Infection Control in Cystic Fibrosis: Cohorting, Cross-Contamination, and the Respiratory Therapist

O'Malley, Catherine A.
May 2009
Respiratory Care;May2009, Vol. 54 Issue 5, p641
Academic Journal
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a complex genetic disease characterized by lung infections that lead to early morbidity and death. Pathogens that commonly infect the lungs of patients with CF include Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Burkholderia cepacia. Aggressively treating pulmonary infection with antibiotics bas contributed to improved survival in patients with CF but bas also promoted muitiple-drug-resistant bacteria. Other complexities include the ability of bacteria to form biofilms. which makes them more resistant to antibiotics, and emerging pathogens in t F, of which the clinical importance is not yet clear. Increasing evidence of patient-to-patient transmission of CF pathogens led the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to produce evidence-based infection-control recommendations, which stress 4 principles: standard precautions, transmission-based precautions, hand hygiene, and care of respiratory equipment. Respiratory therapists need to know and follow these infection-control recommendations. Coborting patients infected with B, cepacia complex is one of several interventions successful at keeping the spread of this pathogen low, but cohorting patients who are infected/colonized with other microbes is controversial, the main argument of which is not being certain of a patient's present respiratory culture status at any given patient visit.


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