The spread of bacterial infections in children’s wards: A pilot study with Alder Hey children’s hospital, Liverpool.
PI: Dr Kieran Sharkey (Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Liverpool)
CIs: Prof Neil French and Dr Ana Ibarz-Pavon (Institute of infection and Global health, University of Liverpool) Dr Jonathan Read, (Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University), Prof Matthew Peak (Alder Hey Research Team, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital), Dr Anne Jones (Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Liverpool).
Project Overview: Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) pose a significant burden to the NHS. The aetiology of these infections is diverse, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) common. Reducing the burden of HAI requires improved understanding of the risk factors driving this problem to allow early recognition, targeted control, prevention, and reduction of adverse outcomes. Routine infection control measures (quarantine, environmental cleaning, asepsis, surveillance) and patient sampling for carriage of major drug resistant pathogens (e.g. MRSA) are the current approaches to prevention. Understanding the dynamics of high-risk bacterial contamination of the environment and transmission throughout a hospital offers an additional method to intervene (e.g. behaviour change, smart materials, digital technology) and reduce HAI risk. Key to understanding contamination is measurement of the role played by the movement of patients, carers, and equipment within and between wards as the principal transmitters.
Our pilot study will trial methods suitable for identifying the risk factors associated with HAIs by collecting environmental microbiology data and characterising the network of human and equipment movement using small mobile transmitters, to parameterise mechanistic models of transmission in a high dependency paediatric care setting, and demonstrate the utility of this approach for larger pan-hospital studies.