Higher rates of CDI with reusable sharps containers

Higher rates of CDI with reusable sharps containers - Image Credit: Bayram TUNC

Tuesday June 30 2015

Researchers have found that hospitals that use reusable sharps containers are more likely to experience higher rates of C. difficile (C. diff) infection (CDI).

The independent study of acute-care hospitals was presented by Dr Monika Pogorzelska-Maziarz, assistant professor at the Jefferson School of Nursing, at the Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

It looked at data from the national surveys of hospitals in December 2013 across the US, with responses linked to the FY201 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data. 

According to the analysis, hospitals that use single-use containers had significantly lower rates of C. diff, compared to those using reusable containers, with an Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR)=0.8701. This reflects a significant 15 per cent difference in the prevalence of C. diff infection rates.

"The use of containers to properly dispose of sharps in the health care setting is a critical component of most occupational safety programs in healthcare settings," said Dr Pogorzelska-Maziarz. "These findings, while they do not confirm a direct correlation between protocols for sharps disposal and risk of healthcare associated infection, do raise important questions about the potential role that reusable sharps containers may play in pathogen transmission."

The study was based on completed surveys from more than 600 US hospitals and could be of significant importance to hospitals. It caused more than 29,000 deaths in 2011, according to the Center for Disease Control and an estimated $4.8 billion each year in healthcare costs to the US.

C. diff was chosen because of its high morbidity, mortality and costs, as well as the acknowledged role that environmental contamination plays in its transmission.

"Given the widespread use of sharps containers in the healthcare setting, we applaud Dr Pogorzelska-Maziarz's dedication in working to identify and assess a possible link between the use of single-use containers and lower hospital-wide C. diff infection rates," said Dr Lynne Kelley, vice president, worldwide medical affairs, BD Medication & Procedural Solutions, BD Medical. 

"At BD we are continuing to work to identify effective strategies to reduce health care-associated infections. This study provides very compelling new insights demonstrating where infection control protocols might be modified to reduce risk."