Implementation of contact precautions for multidrug-resistant organisms in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era: An updated national Emerging Infections Network (EIN) survey

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2024 Jun;45(6):703-708. doi: 10.1017/ice.2024.11. Epub 2024 Feb 14.


Objective: To understand how healthcare facilities employ contact precautions for patients with multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) in the post-coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) era and explore changes since 2014.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Participants: Emerging Infections Network (EIN) physicians involved in infection prevention or hospital epidemiology.

Methods: In September 2022, we sent via email an 8-question survey on contact precautions and adjunctive measures to reduce MDRO transmission in inpatient facilities. We also asked about changes since the COVID-19 pandemic. We used descriptive statistics to summarize data and compared results to a similar survey administered in 2014.

Results: Of 708 EIN members, 283 (40%) responded to the survey and 201 reported working in infection prevention. A majority of facilities (66% and 69%) routinely use contact precautions for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) respectively, compared to 93% and 92% in 2014. Nearly all (>90%) use contact precautions for Candida auris, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE), and carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii. More variability was reported for carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa and extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing gram-negative organisms. Compared to 2014, fewer hospitals perform active surveillance for MRSA and VRE. Overall, 90% of facilities used chlorhexidine gluconate bathing in all or select inpatients, and 53% used ultraviolet light or hydrogen peroxide vapor disinfection at discharge. Many respondents (44%) reported changes to contact precautions since COVID-19 that remain in place.

Conclusions: Heterogeneity exists in the use of transmission-based precautions and adjunctive infection prevention measures aimed at reducing MDRO transmission. This variation reflects a need for updated and specific guidance, as well as further research on the use of contact precautions in healthcare facilities.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Cross Infection* / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection* / prevention & control
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control* / methods
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci