Audioconference addresses emerging threats of C. diff and community-associated MRSA

Two distinctly different infections are sparking common concern about their virulence and alarming increase: A new strain of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and the increasing threat of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(CA-MRSA). Prepare now for both by participating in one cutting-edge audioconference, Double Trouble: Meeting the Emerging Threats of C. diff and CA-MRSA. Slated for 2:30 p.m. EST, Tuesday Aug. 22, the audioconference is sponsored by American Health Consultants, publishers of Hospital Infection Control and Hospital Employee Health. In addition to providing the latest updates and infection prevention insights, our faculty will take questions from infection control professionals and other listeners. Your staff can earn continuing education credit as well.

Indeed, troubling questions have surfaced about how to meet the difficult challenge of protecting patients and the public from both C. diff and CA-MRSA. Hardier and more virulent than traditional nosocomial strains, CA-MRSA has been causing potentially life-threatening infections in people never admitted to a hospital. Ominously, CA-MRSA now appears to be laying claim to the hospital itself. Reports are increasing that CA-MRSA strains are becoming predominant in some health care settings, raising the possibility that staph infections — the bane of the infection control professional for decades — soon may pose an even greater threat to patients. CA-MRSA is causing severe outcomes such as necrotizing fasciitis and toxic shock syndrome.

In the new regulatory era of infection prevention, there are already rumblings about putting the force of law behind voluntary guidelines to detect staph strains. For example, two states (Illinois and Maryland) already are considering laws requiring aggressive surveillance measures to detect CA-MRSA and MRSA. Will the new USA 300 strain of CA-MRSA pose a threat in your community and work its way into your hospital? Get the latest updates and practical advice on CA-MRSA from Sue Sebazco, RN, BS, CIC, an infection control and employee health director in Arlington, TX.

All the while, a new highly virulent strain of C. diff continues to emerge in the United States and Canada, posing formidable challenges for infection control professionals because it can be deadly upon arrival and notoriously difficult to eradicate. The Canadian outbreaks have been marked by striking mortality rates, which apparently stem from a genetic mutation that spurs increased toxin production in the strain. A recent study of the outbreaks in Quebec found a striking attributable mortality rate of 7%. The emergence of the new C. diff strain raises difficult questions for antibiotic use, infection control and environmental eradication. Moreover, contact isolation alone has not been sufficient to prevent the spread of the outbreak strain in the affected hospitals.

Can we expect continued spread of this mutated strain? Which infection control measures work? What about the recent disturbing report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting that C. diff may be arising independently as a community pathogen a la CA-MRSA? Get answers and expert guidance from one of the steadiest hands in infection prevention: Allison McGeer, MSc, MD, FRCPC, Microbiologist & Infectious Disease Consultant, is the Director of Infection Control at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto.

Don't miss this two-for-one special audioconference: Double Trouble: Meeting the Emerging Threats of C. diff and CA-MRSA. For more information and to register for this essential audioconference, contact our customer service department at (800) 688-2421.