Masters of Nursing at Charles Sturt University.

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