October 10, 2016

CDC taps Mody and other U-M researchers for major effort to fight “superbug” bacteria

The last thing any hospital patient or nursing home resident needs is to get infected with “superbug” bacteria that don’t respond to treatment with antibiotics. But tens of thousands of times a year, those infectious happen, and kill vulnerable people in the very places where they went to get better.

Today, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it will pour $14 million into urgently needed research on this issue, and steps to prevent, test for and understand antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Four University of Michigan Medical School teams – including one led by IHPI member Lona Mody, M.D., M.Sc., will receive funding through this effort. The new funds relate to two major national initiatives created in recent years since the threat of “superbugs” became a national issue: the CDC Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative and the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

Mody’s team will focus on the role of patients’ hands as key factors in the spread of superbugs in hospitals and nursing homes. The team includes investigators from the University of Michigan and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Henry Ford Healthcare System and University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Together, they will conduct a set of projects to evaluate the role of patient hand contamination in the spread of antibiotic-resistant organisms both in hospitals and post-acute care facilities. This research builds on their prior work which showed that nearly 25 percent of patients carry antibiotic-resistant organisms on their hands upon discharge from a hospital and on entry to a nursing home.

Using innovative laboratory methods, they will define the link between patient hand contamination with antibiotic-resistant organisms and their environment as such patients often leave their rooms for procedures, rehabilitation, dialyses and to use common family meeting areas. The team will also study predictors and consequences of patient hand contamination on the patients’ health. 

In order to engage patients in a meaningful way, the study will evaluate patients’ and families preferences in developing hand hygiene programs and develop a tool kit that hospitals, outpatient clinics and nursing homes can use to help staff, patients and families prevent that spread.

The team members include IHPI members Vineet Chopra, M.D., M.Sc., Sarah Krein, B.S.N., Ph.D., Payal Patel, M.D., M.P.H., Mary Rogers, Ph.D., M.S., and Sanjay Saint, M.D., M.P.H., as well as U-M faculty Keith Kaye, M.D., M.P.H., Lillian Min, M.D., M.S.H.S., Ana Montoya, M.D., Hugo Sax, M.D. of the University of Zurich, and Marcus Zervos, M.D. of Henry Ford. Several of the researchers hold joint appointments at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and the VA Center for Clinical Management Research.

For more information on Mody’s team’s ongoing funded projects to curb antibiotic resistance in older people, visit: www.infectionpreventioninaging.org

For more information on ongoing projects to improve patient safety visit the U-M/VA Patient Safety Enhancement Program: http://psep.med.umich.edu/

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