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. 2007 Dec;67(4):336-43.
doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2007.09.010. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Outbreak of Human Metapneumovirus Infection in Psychiatric Inpatients: Implications for Directly Observed Use of Alcohol Hand Rub in Prevention of Nosocomial Outbreaks

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Outbreak of Human Metapneumovirus Infection in Psychiatric Inpatients: Implications for Directly Observed Use of Alcohol Hand Rub in Prevention of Nosocomial Outbreaks

V C C Cheng et al. J Hosp Infect. .

Abstract

Nosocomial outbreaks of infectious diseases in psychiatric facilities are not uncommon but the implementation of infection control measures is often difficult. Here, we report an outbreak of an acute respiratory illness in a psychiatric ward between 29 July and 20 August 2005 involving 31 patients. Human metapneumovirus was detected in seven (23%) patients by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and nucleotide sequencing. A review of outbreak surveillance records showed that six nosocomial outbreaks occurred in the year 2005, of which four (67%) were confirmed or presumably related to a respiratory viral infection. Directly observed deliveries of alcohol hand rub 4-hourly during daytime to all psychiatric patients was instituted in December 2005. Only one nosocomial respiratory viral outbreak occurred in the following year. The total number of patients and staff involved in nosocomial outbreaks due to presumed or proven respiratory virus infections decreased significantly from 60 to six (P<0.001), whereas those due to all types of nosocomial outbreaks also decreased from 70 to 24 (P=0.004). Alcohol hand rub has been shown to have potent bactericidal and virucidal activity against a wide range of nosocomial pathogens. Regular use of directly observed alcohol hand rub may decrease the incidence and scale of nosocomial outbreaks due to enveloped respiratory viruses especially in mentally incapacitated patients.

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