The effectiveness and importance of contact precautions for endemic pathogens has long been debated, and their use has broad implications for infection control of other pathogens. Antibiotic-resistant pathogens are a serious public health concern, and the association between coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and personal protective equipment supply availability has strained infection control programs across the country. Given the role of contaminated health care workers in the transmission of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, there is a theoretical basis for the use of contact precautions.
In a large study of the estimated effectiveness of contact precautions in the prevention of patient-to-patient transmission of MRSA in VA hospitals, it was estimated that contact precautions were associated with a reduction in transmission by 47%. The effectiveness of contact precautions likely depends on health care personnel’s adherence to recommended hand hygiene and personal protective equipment practices. Facilities having higher compliance with admission screening were associated with additional reductions in transmission associated with contact precautions.
This is the year of infection control! At no other time in history has there been such a focus on ICP and disease transmission. We are definitely in this with both feet and should be focused on outcomes and training of staff. There is no time to wait, be sure your infection preventionist is out on the units, observing care, isolation practices, and overall compliance with hand hygiene and PPE use! Stay well, mask up and stay tuned!