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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Johns Hopkins: Patient Registries Could Help Control Spread of Antibiotic Bacteria

A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds that the spread of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) — bacteria that have high levels of resistance to most antibiotics — could be reduced if only 25 percent of the largest health care facilities in a region used a patient registry, a database that can track which patients are carrying CRE.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least two million people become infected each year with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, resulting in at least 23,000 deaths. CRE has been dubbed the “nightmare bacteria” because it is resistant to many of the most powerful antibiotics available and has been spreading throughout health care facilities in the U.S.

The findings, published online May 9 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, suggest that maintaining a computer registry that can track patients who carry CRE and alert health care facilities to take appropriate action when such patients are admitted could in turn reduce the spread of CRE by 15.5 percent over three years.

For the study, the team developed a detailed computer simulation model of all 462 health care facilities (e.g., hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and ventilator-capable skilled nursing facilities) that serve a population of 9.9 million people in the Chicago metropolitan area. The study area included parts of Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.

Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, executive director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at the Bloomberg School, is the lead author of the study.

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